Sunday, October 02, 2011

Are the Dead Anonymous?

Last week a friend died who was a member of a 12 step program. He was so scrupulous about his anonymity. He never broke it in any setting. Even if he knew that you were in a 12 step program, he kept mum. Even if someone hinted, suggested or dropped suggestive language into a conversation as we sometimes do…(you know, the “One day at a time”, or “Live and let live” slogans we might say fishing to see if another person says, “Oh, friend of Bill?”). Nope, not even then. He didn’t bite or wink or hint.

And now he has died and in meetings his full name is announced, his memorial service and obituary are referenced.

Do the dead have the right to their anonymity? Do we have the right to break it? I know this is tricky territory—friends are sad, grieving, wanting to show their caring. We know the rules of breaking anonymity outside of meetings, but what about in them?

What do you think?

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