Ask Amy: Grieving bridesmaid feels overwhelmed

April 18, 2012

DEAR AMY: I’m in my mid-20s. My mom passed away last month. She had been sick, but it was still very sudden.

I am also the maid of honor in my childhood best friend’s wedding in August. I’m grieving and working through my own process, and of course, she is extremely stressed with wedding plans.

She’s not sure how to be here for me, and I’m not sure how to be the best I can be for her right now.

I think my mother would have wanted me to be the best maid of honor I could be, but I’m finding obstacles at every turn because I’m so upset and angry that my mom won’t be at the wedding and can’t help me with planning the shower and bachelorette events.

How do I do this? How do I get through this? -- Grieving MOH

DEAR GRIEVING: Losing a mother is a unique blow, and your young contemporaries may not have the tools to help you through this, though, if my own experience is any gauge, having someone to merely attend to and be a quiet witness to your sorrow would be a big help.

You should say to the bride, “I’m so sad sometimes I can’t even think straight. I think I’m going to need help organizing these events; is there another bridesmaid who can work with me?”

Doing this along with another friend might give you some very necessary fellowship. And if you honestly feel so overwhelmed that you can’t cope with any of it, simply let the bride know so she can make the adjustment now.

I urge you to contact your local hospice for support; they can connect you with a grief group for younger people. Please pursue this — being with others who are also going through this sad and confusing experience will help you slowly recover your balance.

DEAR AMY: My husband and I have had the same primary care doctor, and generally I have been pleased with the care I have received.

I have been blessed with good health, so I haven’t had to rely on her for anything other than minor illnesses and routine checkups throughout the years.

She has been displaying fairly innocuous religious items in her office. At my last visit, she asked about my husband. He had called her for a referral involving a possible mental health issue.

During my appointment I told her his symptoms and shared my frustration, and she proceeded to tell me that she thought that “the enemy” might be attacking him.

She also told me about an experience she had at church in which a woman was told she’d receive a heart transplant in her sleep, brought by angels. She teared up as she told me this.

When I asked her if she could pray for my husband, she said she wanted for us to pray for him right there in the office, which we did.

I am a religious person and felt it was relatively harmless, but others have told me that she should not have pursued a conversation about my husband with me, especially during my appointment time, and wondered about her competency as a medical professional given her religious beliefs about physical matters.

I’d like to know your opinion about this before I do anything drastic. -- God Fearing

DEAR FEARING: I agree with your friends. Whether or not you believe in angels, I think we can all agree that they don’t do complicated surgery.

Your physician has violated many boundaries, including your husband’s medical privacy. You should definitely look for another doctor. You should also consider calling the state board to share your concerns. The American Medical Association has very helpful information on its Web site: ama-assn.org (search for “medical ethics” under the heading “Resources.”).

DEAR AMY: I am amused at the conversation in your column about how to react to comments about being short.

As a teacher for many years, I often heard comments about how short someone was. I always interjected, “Only on the outside — you’re huge inside!” Seems to be just what a 6th-grader needed to hear. -- Teacher

DEAR TEACHER: As a fellow shorty, I take this to heart.

Write to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

2012 by the Chicago Tribune

Distributed by Tribune Media Services

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