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Annie’s Mailbox: Casket photos were unwelcome

Kathy Mitchell/Marcy Sugar

Dear Annie: Several years ago, I lost my mother. After her funeral, a relative handed me an envelope. I opened it to find pictures of my mother in her casket. This was devastating and emotionally upsetting.

My mother was a wonderful, loving, fun person. That is how I want to remember her and how she would want to be remembered. Those pictures were the worst things anyone has ever given me. I realize the relative had good intentions, but truly, it was horrible to open that envelope.

It has been several years, and I have done my best to put this out of my mind. But not long ago, another relative handed me casket photographs of my recently deceased aunt. Why would people take pictures of loved ones when they are dead?

I have asked my husband to have my casket closed when I die because I can’t bear the thought of people standing over my remains with a camera. I understand not everyone feels as I do, but I would like to ask all well-meaning folks to save the photo opportunities for weddings and family reunions and leave the dead alone. Or at least ask the family whether they would mind if pictures are taken. – No Photo Op

Dear No Photo Op: Your last sentence is the key. A century ago, it was common to take photographs of the deceased, and some families truly appreciate and find comfort in these pictures. But as a matter of respect and consideration, it is important that the photographer first ask whether it is OK. Handing someone an envelope of such pictures can be unwelcome and upsetting.

Dear Annie: This is in response to “Getting Anxious,” the recently engaged young woman who suffers from hyperhidrosis. I, too, suffered from this embarrassing condition for many years. I tried prescription as well as over-the-counter treatments, to no avail.

Finally, I had a bilateral sympathectomy. That was 11 years ago, and it truly was one of the best decisions of my life. I can now shake hands, wear latex gloves and do all the things “normal” people take for granted. Please encourage her to look into it. – Not Sweating it Anymore in Pennsylvania

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.
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