DEAR ABBY: My father passed away five years ago. In May, my parents would have been married for 50 years.
My problem is that my mother wants to have a 50th wedding anniversary party in a hall and intends to invite 200 people to the event. She wants to have a head table with her surviving bridesmaids, best man and groomsmen, and she will even have a place setting for my father with his picture on the table, as if he were still here!
Mom has also requested a family photo with all six of us kids and our spouses and children -- which totals 26 people. She wants to be seated on a chair with a large photo of my deceased father beside her, and all of us gathered around her.
I absolutely refuse to participate in any of this, as do my brothers and sisters. We have expressed our feelings to her, but she says she doesn't care and will throw the party herself.
Her friends have phoned me and asked me to talk her out of this, as they also do not want her to make a fool of herself. They expressed that it would be impossible to act as if it were a happy event without my father present.
Abby, Dad died from cancer. It was a slow, hard death. However, my mother will not let his memory rest in peace. Should we let her have her party and grin and bear it, or should we try to convince her how deeply it bothers all of us? -- CONFUSED IN ALBERTA, CANADA
DEAR CONFUSED: What a sad situation. Take one last stab at trying to convince your mother that a small family gathering would be more appropriate than a large celebration. If she refuses to budge, she is either in a stage of dementia, or she hasn't properly dealt with the death of your father. She should be evaluated medically and psychologically at the time of her annual physical exam, if not sooner.