We recently received an important question for Ask Team Practical—one about planning a wedding with a critically ill loved one. To make sure we got the answer just right, we reached out to longtime APW reader Morgan. Morgan was the first reader to ever write in on this subject, when her father was dying. She then wrote about her wedding, after losing her father. These days she writes about more joyful things, like her baby daughter, but today she agreed to give sage advice to all of you planning a wedding while dealing with the really hard stuff.
Hi Meg and Team Practical,
This is a somewhat hard and awkward letter to write. I am getting married to my fiancé Dan in July, and a few weeks ago my mother was diagnosed with uterine cancer. She’s begun her chemo treatment already and, while it can’t always be promised, it looks like we caught the cancer early enough to have some positive results. I can’t say with confidence that this will work out, mainly because we have to wait two treatments to re-evaluate—so even though we know what she has finally, I feel like we’re still in limbo.
I don’t plan to cancel our wedding—if anything I realize the wedding is a source of great joy for my mother and family. But I need some advice on how to get through this personally. I was at the hospital with my mother the other day and while she was getting blood drawn, she told the nurses about the wedding; they asked me questions about it and I could barely hold myself together. At this point, whenever the wedding comes up, I have such strong emotions about it. There are things I need to get done, and I do them, but it feels like the excitement has taken a back seat. That I’m just going through the motions of planning this important event. I feel like I cannot enjoy the thought of our wedding day, mainly because I fear so much that my mother will not be there. I know I should have a positive attitude, or let this situation bring a deeper meaning/perspective to our wedding—and I do sometimes—but I am struggling. These seem to be such contradictory events; I thought maybe you or your readers could share some advice that would help bring them into some type of harmony.
Thanks for your help,
Cancer sucks. I’m genuinely sorry that your family is going through this, and hopeful that your mom will have one of the happy outcomes. But in the meantime, you feel like you are stuck in limbo, right? That’s because you are, and that also sucks. It’s hard to make plans, it’s hard to know what to do, it’s hard to be brave, and it’s hard to hold yourself together. It’s really hard right now, and that’s normal. I mean, as normal as anything can be, when someone you love has cancer.
APW is full of stories about women who did not enjoy their wedding planning, for a huge number of reasons. And that’s okay! They got married in the end, and most people write about what a great time they actually had at the wedding. If you are merely going through the motions of planning a wedding, well, the wedding still gets planned that way, right? It may help if you try to separate your feelings about the two in your head: wedding planning and wedding day. The way you feel about the planning doesn’t necessarily have a huge effect on the way you feel about the day. I phoned in all wedding planning, and still had a day that shines in my mind as one of the most love-filled, grace-filled, transcendent days of my entire life. The day did not suffer because I didn’t care about flowers or centerpieces or details, or, frankly, anything in the lead up. It’s disappointing that this time of planning that you may have really been looking forward to is substantially less fun than you were expecting, and you are allowed to mourn the planning-that-may-have-been. Continue reading Ask Team Practical (Guest Edition): The Hard Stuff