This is indeed a sad situation but one I think more and more of us may experience as vaccine progress allows us to gather again, not just for celebrations but for the group mourning and memorializing that was denied us last year.

It may seem bizarre to worry at all about what to wear given the tragedy that so many have experienced, but dressing correctly is a mark of respect for the person whose absence is being marked, and a way of honoring their life.

And funeral attire is also no longer as clear, rule-wise, as it once was. As all dress codes have broken down, so, too, the funeral dress code. This is not one of those instances when you can ask the host, unless the host has actually specified a look. (This can happen if the person who has died had a favorite color or some clear requests. Hunter Thompson, for example, got fireworks at his funeral.)

Wearing dark colors, predominantly black, to funerals has been tradition in the West since the Romans, according to a number of funeral parlors that post advice online, but black really became part of the culture when Queen Victoria embraced her widow’s weeds after Prince Albert’s death in 1861.