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Dear Abby: My brother-in-law died a month ago and was cremated by the local affiliate of a prominent funeral home. To make it easier for my sister, I accompanied her to the mortuary to pick up her husband’s remains. I walked in alone, and as I returned to the car with his urn, a young funeral home employee in a black suit and scuffed shoes followed me. Through the window of the car, he presented my sister an artificial red rose and said, “We’re sorry for your loss.”

My sister and I were appalled by the insincerity of this gesture, and I called and told the funeral home director that the sentiments were as phony as the rose. He said, “I thought it was a great idea,” and couldn’t understand our reaction. Were we wrong?

Resenting Phony Sentiments

Dear Resenting: Yes, you were. When people are grieving, emotions are sometimes raw, so I’m not going to scold you. However, your response to the young man was ungracious. All that needed to be said was, “No, thank you.”

Dear Abby: I need your advice. I’m in love with a wonderful man. He says he likes and respects me, but does not love me. I desperately want his love, but have agreed to be friends with benefits in the hope that in the future he may come to love me. Should I continue with this, and is there a future for me?

Hopeful in Telangana, India

Dear Hopeful: For many people, liking and respecting someone would make the person a candidate for marriage. The bad news is, the man you care so much about is not one of them. The good news is, there are many eligible, emotionally available men who might value what you have to offer. Time is precious. If you want your future to be a happy one, be glad your friend with benefits has been honest with you, cut your losses and look elsewhere for love.

Dear Abby: When a spouse dies, what should be done with the wedding bands?

Planning Ahead

in New England

Dear Planning Ahead: There is no right or wrong answer to a question like yours because getting past the loss of a loved life partner (grieving) is an individual process. That’s why you should do whatever feels right to you. Some widows and widowers continue to wear their wedding band until they are ready to date again.

Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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