Inviting Estranged Family to Wedding


Dear CAF Friends,

I'm getting married in a couple of months. My grandmother (who practically raised me and lives about 4 hours away) and I have not spoken in 2 years. I got divorced, I went grad school (I'm trying to "rise above" my station), and I am with a Roman Catholic. She isn't and never has been proud of me and she has told me so. God bless her, she's lived in the same small (700 people) town her whole life and has a xenophobic streak and her own issues.

I love her dearly. I want so badly to invite her to the wedding. I've forgiven her and completely understand she is the product of her environment, her generation, and her experiences. I have longed to hear kind words from her.

I'm thinking of writing her a letter, just to say I love her and would welcome her with open arms to the wedding. I guess any thoughts and prayers are what I am asking for. This is very difficult. We tried talking again 2 years ago and soon after (about a month) she could not finish a conversation without bringing up something I had done that was wrong. I would try to keep it light, smiling, "Yes. I haven't always done what I should have, but I'm working on changing it" or "I know you're telling me this because you love me and want me to do better."

She has nothing to do with my other children but has always doted on my oldest daughter, and her loyalty to her siblings keeps her at arm's length from her great-grandmother. She and I both want her the wedding but we're both nervous and afraid she'll reject the invitation or she'll come and then things will go south, so to speak. She's a genuinely good-hearted woman, she's just... got issues. I believe she means the best for me. Her GP told her he thought she was bipolar with depression. I'm sure she is. She is elderly (wow! she has and will never seem like it!) and I doubt she at this point would do anything with the information.

Anyway... I am asking God for what to do and the words to do it.

Thanks for listening!!!



Congrats on the marriage! May God bless you!

Prayers your way.


Include a very brief note in the wedding invitation. Just tell her you love and miss her.
If you have done anything to cause her mental pain, ask for her forgiveness.
Do not expect an answer.

Catholics do not believe in divorce and remarriage.
Any second marriage would require an annulment which would have to prove a serious flaw in the first which would prove it invalid.


“I’m with a Roman Catholic” could easily have meant “my second attempt at marriage follows a duly-acquired decree of nullity with regards to the first, and will be in the Church.” IOW, there isn’t a valid moral reason Grandma would oppose the wedding.

I think I’d send the invitation with a note, and follow up with a personal phone call if you do not hear from her soon after she should have gotten it. Asking the Holy Spirit to help you with the words is a very good idea. Do your best to be faithful, but after that leave the results up to God, too.

There is an aspect of “you can’t teach a pig to sing; you just frustrate yourself and annoy the pig” to consider, too. I wouldn’t “worry” that your grandmother will act like herself at your wedding. I would expect that to some degree she will act like herself, and that family weddings have endured relatives acting like themselves for thousands of years. That might include that she will elect not to come. It would not be worse than if she weren’t there because you hadn’t invited her. That might be one more thing on her eternal “and you also did such and so” list.

I’d either invite her and take the consequences of her choosing to be whoever she chooses to be that day, since those consequences are unlikely to be fatal, unless I really had no intention of resuming contact. In that case, I’d not invite her, I’d not apologize for it, and I’d not look back. Which one? That’s up to you.

closed #5

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