Dear Amy:

My mother is very unhappy that my son is going to be married by a priest. My son doesn't subscribe to any organized religion. His fiance does.

As the mother of the groom, I know what my role is. I completely understand that all of us, including the near and dear, are guests. The bride, her family and, to a lesser extent, my son are responsible for this event.

My mother has blasted my son, myself and, indirectly, the bride and her family through some nasty e-mails. My mother's husband has added his two cents to this nonsense by admonishing my son that he is being "disrespectful" to his grandma who "raised" him. The latter point is remarkable. The last time I checked, I raised this boy.

The communications with my son ended on the ominous note of "you'll be sorry." I gather that this means they will cut him out of the will and any inheritance.

My family doesn't receive any money from them, nor do we expect to. We simply want them to back off and to let these grown adults make and live by their own decisions.

Do you think I should let this thing die down or should I issue a statement on my own behalf? I tend to be spineless when it comes to her outbursts.

Is it time for me to speak up (by e-mail -- I couldn't deal with a phone call)?

Cowardly Lion

This isn't only a wedding question. This is a mother-daughter question.

Unless your son asks you to intervene, you should let him handle his portion of this. He could do this either by ignoring his grandmother or by asking her politely to back off.

You really must conquer your own cowardice, however, and you might as well do it now, before your mother becomes "Granzilla" and stomps all over your son's wedding, breathing tongues of fire.

If you can't manage to do this by phone, you could send her a carefully worded e-mail: "Mother, your comments are not helpful and in fact are quite hurtful, and I'd like for you to stop." Your mother may choose to take offense at the fact that you are showing some backbone. If she decides to boycott the wedding because of this, you can consider yourself lucky.

Dear Amy:

You've run letters from people about how to respond to an illness in the community. Here's my experience.

I had cancer last summer, and I was in the hospital and nursing home for a month. The thing I enjoyed most was a "basket of love" from my neighbor. She had all the neighbors and friends fix get-well cards and put them in a basket with a big purple bow on it, and sent it to the hospital with my husband.

Some days I only felt like looking at four or five cards, but I could look at the basket and know there were a lot of people thinking of me and praying for me. I received more than 200 cards.

R. Meadors, Denver

Your basket runneth over! What a great idea.

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