We live in a society where a lot of people can’t even properly process grief over a pet, much less a person and it shows when you see stories like this:
AITA for not wanting to feature my fiancé’s former SO who passed away in our wedding?
TW for loss and death. My fiance was engaged for about a month to his high school sweetheart when she passed away in a tragic, freak accident. For personal reasons, I don’t want to get into how it happened, but it was no one’s fault. This was maybe 6 years ago. Just for the purpose of the post I’ll call her Mandy.
My fiance has been very open about this loss and how it has affected him throughout our relationship. I know he misses her and the memories he has with her and important and special. I don’t want to take away anything or demean the relationship, and I’ve always been there for him on hard days and supported him when he needed it. We got engaged last year, the date is TBD still for obvious reasons. It was very emotional for both of us, and we’ve been really happy. But since planning the wedding, I’ve been feeling like I’m not only planning it for myself, but for Mandy as well.
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It started as comments from his family. A lot of “Oh Mandy would have loved this” type things. I brushed it off at first and just thought it was a way of them processing grief. I have a great relationship with his family, but I know they loved Mandy too. When I went dress shopping, his mom and sister came. They kept talking about what dress Mandy would have worn, what they could see her in, etc. It might seem like nothing, but it really overtook the conversation, so much so that another bridesmaid told me later that she felt uncomfortable for me too. It turned from harmless comments into focusing what should be a special event for me into reminiscing over Mandy.
My latest project has been compiling old photos of me and my fiance for a slideshow at the reception (or rehearsal dinner we haven’t decided). He told me theres something he’s been wanting to ask me: he really wants to include some kind of “in memory of Mandy” into our wedding, and thinks the slideshow would be a perfect place. At this point, I was (and still kinda am) fed up with the Mandy comments taking over our wedding. I sternly told him that no I don’t think that would be appropriate, as this is our wedding and should focus on us. We are having a table with pictures of loved ones who passed, and she will be featured there. He told me that he doesn’t think that’s enough to honor her memory. He wants to incorporate her in a bigger way, as she never got her dream wedding. He also thinks it would be a sweet surprise for Mandy’s parents (who are invited since he is still really close to them).
I did lose my cool, I will admit. I told him honestly how I felt about the Mandy situation taking over our wedding, and how I’m uncomfortable with it. I also asked him if he could ask his family to limit the Mandy comments at our wedding, since now I’m afraid the whole wedding will be focused on her. I told him that I need time away to think and have been staying at my parent’s house, but we’ve still been talking.
AITA? Am I overreacting?
Anyone should be able to understand how hard it would be to lose your high school sweetheart right after you got engaged. It’s tragic, terrible, horrible and it’s only human to be sad about it. It’s healthy even.
Is it healthy to still be regularly thinking about her death 6 years later? No. Is it healthy to be bringing her up regularly to your new fiance? Not at all. Is it healthy for your PARENTS to be regularly bringing her up to your fiance? Nooooooo. That’s even stranger. Is it healthy to want to feature her at your wedding to another woman? Not in any way, shape, or form.
Life is for the living, not for the dead. That doesn’t mean they’re not important. That doesn’t mean you don’t care about them. That doesn’t mean you have forgotten them, but the show must go on.
It’s just wrong to make the woman that is about to be your new wife feel like she’s coming in 2nd place to an idealized version of a dead woman. Nobody that cared about you would even WANT that. How narcissistic would you have to be to hope from the grave that someone that loved you was STILL struggling with your death half a decade after the fact?
Mourn the people you care about. Don’t forget them. But, don’t think that your continued suffering is some kind of monument to them because it’s not. You can honor the people you’ve lost, but they are lost and you need to focus on the people that are still here.