Wedding Memories

21 Jun

Dear LetterBalm: I’m getting married in a couple of months, and I’m having a problem with my mom. My fiancé and I are planning to have a display of framed photos of family members dear to us who have died. I want to include my dad and my grandmother. She and I were very close – unlike my mom, my grandmother loved me unconditionally and never criticized me mercilessly and verbally abused me. My mother and she never got along, and the resentment lingers. Mom says it’s “morbid” to have this photo display, and she’s voicing her opinion to the whole family, who won’t stand up to her (my dad wouldn’t, either). In the past few years, I have forged a decent relationship with my mom, but it’s still a struggle. I truly need the words to resolve this.

–Bride on a Wire

Funny how rituals bring out feelings and actions long buried. Your mom is reaping the results of her terrible parenting – even though she’d never admit it. She feels guilty and is using anger to lash out at you and keep the rest of the family in line. She’s making this about her, probably something she is good at. Ms. L.B. suggests a hand-written letter, which might help quell things. You need to be the adult here and swallow your pride. Reassure your mom; note the good relationship you treasure and how happy you will be to have her at your wedding. Give the letter to her privately:

Dear Mom,

Bret and I know you’re concerned about our decision to have photos of deceased family members on display at our wedding reception. These are relatives who were dear to us, and they live on in our memories. We want to honor them on our special day. But we want you to understand that none of this takes away from those family members and friends who share their lives with us now and whom we love very much.

You and I will always be mother and daughter, and I treasure the relationship we’ve forged, especially in the past few years. I think you feel the same. I’m so glad that you will be there to celebrate my marriage to a wonderful man. I know you like Bret, and that makes me happy.

Not to be sentimental, but our wedding ritual truly represents a circle of life.

With love,

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