Following are some of many readers’ feedbacks regarding the mother whose son wanted to get married at his father’s - her ex-husband’s – farm. (August 13):
Part One – Those who Disagree with my response. Part Two - tomorrow with those who Agreed.
Reader #1 – “Losing a beloved spouse to death, and losing one to infidelity and abandonment leaves a person in the same state of grief.
“Everyone grieves differently and for a different amount of time.
“I felt you were very unkind in suggesting she just get on in life.
“Did you consider that she may’ve done that years ago, but this insensitive request by her son may’ve ripped off the scab of a wound that never fully heals?
“This son is likely a chip off the old block – his Dad - as both appear to have a sense of entitlement in having only their needs and wants met.
“Shame on the son for not thinking at all about how his mom and her family may’ve been re-impacted emotionally.
“A neutral venue should’ve always been the only choice.
“Not only has this request brought the sting of infidelity and the feeling of abandonment back into her life, it’s also served to draw a deeper line between two families.”
Reader #2 – “While I agree that the son and his fiancée have a right to choose their wedding location, his "desire to please his father" seems to ignore any consideration of his mother's feelings.
“Should he not consider the feelings of both parents?
“For some, getting over divorce is extremely hard. My first husband left me for another woman 30 years ago. (I’m now 70).
“I’ve since had a successful career, raised my children, and remarried. However, I would’ve been very uncomfortable if my children had wanted to be married at their father's home.
“The emotional pain of my divorce can still, at certain times, resurface.”
Reader #3 – “You wrote, “Ten years later, your grief is your business... Enough time has passed that you could’ve been gracious and taken the high road by attending as a proud mother-of-the-groom.”
“I read somewhere that it can take up to three years for every ten years of marriage to recover from a divorce or your spouse’s death.
“The stages of recovery are well explained in How to Survive the Loss of a Love, by Melba Colgrove, Harold Bloomfield and Peter McWilliams. First comes shock/denial; next is anger/depression; then understanding/acceptance.
“This woman was married 30 years. She might still be working on understanding and accepting what happened to her.
“While married, she would’ve greeted guests at her ex-husband’s farm with him, and in her memories she was a good hostess.
“Why would a son want to subject his mother to the humiliation of being hosted by her former husband’s companion in the very premises that used to be her home, and probably with many of the same guests?
“In the divorce, she lost her husband, her identity as a wife, a family that she’d built for 30 years.
“She has to live with a different lifestyle than she’d envisioned and with a more complicated family situation. She experienced personal failure, rejection, and loss of social status.
“You and the young couple could be a little more empathetic. Ten years is only one third of the time this woman was married. To still be grieving the loss of a 30-year marriage 10 years after its end isn’t unusual.”
Reader #4 – “The groom’s mother demands a venue change. You were wrong to tell the mother to get over it.
“A wedding is supposed to be a happy day for ALL.”
Ellie - I do regret being seen as lacking compassion and empathy in this case. It’s not a common response to my point of view on many topics.
However, I believe that a wedding should, if at all possible, reflect the choices of the bride and groom, and try to reflect family harmony even when this requires some compromises on the part of parents and/or other relatives.
When the mother wrote that her son wanted to please his father, I had empathy for the young man who’d likely felt torn by his mother’s ongoing bitterness.
He wanted a fresh start to the family scene, and thought his mother could help create that. I think it would’ve been great if she had, but obviously she felt she couldn’t.
Tip of the day:
The loss of love and a marriage are harsh changes that some people find impossible to accept.