My Mom is Still Attached to My Wedding and I’m Broken About It

I’ve been my own worst enemy throughout this wedding process ordeal. 

Not too long ago, my best friend came to me in the heat of the moment and said, “You’re making this harder than it has to be.”

At the time, I was furious. Why would I be making this harder than it has to be? In all actuality, how is any of this my fault? I became so distant from my friends, my family, recoiling into myself like a venomous snake who people were tired of my spewing poison. I felt a stark contrast to how I’d been around people who were grieving: I left them alone.

Yesterday, I’m standing in my doorway, breaking down in hysterics saying, “It’s too formal, it’s too formal” over and over on some overanxious loop. I told John that I can’t get married without my mom. I just can’t do it. Not like this, anyway.

Fast forward several hours later and I’m at my friends house, feeling like an outcast because I’ve forced those who love me to act weird and distant to me, forbidding them to talk about the wedding because I’m over that general excitement people have toward us. It’s become like a stinger and I want to die each time someone asks me, “Are you excited?”

Our friends have a young daughter who is almost four, and throughout all the years I’ve known her, I’m always overwhelmed with happiness when she actually likes me. Last night she kept jumping into my arms, cuddling me, showing me all her dolls and toys, holding my hand and sticking with me the entire night. I tucked her in on the couch until she was “snug like a bug in a rug” and made sure her new favorite bear, Princess, was beside her because like I told her, “Lily is Princess’ best friend.”

I spent the majority of the night upstairs playing Paw Patrol with an almost-four year old, alone, away from all the crowds, our friends and my almost husband. We sat watching television on the couch and I can now list all the names of the Paw Patrol gang: Marshall, Rubble, Rocky, Everett, Chase and Skye (although I assume there’s many others).

At the end of the night, her eyes welled up pink when I said I had to go, and I had the hardest time not wanting to pluck her from the floor in her living room and take her home with me. My friends are aware that I’m always borderline kidnapper.

Spending time with Lily last night reminded me of my grandfather. My mom, don’t get me wrong, was always by my side and did whatever I wanted, but my pop-pop had this innate capability to not lose focus for hours when it came to me and my cousin when we were small children. I once created a game where we had to sit underneath of their aluminium kitchen table and make sure a yellow balloon wouldn’t rise up and hit the bottom of it. My cousin swears she had another game underneath the table and it makes me wonder why we were both so obsessed with a rusted, aluminum table from 1954.

The topic of having a baby has always been a lively one, but a realistic one more recently. As we were taking the curve off our exit to head back home, I asked, “Do you think it’s foolish for me to talk about wanting to have a baby when I can’t even talk about my wedding?”

In short, John’s answer: “Of course not. They’re two different things. One is emotional.”

I asked, “Do you think it’s immature of me to not allow people to get involved or talk about the wedding to me?”

In short, John’s answer: “No, it’s not immature. It’s a sad subject that you want to avoid. I think what happens more often than not, when it comes to how you handle the wedding, is that people are frustrated. They want to help, but they just don’t know how. It doesn’t help that your emotions vary. One time, asking about the wedding may be fine because you’re in a much more positive head space, whereas the other time, you may not be and that’s when it’ll set you off.”

“Sometimes I feel like I’m making this out to be worse than it is,” I said. And it’s a phrase I really hate saying out loud.

One line that has always stuck with me throughout this wedding process/grieving process was that I’m not coping. I always found that quite ridiculous considering every single day I’m pushing myself toward this new identity.

Since my mom’s been gone, we looked at buying our first house. I started painting and wrote a children’s book. I went out and landed my first job in my field. Even the conversation about having kids doesn’t hold this pain and agony that my wedding holds.

And I figured out why last night.

Because all those things are things that were started after my mom was already gone. They’re not connected to her. My wedding still is.

My wedding was planned with the thought she would still be in it. My wedding date was set with an image and a forecast of all the things we’d do to prep for it: buying a dress, experiencing these lovely mother-daughter moments, her being there to watch me walk down the aisle, her being there to help me get ready that morning of.

My mom is tethered to the original forecast of this wedding and that’s what I am incapable of changing. I feel, often, like I’m at fault for making this harder than it has to be not only on me, but my groom, my friends, his family. I feel inconsiderate that my pain takes away an otherwise, happy and loving experience.

What I’ve failed to realize though, is that these shackles I’ve attached to myself don’t belong there if I don’t want them. I don’t have to get married, and by that I mean, this day is about the two of us – and we’ve talked until we’ve been blue in the face for more than a year about the constraints of this wedding that we can choose to live without. At the end of the day, all we want is to be married to one another. There doesn’t have to be formality and tradition in that.

I need to take the pressure off myself that I have to go through with things a certain way just to make outside people happy – friends, family, society. At the end of the day, it’s solely about the two of us, and if we’re both okay with doing things a little non-traditional as a way to adjust to the heartbreak that’s associated with our impending nuptials, then so be it. I’m not in a box. I’m not trapped. I’m not like my mom, voiceless.

I don’t have to uphold to this concept and probability that I even need to do things a certain way. I need to remove the pressure that comes with the heavy grief and sadness when I think about having to formally walk down the aisle and spend an entire morning away from the only person who has kept me calm and stable throughout this entire process. There is no such thing as traditional in our lives. I mean, our vibrant, artistic house is a common example of how we think outside the box of traditional norms. I need to remove the pressure on my shoulders that thinks I have to adhere to anything that’s too hard for me. At the end of the day, if I have the loving support from the man I’m traveling through life with, then nothing outside even matters.

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