Today’s Dear Abby column features a letter from someone wanting to know if he or she needs to honor Dad’s memory in a certain way.
“Manipulated in Massachusetts” wrote that Dad died at age 87 after a long, full life. The older brother “insists” the family have an annual celebration on Dad’s birthday at a Chinese restaurant that was the father’s favorite place to dine.
“Everyone in our family showed up at the restaurant, and my mother and brother loved all the attention. I do not want to memorialize my father this way, but not participating will create a rift. Should I honor Dad in my own quiet way, or fake it and go to this annual shindig?”
Dear Abby wisely noted that “Manipulated” needs to weigh the benefits of honoring Mom’s feelings against the fallout of not attending. She said, “If your father died at 87, your mother may not be around much longer and you’ll have many years to honor your dad in your own quiet way.”
I get the sense “Manipulated” either doesn’t have a great relationship with the rest of the family or is painfully introverted. If Dad favored that Chinese restaurant so much, why not join with the family in a celebration of his birthday? It’s a perfect place to remember him, with the food that he loved in a place he loved to be.
Perhaps “Manipulated” doesn’t like the costs associated with a big dinner out in a restaurant? He or she may be quiet… and exceedingly frugal.
Or perhaps “Manipulated” is still in mourning, six months after the father’s death, and can’t see doing a happy celebration at this point in time. Everyone processes their grief differently.