Book Review

Do I Have to Wear Black to a Funeral?

Do I Have to Wear Black to a Funeral?

112 Etiquette Guidelines for the New Rules of Death

Florence Isaacs

Countryman Press, 14 Jan 2020

176 pages

Lifestyles – Grief/Funerals

Provided by Edelweiss


This is a cover that I can applaud for such a book. It is made of different compartments, different blocks of different colors and so are funerals. When you deal with a funeral, you have to deal with many different things whether you are attending only or are part of the organization of one. It used to be that all you needed to know what when and where and you could just show up. Our worlds were smaller and we knew what was expected of us in our world. Now, our worlds have become much larger, our horizons expanded, and we may not know just what is expected if there is a death in a good friend’s family. Depending on their culture or their religion you may need to be careful about traditions or restrictions involved in such services. But religions and cultures aside, even our general community traditions have changed, relaxed about funerals these days.

We no longer have to dress up as if for a wedding. Dress codes have been relaxed. Just be sure you check before you relax too much. It’s still better to err on the side of overdressed for a funeral than too casual. However, glitzy emeralds and diamonds are just as out of place as are t-shirts with shorts.

But this book is so much more than just a dress code review of what’s what for funerals. It not only covers what to wear for what types of funerals. It covers the end-of-life time leading up to the funeral when families need support and help to get ready for the funeral. There is advice on forms and such that are required or very useful at this time such as healthcare proxies and power-of-attorney. There are suggestions about financial aspects that you might want to consider before the end of life, yours or a loved one’s.

This book also talks about how to deal with the emotional aspects of losing a loved one and the stages of grief, yours or someone else’s. In fact, I’m not sure that there’s a topic involved in the end-of-life process that isn’t covered to some degree in this book. My stepfather died in May and I sure wish I had had this book to help me through the process. I did get this shortly after we had buried him, and I found that so many of the things in this book were right about the things I had run into during the process of his hospitalization, death, and funeral. Did you know that you can rent a fancy coffin for the service and then be buried in a plain pine box? It will save you money. Your funeral home will not offer this, you will have to ask. They’ll just show you the expensive ones, mine did. I highly recommend this book for everyone as we will all die one day.

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