Ask Amy: Mother emigrates, leaving questions behind

June 11, 2014 

Dear Amy: My mother left us a year ago and returned to our home country. She told us that she was going back (after 27 years) because she couldn't afford living expenses here. She left my father, my brother, me and her grandchildren and went home.

After a month or so, we realized she had moved in with another man and was living "a new chapter in her life," as she later put it.

She is trying to stay connected with my brother and me, but my brother refuses to speak to her.

I know I should be mature about this by accepting the situation, but I am on two sides, torn between maintaining contact with my mother and having a relationship with my brother.

— Abandoned

Dear Abandoned: Your brother has the right to make his own choices regarding his relationship with your mother. You should do what you want in terms of connecting with her. You should accept his choice, and he yours. If he can't handle your decision, then you should not discuss it with him.

Dear Amy: One of my cousins is getting married and has decided to only invite select members of our family.

I have always considered our family close. We have all spent most holidays together for the last 20-plus years.

Our family is also small. The groom has two siblings and four cousins and has decided to leave my brother off the guest list.

My parents and I are hurt by his exclusions. When we asked the reasoning for the exclusions, we were told that he and his fiancée have decided to only invite people who have played an "important role" in their life.

Because of the exclusions, my parents are choosing not to attend.

I struggle with whether I should go to his wedding when I disagree with his decisions about the guest list. What should I do?

— Uncertain

Dear Uncertain: Weddings are planned by a couple to celebrate their future together, but they are also family events. When one family member is excluded for no logical reason, it puts every other family member in a tough spot. If I were in your parents' place, I would make the same choice they are making.

I can't make your choice for you, but perhaps the "important role" you will play in this couple's life is through the tough lesson that one consequence of excluding your brother is that you will also stay home. Their standard of only inviting people who are important to them reveals something sad about their family values.


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