Saturday, January 20, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Forget relative's role in your wedding and be compassionate

Relative's wedding role secondary to her 'tragic loss'

Q: My relationship with a close family member has taken a turn for the worse. She suffered a tragic loss almost a year ago, and is clearly still grieving.

The problem is that I feel that in her anger/grief at her situation, she is taking her feelings out on me — she has blamed me for being unsupportive and uncaring (I strongly feel that this is not true). I'm also not the first person she has written off for these reasons.

She's so upset with me that she has now declined to be my maid of honor, less than three months before my wedding. Our family is devastated that "we can't get along."

I understand she has been through a lot, but I'm also hurt deeply by her treatment. If this were a friend, I'd sadly assume the relationship was over, but this is family and I'm under a lot of pressure to make things right by my wedding. I'm at a loss as to how to prevent this relationship from deteriorating further and conflicted by my hurt feelings versus her grief. Am I being unfair? Do I ignore her behavior because of the understandable cause of it?

Hurt in Richmond

A: It's good she's not a friend, because I believe your friendship-ending assumption would be premature.

"Tara" (I'm naming her, for simplicity's sake) suffered a "tragic loss," and she has written off at least one other person besides you — and the fact that you noted these means you recognize, on some level, that this is more about her grief than it is about you. If anything, it sounds as if you want a push one way or the other — in the form of permission to hold this against her, or encouragement to redouble your patience.

I also suspect you want this push because the wedding looms, the family presses and your patience is ticking down like shopping days till Christmas.

However: Like Christmas, the wedding is an artificial deadline — a manufactured climax to the story of you, Tara and her grief, a story that's bigger than any one day. Ten years from now it won't matter whether she stood at the altar with you, it will matter how you handled yourself and your relationship in light of her grief.

Accordingly, tell anyone who pressures you to "make things right by my wedding" that there's no deadline here; you love Tara and care about her and will give her all the time she needs.

Tell this to Tara, too. Explain that whether she stands with you or not is beside the point (though you'd love her to) — the point being that she gets the care and support she needs from you. If she can articulate what that is, then, great, but if she can't, then you'll need to listen to her in more subtle and sensitive ways.

In other words, the way to keep this relationship from deteriorating further is to keep firmly in mind what this isn't about at all (a wedding, a family unaccustomed to loose ends); what it's somewhat about (you); and what it is primarily about: "a close family member" who needs all the compassion she can get.

Comments
2018 Children’s Gasparilla Parade: Guide and insider tips

2018 Children’s Gasparilla Parade: Guide and insider tips

On Saturday, the kids get first crack at the booty from the pirates at the Children’s Gasparilla Extravaganza, the annual alcohol-free party on Bayshore Boulevard. To kick off the season of Jose Gaspar, the fictitious marauder whose legend has...
Published: 01/18/18
You can buy the balls from Amalieís Beach Tampa exhibit at auction

You can buy the balls from Amalieís Beach Tampa exhibit at auction

More than 100,000 people showed up at Amalie Arena in 2016 to frolic in a huge ball pit. It was a sea of 1.2 million white orbs so vast that grown men could belly flop and remain afloat. Almost two years after the Beach Tampa packed up, some 15,000 l...
Published: 01/18/18

Tell Me About It: FaceTime offense lands sister on the outs

FaceTime offense lands sister on the outsQ: When does FaceTime become an intrusion?My sister-in-law recently relocated to our area. We invited her to join us for our traditionally quiet New Yearís Eve celebration. About two hours before midnight, she...
Published: 01/18/18

Tell Me About It: Cousinís husband pursues young sisters

Cousinís husband pursues young sisters Q: I just found out that my nieceís husband has made inappropriate comments/propositions to both of my daughters, one still a minor (17). I have to tell my niece, right? I donít want to hurt her.Broken HeartA: Y...
Published: 01/18/18
Plan your weekend Jan. 19-21: Gasparilla Children’s Parade, Jake Owen, Riverdance, Florida Orchestra’s Dvorak

Plan your weekend Jan. 19-21: Gasparilla Children’s Parade, Jake Owen, Riverdance, Florida Orchestra’s Dvorak

Plan your weekend † Gasparilla Children’s Parade: A week before the more raucous pirate invasion, the G-rated version hits the streets. The Children’s Gasparilla Extravaganza and Parade kicks off Gasparilla season with a bicycle safety...
Published: 01/17/18
Top things to do this week: Steve Martin and Martin Short, Gasparilla Childrenís Parade

Top things to do this week: Steve Martin and Martin Short, Gasparilla Childrenís Parade

PICKING AND GRINNING: Steve Martin and Martin ShortThere wasnít a lot of bluegrass being played around Hamilton, Ontario, when Martin Short was a kid. But his decades-long friendship with Steve Martin has made him a fan, which brings An Evening With ...
Published: 01/17/18

Tell Me About It: Mom needs reassurance of their gratitude

Mom needs reassurance of their gratitudeQ: Whenever my mother gives me or my family member a gift, she ends up asking about it several times afterward. Does not matter if it was $5 or expensive.We always thank her for gifts, and these comments feel l...
Published: 01/16/18

Tell Me About It: Sister-in-lawís gall is of epic proportions

Sister-in-lawís gall is of epic proportionsQ: Iím a two-time, currently-Stage IV breast cancer survivor. When I was told I needed a double mastectomy, I did the research and decided to "go flat."For dressy occasions, I wear prostheses, but theyíre no...
Published: 01/16/18

Tell Me About It: Pregnancy makes move harder to bear

Pregnancy makes move harder to bearIím 27 weeks pregnant and just moved to a new city for a great job, but I think I made a big mistake. I loved my old life and feel so homesick for it. But my husband and I bought a house, so moving is not a feasible...
Published: 01/15/18

Tell Me About It: Mom is floored by daughterís pregnancy

Mom is floored by daughterís pregnancyQ: Iím literally shaking as I type this. My 15-year-old daughter is pregnant. I canít believe it. We had many good discussions about waiting until she was ready, using birth control when she was, but it all did n...
Published: 01/14/18