DEAR ABBY: My daughter got married in a friend’s backyard three months ago. Her husband built an arch for the ceremony. He spent $285 on some very nice walnut, and they planned to keep it forever.
With my daughter’s consent, my wife loaned it to a niece of hers. The arch was broken and thrown out. We found this out only after weeks of requesting that we get it back. They have offered to pay the $285, but without even a “sorry.” My daughter is extremely angry at my wife and the niece and her husband. I need words to console my wife and daughter. This has caused a deep emotional schism in our family. — WEDDING MESS IN ARIZONA
DEAR MESS: It is time to talk to your daughter about priorities. Because of her deep emotional attachment to the arch her now-husband created for their wedding, her anger and hurt are justifiable.
That the niece and her husband not only damaged it but threw it away like a piece of garbage was terrible. That they not only didn’t apologize, but also failed to recognize the sentimental value of the arch is shocking. (At least they offered to reimburse the cost of the wood.) However, for your daughter to blame your wife for the niece’s carelessness is wrong.
It takes strength of character to forgive. This does not mean your daughter must forget what happened and how poorly it was handled. In the uncertain times we are experiencing, relationships and family unity are primary. I hope that, with time, your daughter and her husband will realize this and repair the rift while recognizing the niece’s shortcomings in the future. (“Neither a borrower nor a lender be …”)
DEAR ABBY: At the end of last year, I sat down with my parents hoping that maybe we could approach the new year with a fresh start. One short month into the new year, my mother is back at it again, ridiculing me and making me feel like no matter what I do, it will never be good enough for her.
I have reached the end of my rope. I’m tired of dealing with the constant cycle of emotional abuse. I have overcome much in my life, and I’m proud of myself for it. During times when I struggle, I reflect on how much. I keep pushing myself forward, but at this point, I’m just tired.
I have considered distancing myself, but the recent loss of my grandfather hit me hard. I have been leaning on my family to keep myself going, so I’m in a pickle. — HURT, STUNNED AND TIRED IN NEW YORK
DEAR H.S.T: You may never be able to have what you want from your mother, not because there is something wrong with you, but because she has proven herself incapable of being supportive.
For understanding and the emotional support you are seeking, consider contacting your clergyperson (if you have one) or the officiant at your grandfather’s funeral and asking about joining a grief support group. If you do, you may find the support you need while at the same time keeping safely at a distance from your mother.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.