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Niece Getting Married


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I have the anniversary of Bob's death coming in a few months. It will be only two years ago that he passed. My niece decided to get married the same day. I expressed my concerns as soon as I heard (over a year ago) at the choice of their day and was met with silence from my mom and sister, the mother of the bride. Now the plans are in full swing and they want my help with food and decorations and attendance at showers and I wonder how and if I can even make it to her celebration. Is it me, or is this cruel?

When the invitation came for the shower, I told my daughter we may go to that, but I don't know how I can go to the wedding. Even she said it was my problem and was mad that we would miss it. I've been to one or two weddings since Bob's death and cried through the whole thing. And that was not on the anniversary of the most horrible day of my life. So, how selfish do I dare to be?

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I also have my 2 year anniversary of my husbands death coming up in two weeks and then in April I have what would have been our "30th" Wedding Anniversary and I am dreading going to a wedding that is farther off in August so I know exactly what you mean. I know Derek's anniversary's are coming up too and he has a wedding also coming up in I believe April and Fred just passed his 2yr and has a wedding coming up in June so maybe we can get their opinions also . For me it is not the wedding itself that I am dreading it is all the people coupled up that bothers me as it is all the same family members that Steve and I would hang around with during these functions and talk with etc. that now I feel out of place with. I know I shouldn't as they are my family but I do and I did also on Thanksgiving and Christmas. I wish your family had picked a better date knowing what that date was for you but what are the possibilities they did it to keep you busy and keep your mind off of it? Could that be a possibility? I think you may regret some day if you do not go to her wedding, maybe just do your best and leave early if you need to.

Love Always,

Wendy :wub:

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I also dreaded the first family wedding for a cousin after my last loss. It wasn't on any anniversary for either of my parents or any other losses I have had though and I still dreaded going.

It wasn't the fact that other's people's parents would be there and mine wouldn't be.

It was just being with all the family for the first time since my Mom's funeral. Being around them... just was going to remind me of all the prior great times we had together I think. Just all of the remembering of past times and all who wouldn't be celebrating physically with us that day... including the brides own Mother.

But then I thought.. ya know... this day.. this event... it isn't about me. It is about the bride and groom starting their lives together. I thought of what my folks would say if I decided not to attend. And .. I'll tell ya... I think they would have been dissapointed. So I chose to go and concentrate on the bride and groom and their happiness. Two of my male cousins were there that day that had somewhat recently (one 3 years and the other 18 mos) lost their wives. One was the father of the bride. And ... my luck being what it is... the other sat next to me at the reception. We ALL tried to keep our focus on the bride & groom. We kabitzed and had all of our usual inside jokes. No one was left on their own to think too much.

No.. I didn't dance.... I wasn't up for it neither was hub. We left that to the youngins. :)

Sure it was tough.... for many of us... but.. we were together... as always ... in tough times and joyous ones. And when I thought about it later.. I knew I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. Those people understand my loss and knew how tough it was for me and each other and they also knew I had a clue as to how tough it was for them that day. That's family to me... being together in good times and bad. It was ok that I welled up... all I got was hugs in return. No words... just hugs and that's what I needed most.

Course I probably have the best cousins on earth...

But I couldn't help thinking the whole wedding was an 'in the flesh' example of.... "life goes on". And I also thought all of our past loved ones were there... somehow... and would have been proud of us all.

It was a very hard day on many levels... but also.. a joyous one. It's nice to be together for joyous events for a change. There's been so much loss and this day was all about adding to our number...

The fact that your niece & fiance chose the anniversary date for the wedding.. I don't know.. maybe that is all they could arrange with their own work schedules... or what was available at the church or reception place... or like Wendy saud.. it was an attempt to make that day a bit easier for you. I doubt seriously that they chose it just to be cruel.

In any event... I have found that anniversaries are odd... I usually feel waaay worse in anticipation than I do on the actual day. So perhaps it may be like that for you too.

Otherwise... offer your help with what you feel comfortable doing. But I wouldn't worry about any tears flowing.. go ahead and let them flow.

They know naturally that your thoughts will be on your beloved on that Wedding Day.

But too.. maybe think on the new couple and wish them all the best that you had with Bob. I found keeping the couple my primary focus to help tremendously. And to be honest .. it turned out to be a decent break here & there from the sadness.

And like Wendy said.. you can always leave early if you feel like it. But you know best... and if you can't decide... just think about what would Bob think you should do.

All the best with whatever you decide.


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Dear Wendy and Leann,

Thank you for your insight. As much as I would like to believe that the date was chosen to "help" me, I am certain that I was not even a subconscious thought while they settled on it. Bob died on Memorial Day 2007. In my family, holidays equate travel time and we have a lot of family that comes from Canada and the Dakotas to attend these events. So, picking this day was probably more for their convenience. The irony is, it is my Canadian cousins who will most closely associate the date with Bob dying as that was the last time they came down to the States. It was this same group that I found the most comforting, having lost their dad/husband just a year before.

I do fear the tug at my heartstrings remembering how special weddings were for Bob and I. We always held hands during weddings and, being really in tune to the vows, seemed to make another silent commitment to our own marriage. It's the handholding I think of, and miss most, rather than memories of our own wedding, when an invitation arrives. It is that lack of closeness to the person that knew me best, that I dread having to face again publicly.

Leann, you made some good points, about being surrounded by family that I hadn't thought of. Last year I took my kids and escaped to the woods for a camp out. I wasn't sure that was the right thing to do, but it was the thing that helped me feel close to Bob, doing something he would have loved. My friends knew the weekend was my 1st anniversary alone and they gave me total permission to talk about him and cry when needed. That permission, was the trick. I spent a lot of time talking about him, but it was the good memories of our campouts that filled my heart and mind bringing as many smiles as there were tears.

I don't want my reaction at my niece's wedding to dampen the spirit of the occasion, yet if it did, those present are the very people I hope would understand. So, I'm torn. I don't know if I'm projecting too much (which is why I stuck this post in "Anticipatory Grief" instead of in with "Spouses") or if I should just attend it, because, it surely is not about me.

I like the idea of leaving early, if needed...It's always good to have an escape plan.

Thanks again,


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I want you to think of one thing....who doesn't cry at weddings ? I do not think if you cry you are going to be the only one. What I would do is tell everyone you will be sitting toward the back of the church in case you have to excuse yourself. During the reception I would just play it by ear on how you feel, have something nice to eat, have a drink or two and toast secretly to your husband and if you want to leave early well then you go right ahead. We are all adults and I think we have to all start doing what is best for us and stop worrying about what other people will think, so unless I am selected to stay home with my Grandmother I will also go to my cousins wedding, do the best I can and if I have to I will do what I have to do. I am glad you brought this up as it is getting to that time of year when alot of us will be going to weddings and this helped me to decide what I will do, let us know what you decide and good luck to you !

Love Always,

Wendy :wub:

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I am certain that I was not even a subconscious thought while they settled on it.

LOL I don't doubt that. You know how newlyweds or almost newlyweds are... and... that is how it should be I guess. I know when various family member's passed away was definitely NOT on my hub's to be or my mind when we chose our date.

And yes it makes perfect sense in a way that your niece and her intended chose that weekend to enable others the time to travel etc. (Plus... don't forget they could take one additional day off from work with a Nat'l holiday in there... hub & I did the same but with a different holiday.) So I 'm glad you can see why they chose that day perhaps. And bless your Candian cousins .. I'm sure they will be helpful to you the day of the wedding as well.

That permission, was the trick.

Well... to be blunt...and forgive me.. BUT....

You don't NEED anyone's permission to talk about Bob or to express your emotions.

You CAN'T put a damper on the day. That's impossible. How other's feel about your expression of emotions is up to THEM.. and is out of your control. They will have as good a time as they decide to have. (and of course.. so will you.) But I really think if you have any emotions that happen to spill a bit down your cheeks that day... one would hope.. that would be understood as being perfectly natural. So worry not... and if it isn't... their problem... not yours.

I was welling up at that wedding I told you about.. YUP right there IN church while the happy couple were on the altar...

And.. believe it or not... NO ONE cared, no one seemed upset by them.

They were bittersweet tears... I was missing Mom & Dad and thinking about their marriage.. my own... but I was also recalling that how wonderful a moment it was for my cousin and her brand new hub. But the fact that I had some tears didn't stop the ceremony... the earth still revolved.. etc. You get my point.

So I wouldn't worry. I know you are torn.. but perhaps some "retail therapy" :) might help ???? Go on out and spoil yourself with a nice shopping excursion... window shop til you drop, try some stuff on and have a nice lunch... getting some ideas about what you might wear if you go.

You, at the very least, deserve that!



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  • 2 weeks later...

I love the retail therapy suggestion! It's sort of been that kind of weekend, though my kids got the better end of my therapy!

I have to color myself red, because when I went and printed the bride and groom's registry, the date was changed to a week before Bob's anniversary. I haven't confirmed it, but seeing a different date, made my heart so much lighter. So, either it is a typo or they were thinking of me and no one said anything...Surprise!!

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  • 2 months later...

The wedding is next Saturday and I really thought I'd be okay knowing it wasn't on Bob's actual last day. My sister asked me to help out at the last minute and my thoughts are so consumed about Bob and crying every time I'm alone, I said I couldn't. She, of course, took it the wrong way and is acting like I'm barely able to "fit it in" to my schedule.

There is a memorial service in the morning at the cemetery. I plan on being there.

Two years is coming up so fast. I want him here, to experience all that is new and happening now. I feel my heart clenching all over again. I took soup over to a friend that broke her wrists rollerblading (both of them.) She was telling me that Mike's baseball coach pulled all the parents together to pray for us the night Bob coded. That was the last day I talked to him. They were going to change his room to better monitor his breathing, but he was talking and joking during the day. He was going to be put on the transplant list that afternoon. I didn't want to leave. I didn't go back when he waved and said something I didn't hear. I had to leave to get Mike to his team pictures and Bob coded a half hour later. Everything is still so fresh. I feel like I'm still there, re-living every last moment, week and time we were together.

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Thank you for your warm thoughts. We had a beautiful day for an outside wedding. Right in the middle of the vows a large dragonfly landed on my shirt. I didn't think anything of it, but my son told me that meant good luck. My brother (who just lost his son last December) saw it also and came up to me right after to say he wished it would have landed on him, but it zoomed over to me. Then he told me this story about how a dragonfly landing on you is to let you know your loved ones are near. I'd never heard that, but was at that moment, tearing up thinking of Bob and our vows and everything being married had meant to me over the years. To think it was him and he was there was truly a magnificent gift.

I found this on the Nature's gift website: "The meaning of a dragonfly changes with each culture. The main symbolisms of the dragonfly are renewal, positive force and the power of life in general. Dragonflies can also be a symbol of the sense of self that comes with maturity. Also, as a creature of the wind, the dragonfly frequently represents change. And as a dragonfly lives a short life, it knows it must live its life to the fullest with the short time it has – which is a lesson for all of us.

There are many different representations of the dragonfly; it all comes down to which culture you happen to be in. For instance, if you are in Japan, the dragonfly symbolizes a new light and joy. Some animal symbolism has the dragonfly representing good luck, prosperity, swiftness, purity, harmony and strength. Some Native Americans believe dragonflies are the souls of the dead. There are also many cultures that believe that the meaning of a dragonfly is happiness, courage and subconscious thoughts. It is also believed that if you see two dragonflies paired together that they represent love and maturity.

The dragonfly has been a symbol of happiness, new beginnings and change for many centuries and even though the representation of the dragonfly seems to change throughout the cultures, there are still a few things that are similar; the dragonfly means hope, change and love. With the constant changing of the world, it is no wonder that more and more people are adopting the dragonfly as their totem and admiring this beautiful insect."

Coincidence or Bob? The Chippewa in me will believe it was Bob!

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