Gabe and I got engaged recently in December and have set a date for this coming October to be married. We’re not having a huge reception, it will probably include about a hundred people. We didn’t want to have anything too expensive or too large as we have a lot of responsibilities with our kids but we feel that we would like to do a little more than taking a trip to city hall.
We were talking today and he mentioned that he still has not announced the date to his mom. He is worried that she is going to be less than thrilled about us spending the money on the reception and what people will think. He has tried to talk to her previously about eventually selling his house and moving on and though it’s nothing personal, she wasn’t the biggest fan as she’s not someone who likes change. A couple of months ago, his aunt asked his mom where his girlfriend was as she thought that I lived with them and his mom told her, “Oh no, she doesn’t live here, she’s like his friend who helps him a lot.” What? He did tell her immediately that that was not true and he planned on getting married soon. Again, it’s nothing personal, I know that she likes me and we get along great. The thing is though, she would like to live in denial and see her son as the poor widower raising up three motherless children without another interest in the world. She would also like everyone else to believe this as well. I think it’s partly cultural and partly generational. In her generation, when your spouse dies, you don’t move on. You can recall fond memories of them for the rest of your days and everyone will see you as a respectable widow(er). In his case, it’s even more admirable as he can be a respectable widower who supported his children and raised them all single handed. Needless to say, she is not the only one with this thought process.
During the wake of a death, there is always literally dozens (or more) people promising their everlasting love and help (whatever I can do) to the survivor(s). As the weeks and months pass, most of these people have dropped off from the face of the earth. THEY move on. As in his case as well, he had tons of help from family and in-laws in the beginning with his household and children. Over time, the help dwindled and he had to look to babysitters and housekeepers for help. For the most part, we have found, when you need this type of full time help, it’s almost impossible to find someone who’s reliable. So who is left to help? Yeah, that would be me. I find the hypocrisy fascinating, all of these people who would love for this young widower to just stick it out and be respectable and alone, however, they are more than happy for his partner to take on the kids and the things that they no longer have time for, as THEY have moved on.
In the end, he can either be everyone’s favorite martyr or HE can move on and be happy.