Article posted Thursday, September 16, 2010 4:10pm

Dear Mary Pat,

I recently lost my father, which has been really difficult. To make matters worse, I have had to watch my mom be treated in a way that I wouldn’t have imagined possible. I simply cannot believe some of the comments people have made to her. Her husband is barely buried and people have been making crass remarks about her chances of dating again, as if that is something she is focusing on at the moment. Her husband of 40 years is gone, and she’s trying to keep it together. I thought people were supposed to be extra compassionate when a loved one dies, not devoid of common sense and taste.

Here are a couple of examples. I wish I could say I was exaggerating. “Are you out trolling yet?”; “All men over 60 are looking for either younger women or women with money.”; “Don’t expect Mr. Right to come along at first. You’ve got to kiss a lot of frogs.”

To add insult to injury, two days after my dad died, a door to door salesman came around trying to sell her a gravestone. Are you kidding me?! Thankfully, our family has also received a lot of wonderful support from family and friends. However, some of these other comments really stung. What are people thinking?

Sad and Mystified

Sister Bay, WI

Dear Sad and Mystified,

I am so sorry about your dad. I am also sorry to hear about some of the disgusting (no word seems adequate) things that have been said to your mother. Death makes people uncomfortable, and they sometimes blurt ignorant things out. I’m sure that’s not much of a consolation to your mom. While some of their intentions may have been good (people usually tend of want to “fix” someone who’s grieving and help them “get over it” sooner), their delivery was atrocious. A spouse is not something that you go out and replace right away. Some widows and widowers do remarry, but I haven’t heard of any combining an obituary with a personal ad. Most people would be sensitive enough to know that. I’m glad that you and your mom have had some supportive friends and family. I hope that you continue to encounter this as the weeks and months go on.

Good luck,

Mary Pat