DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: Next month will be the first anniversary of my grandfather’s death. Because of COVID, there was no proper funeral at the time.
Now that things are changing, my step-grandmother wants to hold a big party in his honor, but my grandmother, who was my grandfather’s first wife, doesn’t want any part of it, even though she’s already been told she’ll be invited. Everyone knows Grandpa left Grandma for my step-grandmother, so a lot of my family members are already saying they won’t go to anything my step-grandmother plans.
For those of us on the fence, the situation is causing problems throughout the family, especially since my grandpa and his second wife were only married for about ten years, but he and my grandma were together for over 30, so most of the people who would be at the proposed party are most likely going to be from the time of the second marriage.
I think we should do something to honor my grandfather’s memory that doesn’t involve everyone being stuck together somewhere, trying to pretend we all want to socialize with a woman many don’t like, and her friends we don’t know.
My sister and I thought a separate event with just those from our family and some of my grandfather’s old friends would be a good idea.
What would you think? --- WANT TO KEEP THE PEACE
DEAR WANT TO KEEP THE PEACE: Separate memorials may not be a bad idea, if it’s a way to keep the peace and honor the memory of a man who had two different social circles. It doesn’t seem likely that anything positive would be accomplished by forcing people from different camps to be thrown together, even for a few hours.
Since you already know what your step-grandmother is proposing, before making alternate plans, I strongly suggest you talk to your grandma to see what, if anything, she has in mind. She may prefer to find her own, more private way to deal with your grandfather’s memory, which might not involve any kind of public event. If that’s the case, then it falls to other close survivors, like your sister and yourself, to decide how you want to celebrate your grandfather’s life.