Hidden Nuptials

19 Sep

Letterbalm Bride and Groom KissingDear LetterBalm: I have three daughters, one of whom has been estranged from me for five years. When my husband left me to live with his longtime girlfriend, she took his side. Her two sisters tried to mediate, but she was close to her dad and refused to believe that he was the cause of the breakup of our marriage. She still blames me and keeps her distance. I’ve tried to reach out to her, but she won’t have anything to do with me. I just found out that she got married last month – my other daughters didn’t want to tell me because they knew it would devastate me. I would have loved to have seen my daughter marry, even just as a guest. I’m tired of all the pain in our family. Should I reach out again to try and soften her heart?

–Mother of the Bride

What a distressing state of affairs. You certainly have reason to feel sad and bitter at not being included in the most important day of your daughter’s life. It’s likely you don’t even know her husband, and, if this keeps up, you won’t know your grandchildren. It certainly was hurtful not to be invited. And, certainly your daughter is nursing her own anger and resentment stemming from what may have been a problematic relationship with her mother. Try to set all this aside. Ms. L.B. recommends you handwrite a heartfelt congratulatory note to your daughter and give it to one of her sisters to deliver by hand to her, without comment. You may not be able to allay the estrangement, but you can rest easy knowing you tried your best. Something like this:

Dear Arlene,

I just heard the wonderful news, and I offer my heartfelt congratulations to you and your husband on your marriage. May you have many happy years together.

My dear daughter, I know we’ve had difficult times, but you can be certain that I love you and miss you very much. If there’s any way to resolve our differences, from the bottom of my heart, I wish it to be so. I’m sorry if I’ve hurt you. Can you see your way clear to have me in your new life?



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