Point of personal privilege here. I’ve been seething about this for an hour. One of my coping mechanisms is to write a blog post. So here you go.
Marvin Mandel was married to Barbara Oberfeld in 1941. They divorced in 1974. She is his “former” wife.
Marvin Mandel was the governor of Maryland from 1969 to 1979. He is the “former” governor of Maryland.
Very shortly after his 1974 divorce, Marvin Mandel married Jeanne Dorsey. She died in 2001, still married to Mandel.
Jeanne Dorsey Mandel is NOT Marvin Mandel’s “former” wife. She is his “late” wife.
This is the right way to refer to Marvin Mandel’s second wife.
Mr. Mandel died while visiting with his family and the family of his late wife, Jeanne Dorsey Mandel, while celebrating the 50th birthday of Paul Dorsey, Mr. Mandel’s stepson.
This is the wrong way.
Mandel died Sunday afternoon after having spent two days in St. Mary’s County visiting with his family and the family of his former wife, Jeanne Dorsey Mandel, while celebrating the 50th birthday of their son Paul Dorsey, the family said in a statement.
When a spouse dies, the correct reference is “late,” not “former,” which describes a divorce.
This is exactly right.
Given this tragic set of circumstances and already coping with overwhelming grief, can you then imagine how it feels when reference is made to a late spouses as an “ex-wife” or an “ex-husband” or an “ex-fiance(e)”? In using that incorrect reference, the widowed are not only insulted, marriages and relationships are also dishonored; as are the lives that the surviving spouse shared with their late beloved and the healing journey that the surviving widowed and their families have been left to navigate.
Kudos to the Sun. Raspberries for WBAL. Come on, guys, this really shouldn’t be that difficult.
Late night rant over. G’night.