Dear Amy: My daughter became engaged last week. We are thrilled and like “Steve” a lot.
I blurted out, “That can’t happen.”
She said she has no preference and always thought she would have an outdoor wedding. Her father died a few years ago, and I have no expectation they would get married in our church, but I am totally against it in a Catholic church.
Also, in our close and conservative family, we do not drink alcohol. We have been to many Catholic weddings, and my daughter has always called them “too ritualistic.”
I was thinking a neutral location would be better. Does it matter that I will be paying for the wedding? Do I have to pay for the alcohol provided at the reception? Is it appropriate for me not to provide financial assistance if it’s held in a Catholic church?
— Future MIL
Future MIL: Your views and comments regarding a Catholic wedding are blatantly prejudiced, as well as unkind. How would you feel if your future son-in-law or his parents responded this way regarding your own faith practice?
It is important for you to recognize that this wedding is not about you. It is about your daughter and her future husband.
If you had demonstrated the grace to stay silent during this preplanning phase, and simply let the couple openly explore their ideas in their own way, they would learn on their own that a Catholic ceremony might not be possible for them, for a variety of reasons that would be explained by the priest.
Do not interfere.
In my opinion, you owe your daughter and her fiance an apology for your reaction and a promise that you will do your best to listen without interfering as they excitedly describe their plans.
Do let them know that you have a definite budget for footing the bill, and if there are parameters surrounding it, you should be honest. If you don’t want to pay for any aspect of this reception, including the alcohol — then don’t!
Dear Amy: My brother had a catastrophic head injury.
He was put on life support.
After a few days, my sister-in-law decided to take him off life support. There were several family members present when the life support was removed.
As you may know, once life support is removed, you may linger for a while until you pass.
Well, they stayed for a while, but then “couldn’t handle it anymore” — so they left. My brother died alone!
I am so angry about him being left to die alone!
Am I overreacting and being unreasonable?
— Angry Aunt
Angry: People can linger for days after being taken off life support.
And sometimes, people linger and then seem to “wait” to die until a loved-one has left the room.
At least, this is what the hospice nurse told me when I left the room briefly during my own vigil. I learned two minutes later that my loved-one had let go the moment I’d left.
Did I abandon this person to die alone? No — the goodbyes had been expressed. I just … went to the bathroom.
My honest take is that you are upset that you weren’t with your brother at the end. Please don’t judge others’ choices too harshly — there is no one way to do this, and people’s capacities differ. Don’t let anger crowd out your own grief.
Dear Amy: I recently read a letter from a preschool teacher who gives each student a copy of the book she reads to them every day.
I don’t think anyone other than a teacher or the student getting that beautiful gift, realizes the impact of the gesture.
In first grade, my son’s teacher made hand-beaded animals and gave each child their favorite animal for their birthday.
As he climbed into his booster seat, he put his birthday turtle into the cupholder of the door. Whenever we got a new car, it was placed in the same place.
My son is now 29 and that beaded turtle is now in the cupholder in his car. Sometimes we just don’t realize that the little gestures of kindness are carried with us along our life’s path.
— Mom with Memories
Mom: Sometimes, kindness is carried on the back of a handmade turtle.
©2022 by Amy Dickinson distributed by Tribune Content Agency