Q: My neighbor’s husband just passed away, and I’m at a loss about what an appropriate acknowledgment would be. We don’t really know each other well. I’d attend a wake, but she’s not having one-just a funeral, which I think is more for family and close friends. What should I do?
A: Because you and your neighbor aren’t close, you don’t have to go. Sympathy messages are a great way to express your feelings. Then, shortly after the funeral, stop by with a gift of food and suggest having a cup of coffee together when she’s up to it. You might also offer to help with chores, such as taking a parcel to the post office. Small tasks often seem overwhelming to the bereaved.