Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Grandma didn't come to my wedding and it still depresses me.

Home Forums Get Advice, Give Advice Grandma didn't come to my wedding and it still depresses me.

This topic contains 16 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by Skyblossom Skyblossom 4 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #761832 Reply

    Me and my grandma have always been REALLY close so it wasn’t a surprise to anyone when I asked my fiance to have my wedding in my home country instead of his so she could make it. I don’t have many friends or close relatives so the thought of having her there really made me happy. It didn’t even occur to me for a second that she might not be able to make it. My grandfather with dementia had passed away a year or two prior so I knew she wouldn’t have to stay home to care for him, like she did for my cousin’s wedding.

    Then a few days before my wedding, my mom informed me that my grandma would not be coming. I was shocked. I was already so exhausted because most of the wedding preparations had fallen on me while I was also working a full time job, while suffering fatigue and burnout. My grandma said she didn’t feel comfortable coming because she wasn’t able to attend my cousin’s wedding, even though they were never nearly as close as we were.

    I tried to be understanding and not let it bother me, but every time I think about my wedding, I get feelings of abandonment and worthlessness. A bunch of my friends also didn’t come, not many people attempted to help with preparations (including mom who became a temporary alcoholic under stress), nobody responded to my RSVP then just showed up. The whole thing was massively upsetting, right down to my mom yelling at me the night before my wedding, but the worst still seems to be that my grandmother didn’t come.

    I don’t know if it was something I did wrong. I keep wondering if she was mad at me, because I wrote the eulogy for my grandfather and tried to keep it lighthearted and fun, but then she got upset because it wasn’t serious enough so I changed it to suit her tastes and requests. But now I’m worried she was angry at me for that. I feel like since the wedding I’ve really grown apart from my grandma and it’s depressing because we used to be so close. Should I talk to her about it, or just keep trying to live with it the way I have been? I don’t think she’s always honest with people, and she’s been very cynical and negative lately.

    #761848 Reply

    Your grandmother sounds like a soul sucking drama queen. You have the wedding in the country where she lives and she won’t come because she didn’t attend a cousin’s wedding? She made you change the Eulogy for your grandfather. You will NEVER win with her. Your sense of closeness was probably because she’s pushed everyone else in her life away and you’re the only one who stuck around. Yes, I know that’s a stretch but seriously, she didn’t come to your wedding to keep things “even”. That makes no sense. She’s causing drama to simply cause drama.

    You aren’t worthless. You are lovable. Maybe now that you’re an adult you have to look at your grandma with adult eyes instead of granddaughter eyes. It may be eye-opening (pun not intended but enjoyable).

    #761850 Reply

    The thing you have to remember when dealing with elderly loved ones is that most of what you think is about you….is not about you.

    People’s personalities change as they get older. They get depressed. They get anxious. Things upset them that never upset them before. Things frighten them that never frightened them before. They have physical problems that they might not want to tell others about (incontinence, etc), that make them anxious about being out of the house for long periods of time. Not to mention that she’d been through the sheer hell of taking care of a spouse with a horrifying disease. It’s no wonder she’s negative and cynical. An experience like that changes people.

    Did you talk to your grandma when you heard she wasn’t coming? Did you go over to her house and hold her hands and tell her that you loved her and wanted her to be there? Did you ask her why she didn’t want to come, and listen to her reasons? Maybe you could have reassured her, or solved whatever problem she had (a bathroom nearby, someone to help her with steps, a place to rest if she wasn’t feeling well).

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 1 week ago by avatar Essie.
    #761868 Reply

    Lis: Thank you for the advice! I don’t think she’s a drama queen though. It was really uncharacteristic of her, and she’s always been a really down to earth person who is there for everyone, which is why it caught me by surprise. I felt the cousin excuse was honestly a lie to cover for something else… but I don’t know what. She even sent a gift but honestly I would have been happier to just have her there.

    Essie: I think you are exactly right. I’m sad to say I didn’t go over and talk to her about it because I was so overwhelmed with everything that was already on my plate, and hearing she didn’t want to come made me feel really heartbroken and confused. I thought I was doing the right thing by being understanding and not pressing her, but I think confronting the issue like you said would have been better because there was probably a reason for it, like you said. It didn’t help that I had been so busy with work and school that I wasn’t seeing her nearly as often as I used to.

    So how do I overcome the sadness I feel about my wedding? Should I sit down and talk about it with my grandmother? I also feel resentful toward my mother who had the entire summer off and hardly helped at all. She just got drunk and made things worse. Not to mention that I’m a terrible planner and the whole event was a fiasco (I forgot to put name tags on the plates and everyone was horrified). Is a wedding even supposed to be a happy time of someone’s life or does everyone just pretend it is when it isn’t?

    #761877 Reply

    My wedding day was awesome, nothing was pretend. I think you had a lot of pressure and not a lot of help which would make anyone overwhelmed. Top it off with mom drama and grandma not coming and I can see how the day would fall well short of expectations. BUT it’s over and you were successfully wed, right? At the end of the day place cards are a minor detail and if anyone is horrified about their lack of placement they probably shouldn’t leave their house because clearly the world is too much for them. Let that stuff go and focus on being a newlywed. It’s a pretty special time so enjoy it. Talk to your grandma. Bring over some pictures and a bottle of wine and ask her what really happened.

    #761884 Reply

    I think you’re mostly just suffering from unrealistic expectations. The wedding is a big fancy party, basically. It’s just a party where some people you really hoped would come, didn’t, and some things went wrong. That’s true of just about every party that’s ever happened in the history of earth.

    No one’s wedding is perfect, and I don’t think anyone’s wedding goes exactly as they dreamed it would. All you can do is stop obsessing about the unhappy stuff, and enjoy the happy moments. You did have some happy moments, right? You didn’t mention any of those.

    The whole point of the thing was to get married to the person you love. As long as that happened, it was a good day, and it’s just one day out of your whole entire married life together. So forget about the place cards. I guarantee you, everyone at your wedding already has.

    #761890 Reply

    My grandmother tried to figure out a way to skip my cousin’s wedding. Grandma was getting to the point that a long day out was too exhausting and she dreaded the wedding although she loved my cousin and was happy that she was getting married.

    Many grandparents try to be fair to all of their grandchildren to keep family peace and because they don’t want hurt feelings over appearing to favor one child/grandchild over another. You grandmother might really have not gone so that she wouldn’t appear to have favorites. She might do that to keep from hurting your cousin or to keep from hurting the cousin’s parent or both. She may feel that if she missed one wedding, even with a good excuse, she has to miss them all. Many people make decisions that way to try to keep family harmony and cohesion. Grandparents hope that the entire family will remain close even after they are gone. I’d assume that this was grandma trying to do her best for the entire extended family. She doesn’t want to come between you and your cousin and appearing to favor you over the cousin would do that.

    #761900 Reply

    LW, I’m sorry your mom has unhelpful and kind of drama queen leading up to your wedding. She sounds like a piece of work. It sounds like you have a better relationship with your Grandma, so it’s completely understandable you’re upset. I agree with what @skyblossom said, or @essie about perhaps she had a medical/body/getting older reason for not attending. I think you should go and talk to her and share wedding stories! There had to be some good to happen, like you’re now married!

    I have to wonder, did your fiance/now husband help at all? You only mention your mom not being there. I hope he did.

    #761925 Reply

    Thank you for all the advice! I realize it’s just one day in my life and so still occasionally getting upset over it feels like I’M being the drama queen. Even my husband was like “O_O I thought you didn’t care about stuff like this”. And generally I don’t, it’s just I’ve never really had a special day. I didn’t have grad or prom or anything – honestly I didn’t want one – but this was the first time it felt actually important because I was marrying the man I loved, and I think, like everyone mentioned, I got my expectations up too high.

    ktfran: I did get some help but nobody in my family ever plans parties or had any idea what to do – myself included. My husband tried, but he was stressing out so much that it was a struggle for him to make any decisions. His mom did some beautiful flower arrangements for me. My dad helped me look at venues but they were all so expensive I ended up just having it in the garage. My mom managed to get tables and chairs, but in a really bad way and we got fined (lol). I mean, looking at it with a sense of humor… as far as wedding disasters go it was pretty hilarious. I feel like we should have waited until we were more financially secure to have it, but his mom kept pestering us to get married in a catholic church or we were living in sin, etc etc.

    I was also really hoping one of my really close overseas friends could make it, but she didn’t because the tickets were understandably too expensive. But then she visited my country later without even stopping by or mentioning she was here, so that hurt a bit too. Then the friend I asked to be my maid of honor seemed really surprised: “Oh, I thought you’d have picked someone different.” Which confused me, because I’m not going to stop being friends with her just because we both get busy with work and don’t see each other nearly as often. Maybe her friend circle has evolved as she had children, whereas mine has not.

    Anyway, I felt like I got over it until we found out his sister is getting married and literally everyone on his side is all excited and helping to plan this elaborate and beautiful wedding at a castle, and it made me wish I could have just got a little extra help with mine. Then all my regrets flooded back and I couldn’t sleep, and decided to post my rant on this forum because I want to get over it and be happy for her and help her enjoy her wedding. I feel like I’m being petty and stupid.

    #761951 Reply

    Elderly people become quite self-centered. Their world becomes smaller and smaller. This kind of disappointment is just life going on: you realise those you love age and won’t be anymore as you used to know them.
    About your wedding, I think you need to find again some agency: you chose eventually to marry, it was your decision, even though parents played a role. You had the wedding you could afford, it was simple and you are happy, you are in love: frankly, this is all what matters. Perhaps keep in mind that all this stress you are talking about was about a happy event, not a terrible task you had to carry. If you organise an other party later, make it simpler and don’t involve your family, so that you are not stressed.
    Being horrified because of names on the plates? Seriously? That is just a little detail, totally unsignificant.
    You probably need to make some new friends as well: life goes on and old youth or school friends have their own life, the links become loose. Open your social life and circle, and make some work on your anxiety, so that you enjoy more your life. This is not all about work.
    Last but not least: don’t invest energy in your sister-in-law’s wedding. Let your in-laws work for it. Just enjoy the party that day, and focus on your own life.

    #761957 Reply

    I don’t know your grandma, but it sounds like she was trying to spare someone’s feelings and ended up hurting yours instead. Even if she wasn’t as close to your cousin, your cousin is the child of her child…and unfortunately a lot of adult siblings also get hurt feelings over any feeling of inequality.

    That sucks, and you are totally allowed to feel hurt and sad about it. Things can bother you, even if you know rationally it’s in the past and you can do nothing about it. It’s stinks to have these unresolved feelings, but not everything gets resolved. Or resolved in the way we want.

    As for the other wedding, you need to try really hard not to compare. The situation is different with your SIL, like, the weddding is in their country, right? You’ve identified and realized your wedding was (unfortunately!) ill planned and things went wrong in your eyes. However, I’ve often heard weddings were a success if the two people who were scheduled to get married did in fact get married! Everything else that went wrong is small potatoes and you will hopefully be able to laugh about it in a few years.

    They clearly have a bigger budget, and maybe have more experience with parties, more money to spend on a planner, more helpful friends. None of that is a criticism of you or your wedding.

    One of the things that kind of comes across in your post and follow up is that you hold other peoples opinions of your life, your party, your actions with more weight than they deserve and it’s to your detriment. This is STILL hurting you. And you rely on unreliable people, like your mother. One of the hardest lessons as an adult (for me) was correctly seeing family members for who they actually are, not who I wished they would/could be to me. That’s me out helped a lot.

    I also struggle with old hurts and things I wish I’d handled differently, but it’s truly pointless to continue to beat yourself up about it. Everytime you start thinking of it and feeling upset, stop yourself and literally mentally tell yourself it is in the past and there’s nothing you can do. This type of redirection takes practice, it’s hard and it’s not always going to help.

    This might help:

    Google around. There are a ton of resources to help get over disappointments and old hurt feelings.

    #761968 Reply

    I understand you being hurt, especially after you planned the wedding based on her attending. However, I think that it makes sense to just believe your grandmother when she gave you the reason for not coming. As illogical as it may seem to some people, then she probably honestly thought that it might be bad to go to your wedding and have missed your cousin’s. Do I think it makes sense? No. But people have different perspectives. So, you trying to come up with more negative reasons why she didn’t come seems like unnecessary hurt for yourself.

    I wish that weddings weren’t seen as so momentous that people see them as a measure of someone else’s love for them. If you’ve always been close to her, then taking this one event and deciding that she doesn’t care about you enough or letting it mess up your relationship would be really sad. Her not coming doesn’t change the many years of relationship you have with her.

    You mention graduations. My parents didn’t attend my grad school graduation, which was much more important to me than my undergrad one. My mom couldn’t afford it (and I didn’t feel comfortable footing her travel bill because I hadn’t secured a job yet), and my dad and stepmom just chose not to come for no apparent reason. It was sad, but they’ve been my parents for 30 years. I’m going to use the way they’ve treated me those past 30 years as more of a measure of their love for me than one event, even if it’s important to me.

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