Letter to "Dear Prudence" Underscores Importance of Estate Planning, Zen...

Slate's resident advice columnist recently printed a letter from an adult child with a very unusual problem:


Dear Prudence, My mother died a decade ago; neither she nor my father had burial plans, so we scrambled and Dad bought a double plot. A few years later, Dad met a nice woman. They live together and call themselves engaged but are not getting married for financial reasons. Recently, Dad wanted to discuss his final arrangements with me and my brother. Dad stated that he and his fiancee both want to be cremated and buried in the plot with my mother. My mother cared very much for social conventions. Putting my father and his girlfriend in the ground with her for eternity seems like a slight, and it also bothers me. After my father dies, I'm thinking of having my mother exhumed and cremated, and keeping her ashes with me. I know this is probably prohibitively expensive, and if my mother were alive she'd tell me not to spend money on a corpse. But I'm appalled at my father's lack of respect for his wife of nearly 50 years. The tombstone is going to read as if he were cheating on her throughout their marriage. She deserves better. (So does his fiancee, frankly.) How should I approach this with him?—Grieving but Trying Not To Be Morbid

I don't always agree with Prudie, but her advice to Grieving was admirably pragmatic: Do not exhume your mother and hoard her ashes in the name of social propriety. That's self-defeating. Indulge your dad's modern day pharaoh fantasy and allow him to be buried with all his women. Posthumous unions are advantageous for estate purposes.

[Photo credit: Mugley, Creative Commons. HT: Jill.]

Related Articles

To save us, half of Earth needs to be given to animals

We're more dependent on them than we realize.

(Photo Lily on Unsplash)
Surprising Science
  • Scientists says our survival depends on biodiversity.
  • A natural climate strategy we often forget.
  • Seeing our place among the Earth's living creatures.
Keep reading Show less

New infographics show how cigarette smokers are socially penalized

There's a high social cost that comes with lighting up.

(Porch)
Sex & Relationships
  • The home improvement company Porch recently polled 1,009 people on their feelings about smoking.
  • The company recently published the results as infographics.
  • In terms of dating, 80 percent of nonsmokers find the habit a turnoff
Keep reading Show less

The "catch" to being on the keto diet

While short-term results are positive, there is mounting evidence against staying in ketosis for too long.

Brendan Hoffman / Getty
Surprising Science
  • Recent studies showed volunteers lost equal or more weight on high-carb, calorie-restricted diets than low-carb, calorie restricted diets.
  • There might be positive benefits to short-term usage of a ketogenic diet.
  • One dietician warns that the ketogenic diet could put diabetics at risk for diabetic ketoacidosis.
Keep reading Show less