Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

Please help me with cell phone etiquette and incipient homicide. I lost
my husband two months ago. We cremated him then and had a
memorial service this weekend. I took the ashes and the flowers from
the service to the ocean and did a private ritual with my sons. While
we were driving there I got text messages from not one, or two, but
from seven (count them seven!) different people, each of whom
professed to be sending sensitive and caring feelings on this difficult
day. If they really wanted to be sensitive, they should have left me
alone! How can I get people to respect reasonable limits on my access
without being without having to give up my smart phone lifeline to the


Dear Beleaguered:

You have the right to be connected to the world and also the right to
filter who has access to you. Yes, people should be more sensitive. At
a minimum they should have emailed, not texted. I’m an old-fashioned
kind of gal: people have abandoned hand-written notes but they’re
personal and meaningful, especially in cases of bereavement. But the
world is more modern and texting has become the way that many
people, selfishly or not, communicate: out of my brain and into yours,
no matter what the cost to you.

In these specific cases, I will assume you did not respond the day of
the private time with your sons. They may feel a little hurt, but you
can send each (or all, via bcc) an email that says: Thanks for your
words of concern. The timing and texting were distracting, but I know
you meant well. Please use email not texts for the next few months.
Otherwise I’ll have to turn my phone off, which would be a hardship to
my family and me. Thanks for respecting my need to go much slower
during this time of transition. Anyone who cannot respect a sincere
request like that should be tossed from your address book.