, Advice by Ann Landers - Reader to Reader Questions []

Our Reader to Reader Question of the Week:

Dear Readers,
whatever they needed I provided. What really hurt my son and I the most was the obituary - we were not mentioned at all. Our friends (mine and hers) were appalled. I was embarrassed and upset for not just me, but for my son-who loved her also. I never been so upset. Her x-husband put his wife and kids and their grandchildren in the obituary, who my girlfriend barely knew. They live an hour away from us. I know its silly to be mad over a little section of the newspaper, but it still hurts. Will time let this devastating loss of her and this article ever go away? I am so angry at this whole situation, its not like we can go and rewrite an obituary notice.

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Your Response:

Responses from Other Readers

"On the one year anniversary of your ex-girlfriends passing, take out an 'in memoriam' notice listing you and your son--and nobody else. Perhaps you will feel better and the 'family' will get the drift."

- From Totsybug in Oklahoma

"You can post a remembrance in the paper. It won't be an obit, but a statement of your love for her. People often do so on an anniversary of a loved one's death, but there is no need to wait."

- From Tina in Ohio

"Time will heal the loss of your loved one. However, the pain will never completely go away. The pain may pop up again when least expected, such as when your son marries and you wish your honey was there to celebrate with you. You and your son should have been included in the obituary. Hopefully, it was an unmeant oversight of the X-husband. May I suggest publishing another obituary as an in memorandum? You and your son could publish a picture of your girlfriend with a short tribute to her, honoring your love and loss of her. Publish it on her birthday, 1st anniversary of loss, Mother's Day or another day that was special for the three of you. "

- From Nancy C. in Arizona

"During a time of grief the family overlooks those who cherished their loved ones and focuses on who family is by name/blood. This happened to my mom many many years ago when her mom died. At the time it was not really proper to mention a widow was having her boyfriend live with her. I can say my mom was so hurt that she didn't mention the man who we called 'Uncle Joe' and was lived with her sharing her life in the obituary. To this day it still breaks my moms heart. "

- From Tracy in Ohio

"I want to know who edits these letters. A good editor would have caught the repeated mistake of' my ex lived with my son and I.' It should say my ex lived with my son and me. You never say my ex lived with I."

"Be proactive. Since you are financially set, take out a small display ad in memory of your girlfriend and the years she spent with you. Mention yourself and your son. If possible, include a picture of the three of you together. If this appears in the same newspaper as the obituary, the same readers will see it. If it has been several months since her death, consider doing this on the one year anniversary. "

"My condolences to you and your son. Obviously you both loved this woman. I would advise sending your thoughts in a respectful letter to the ex-husband. Ask him to consider publishing an article in the paper--even a letter to the editor, that corrects the omission of you and your son as significant in her life. You might offer him a couple of phrases you'd like to see, as if they would have been in the obituary. If he does not respect that, or cannot get something published, I would suggest you writing to the editor yourself, explaining the situation and asking for a mention to be included in an update. It's not something I've seen done, but it's about real lives. So perhaps a real person editor will have heart. Peace to your souls, Janan"

in CA

"When my father died, his ex-wife wrote the obituary. She left out all of his family, including his children (myself included and I am the eldest). She was an awful person and used my father horribly and when he died of a heart attack, she was there. He called her because he was having chest pain and my understanding is that she just stood there as he died. When my family ( his brothers and sisters) saw his obituary, they submitted another one. I received a laminated copy which I have put away. If you loved this woman, and it sounds like you did and so did your son, write another one. Or set up a memorial for her. Don't let petty people minimize her life away from them. I don't know how long it has been since her death but it might make you feel better to have some type of physical reminder for your son that she was a part of his life and that even in death she was still loved. Just my two cents. I'm very sorry for your lost."

- From Lisa in Alaska

"At best, this man was overwhelmed, lost in grief, and simply made a terrible oversight by forgetting to include you and your son in his ex-wife’s obituary. At worst, his intentions were selfish and short-sighted. While you can’t re-write an obituary, you can publish your own. This is a simple process that is available to you through the same newspaper. You can also publish a memorial notice if you prefer. Your girlfriend is part of your family and you deserve to grieve her as much as her ex-husband. "

- From Mandy in Durham, NC

"I am sorry for you. However, you are making an attempt to overcome it. Sometimes people get very selfish and unthinking. The only thing you can do is to try to forgive and continue on. It's easier to forgive and forget than keep carrying a grudge."

- From Patti in Napa. California

"The obituary may have been composed by the funeral director, and simply approved by a family member. Generally only family are mentioned, however, unnamed 'dear friends' would have been nice if had they been thinking of you."

in NC

"Write your own version of her obituary, correcting the omissions, and have it published in the paper."

- From Gina

"I have found that, at times of passage - births, deaths, marriages - the importance of going on the record with life choices suddenly is paramount, superseding even obviously more impactful choices of the heart. I ache for your anger and resentment and hurt at not being included in the obit of someone who meant so much to you and your son. But it's paper - the obit is paper, the pieces of paper that officiate marriage - not flesh. You know what you shared. If the people with the 'paper proof' got to 'own' you friend in the newspaper tale of her life, please don't let it erase you or your memories or you're son's. Be strong, pray for her spirit, be grateful you all had a connection, even though it sounds troubled. And let go of this situation you can't control or do anything about other than to rant about it to people who probably don't care - so you'll only get more hurt. Protect yourself; just commune with your departed friend and leave the living to their own proud paper ownership."

- From Mimi in CA

"Yes you can rewite an obituary! Write and pay for one you put together yourself! It will be cathartic for all of you. "

- From Lynn in North Dakota

"I am so sorry for your loss. I think it would be OK to write another obituary...why not. Who makes the rules about who is 'allowed' to post this in the newspaper. Write another one with all the appropriate people listed. Sending you and your son healing Love."

- From Mrs. K.

"I suggest an appended paragraph that includes the information to be read by all that knew her."

- From Janna

"There is nothing to prevent you from publishing a memorial for your ex-girlfriend and include yourself and your son. Be the bigger person and include her husband, children and grandchildren. Ask yourself is it that you are angry with the husband or you that you want others to know that you loved your ex? Could it be that you feel that he took advantage of your generosity, financially, and then excluded you from the obituary? The original obituary cannot be changed. Think before you act as you may have continued interaction with this man through other family members. "

- From MEGFS in LA

"So sorry that you were left off of her obituary. People do the strangest things when creating those things. Have a chat with your son about the hurt that you both feel and any memories that you have about her. Maybe you can both send a gift in her memory to your favorite charity. You can do an 'in memoriam' on the one year anniversary if you wish but don't do it to get back at the family. That will just prolong any bad feelings. Do it because you really miss her and honor her memory. "

- From Snowgirl in Minnesota

"Sometimes when I am hurt I write what is hurting me down and then I burn it. Or I get by myself and just sing until the hurt is bearable. I agree with the other comments that say you might put a memorial ad in the paper. The people that know you guys already know who you are and what was going on and the ones that dont, really dont matter anyway. "

- From Lisa

"Please go easy on the family. The obituary was probably written by a professional asking the family questions with a specific format. The family was probably deep in mourning and feeling lost. They answered the professional's questions and did not add any extra information. I am sure if they had any energy for creativity they would have mentioned you. Please accept my condolences for the loss of your friend. "

- From Jackie

"He didn't know what he was doing but he knew enough to kiss an under age teen and place his hand on her butt. he's lucky he's not in jail. What man drunk or not would do something like this and not worry about the consequences. No one is that drunk. Let me ask you was he able to walk and talk? If so he knew what he was doing. If you decide to keep him make sure you don't go out to a event that serves alcohol. Good Luck"

- From Pam

"The bad English ('my son and I') and the general incoherence of this unedited letter is very unprofessional and leaves me wondering what (s)he is saying."

- From Evan

"So sorry that this happened to you. I do not understand why her exhusband wrote the obituary. Had you been married, it would have been your role. You and your son know the truth, and it is possible for you to write a correct obit and have it published in another local paper "

"And why can you not put your own 'in memory of...'piece in the newspaper?"

- From Aino

"Actually, you can redo the obituary. Just put another one. If not your usual paper, if they refuse (they won't as you have to pay them to do so) then choose another popular one. When my dad passed away, I wanted to run his obituary in a place we used to live, where he had many friends. I had to pay for it but I got to say what I wanted to say about him. Best wishes. "

- From Patricia

"You have to remember that the obituary was written by her family rather than by herself. It is a reflection of what the family would like others to know. And it sounds like it had little relation to your friend's life. Families often let us down and it sounds like this family let her friend down and hurt you in the process. Take solace in the fact that your friend was not hurt by this final uncaring act, as she is in a better place. Why not write the obituary you would have like to have been written for your friend? Just the exercise of writing this can be cathartic. "

- From Karen

"In my situation, my father passed in 2010 and did not live to see his 77th birthday. My widowed mother passed in 2017 and did not live to see her 79th birthday. Two months before her passing, our mother was drowsy on painkillers and little sister had mother sign a new will that left everything to little sister. Older sister was shocked that she had shared a bedroom and childhood with such a greedy witch! Little sister passed in 2021 due to Covid-19 and did not live to see her 54th birthday. In little sister's obituary, her stepdaughter made it appear as though little sister was an only child. No mention was made of her two brothers and older sister! That was cold!! "

- From Paul

"Would have been nice if the first half of the post were included."

- From Chris

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"Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life and repeat to yourself, the most comforting words of all; this, too, shall pass."
-Ann Landers