Post # 1
I am probably not the only one here but I thought I would see what kind of advice other brides have who are dealing with elderly/ill parents along with wedding planning and the wedding day itself. Add to that the fact that I’m 3000 miles away from home and I’m starting to wonder how to manage it all.
My dad is older – he was always one of the ‘old’ dads among my friends when I was growing up and he always had a chronic pulmonary condition but he has always been a great dad and a very loving support. In the past few years his condition has worsened and he has developed anxiety and depression that are limiting him. He’s been in in-patient care for the past couple weeks because he was in bad shape and it is becoming clear that getting older is taking a more permanent toll than it did before. Now even his personality is changing and it’s hard to handle, especially because I’m so far away. I’m worried about him and I’m really worried about my mom because I don’t know how she’s going to manage him – he’s getting more and more difficult to cope with on her own and my brother and sister do their best but it seems overwhelming.
Then I’m getting these awful pangs of guilt when I think selfishly about the wedding day and my life after – will he be able to walk me down the aisle? Will we be able to have our dance together? Will he ever see my children?
Has anyone dealt with these types of things before and do you have any advice on resources? Or anything you’ve done to help you cope? Or anything that has helped your parents in this situation? I’m trying to figure out how to help him and my family/how to cope/how to manage and any help would be appreciated.
Post # 3
AnamCara, hugs to you. It sounds like you and your family are having a really difficult time. I hope that your Dad’s condition improves so things will be a bit easier.
I’m not getting married myself so I can’t speak to your wedding-specific concerns directly from a personal perspective, but my Mom is the primary caregiver for my elderly grandmother, and I too live 3000 miles away and see the stress this situation puts on my Mom, and feel guilty. It’s REALLY hard to deal with those feelings of guilt (if I was a “good daughter” I’d uproot my life to help out my Mom, etc….) but I can tell you that the best thing you can do for your Mom is to be there for her when she needs to talk, or vent, or get ideas about how to deal with situations.
I’m not sure if your Mom is active with the internet but if she is there are caregiver websites with great online Communities that can help in terms of support/venting and information sharing as well (I have a list but it’s at home – I just googled “caregiver support”).
I hope this helps. Meanwhile I would not feel guilty about planning your wedding, your parents love you and want you to have a joyful day celebrating your new marriage — I’m sure your Dad wonders if and hopes that he’ll be able to walk you down the aisle and dance with you, too. By moving forward with the plans you are creating a happy experience for your family to share in together.
Post # 4
Thank you so much Lorienne for your reply. I was about to ask Mr. Bee to delete my post because it was a bit depressing to have it on here without any replies – it’s such a sad situation.
I really appreciate you taking the time to give me some insight into your situation – it’s just something that is so hard to imagine before it happens and STILL hard even after it is in the process of happening. I guess part of it is the difficulty of seeing the parent become the ‘needier’ one – it’s hard to know how to manage it when it’s unlike anything I’ve dealt with before…
Thanks again – I really appreciate it more than you know.
Post # 5
I am so sorry about your dad. You shouldn’t feel guilty about planning your wedding and wanting to have your special day. From what you have written, you dad wouldn’t want you to feel guilty and it would probably make him sad, if he knew.
If you know he won’t be able to come to the wedding, you could go to where he is and do a commitment ceremony, where he could walk you down some kind of an aisle. You could have someone video it, so you could have a keepsake of it, and also maybe give a copy to your father, so that he could watch it whenever he wanted too.