Amy: Doesn't want sister at funeral

  • Article by: AMY DICKINSON
  • Chicago Tribune
  • October 20, 2012 - 5:59 PM

Dear Amy: I am facing major surgery. As with any operation, there is risk involved, and I realize I might die.

My oldest sister and I don't get along. I am not rich enough for her to care about. I have tried to make peace with her to no avail. I have written what kind of funeral I want, and I know it would not meet her expectations, as it will be "green." I don't want a fancy casket, just a wooden box to be buried in. How do I tell her not to come to my funeral? How can I keep her daughters and sons-in-law away from it, also?

Amy says: If this operation has you pondering your funeral, shouldn't it also be the occasion to make choices about your life? I won't insult you by urging you to reconcile with your sister, although I do urge you to forgive her.

If you definitely want to refuse entrance to some family members at your funeral, the best way is to note your wishes in writing and give a copy of this to the person you most trust to represent your wishes after your death.

Many people have "private" funerals, which are basically invitation-only events that are not announced in any public place, such as a newspaper. The people planning this should be aware of your wishes, and they should notify the director of the funeral home or "green" burial site of the guest restriction.

Sick of kids in his yard

Dear Amy: My neighbor's kids play baseball in their backyard, which results in many balls hit into my yard. They use aluminum bats and tennis balls. Now that they're almost teenagers, they hit every other ball into my yard.

They march right into my yard and retrieve the balls. I feel invaded and resent it. I want to tell the father that I'm fed up and to tell him to tell his kids to knock it off. My wife disagrees. She feels I'm being a grumpy old man and doesn't want me to confront my neighbor.

I never know when I'm going to look up and see the kids in my backyard. I thought that keeping some of the balls might send a message, but it seems the kids need some parental supervision.

Amy says: If these kids are almost teenagers, they will not be receiving parental supervision.

You should go with the "grumpy old man" thing. Tell the kids directly that you're tired of seeing them in your yard all the time and tell their father it's time to install a net or to reorient centerfield toward their house instead of yours. Be honest and say, "Frankly, this is starting to drive me crazy."

Playing whiffle ball would eliminate this problem.

Send questions via e-mail to Amy Dickinson at or by mail to Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Av., Chicago, IL 60611.

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