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My daughter is getting married in 4 months. My MIL lives 7 hours away and is dealing with increasing dementia. She cries on the phone about "why won't ( my son) come and get me and bring me to the wedding?" He has 2 brothers, the oldest cut everyone out of his life 4 years ago and the youngest is living in the Land of Denial. My husband will not tell her that it's just not possible. If it were only an issue of transporting her we could work it out, but she's going to need someone with her 24/7. I'm tempted to keep changing the "date" of the wedding because I know it's just a matter of time before she forgets the grandchildren entirely. I realize that seems incredibly cruel, but I don't know what to do if my husband can't bring himself to tell her it's just not possible to get her here. And I refuse to host this wedding by myself. We should be enjoying this time and I'm just a bitchy wreck right now. Anyone else dealt with this situation or something like it?

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Thanks for the update, it was thoughtful of you. Good luck with everything!
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Just an update on the situation. My dh went to see his mom last week. As usual, doing lots of tasks (closing of her home, trying to get tax info she's "misplaced", taking her to the doctor. Over the 4 days she: Asked if our daughter was getting married in March, asked if our daughter had a boyfriend, then asked if her oldest granddaughter was getting married. My daughter decided she really doesn't want her to come (I think because she understands how much stress and work it would create for us) and will go visit Grandma with her new husband next summer. I realize that aging throws us curveballs. Sometimes we can catch them and sometimes we just have to duck.
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Thanks for all the comments and suggestions. Sometimes it's just comforting to know that you aren't alone with your situations and thoughts.
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My son recently got engaged, and I've had the same concern. My 89 yr. old mother lives w/ me. She has some dementia, mainly time and place orientation; except for short term memory, she is fairly cognizant. She is the only living grandparent, and he is her only grandson, so it would be nice to have her attend, if she can. My own grandfather did not attend my wedding, mainly because my mother, who was his caretaker, wanted to be able to enjoy herself. My husband and I opened our wedding presents and brought our wedding pics to show him, once we got back from our honeymoon. That seemed to be enough for him, since he was aware of his own limitations at the time. I have mixed feelings about my mom attending because she has typical age related problems w/ ambulation, macular degeneration. She tires easily, needs bathroom and meal assistance, etc. They have not yet set a date or chosen a venue, so I don't know what her condition will be like at that time. My thinking is that if the wedding is within an hour travel distance, I will rent a hotel room and hire one of her caretakers (or two) to care for her so that she can participate as much or little as she is able. It will be expensive, but worth it to me. I often feel torn between the generations. I spend every Christmas and Thanksgiving with her, often by ourselves, depending upon circumstances. I do know that I do not want to have to worry about her care that day, or even that week; I want to give my undivided attention to my son and daughter-in-law.
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My sister took on the role of watching over our mom's needs for both my daughter's wedding events and my MIL's memorial service day. Everything from transportation to wheeling her to the restroom. Because I knew she'd handle anything that came up, I was able to focus on making one day special and watch over my family on the other. The key is that you have to be able to trust that that person will take care of absolutely everything, including leaving early, without bothering you with it. If you don't have someone you can trust implicitly, it can be a train wreck in the making.

Sometimes things just aren't possible. My daughter moved her wedding up several months, when her gma's health was declining. It all looked good then the week of, my MIL was ill and neither she or Dad made any events. While disappointed, they were treated to full slide show of the wedding.

Also, I can't imagine how exhausting 14 hours in the car, round trip, would be to this lady. It makes me tired just thinking about it. I don't know how your MIL is, but my dad would've be agitated and anxious with all the changes, large crowds and noise, even in his early stages of dementia.
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Have the family split costs of hiring a paid caregiver to be with your mother 24/7 at this wedding from start to finish- it is a shared problem and should not be dumped on 1 person only to bear the brunt - that would be very unfair indeed.
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I answered earlier, and have been thinking about this all day as well. I want to add -- do what is best for you and your husband. She can whine and cry and whatever all she wants, but the bottom line is she chose to stay living 7 hours away from the only family that helps her out. Yet, it is expected your husband and you are to pay the price for that? Heck, it sounds like if she lived 7 miles away she would be doing the same thing. A blessing in disguise perhaps?

Anyway, at some point in time we have to stand firm on what we will and will not do. I have to tell you others tried to shame me or guilt me into having my mother at my sons's wedding 5 months ago (the one where his brother fainted at). By that point I was so sick of people trying to shame me or guilt me into doing something I didn't want to do....I just said "no, she will not be there; it is not good for anyone; I have made my decision; and I don't want to talk about it anymore". Yes, we all would have liked to have her there, the groom especially. However, the reality of life is that she couldn't. And now all I hear is "good thing Mom wasn't there--it was the right decision.".

Some of these suggestions were great. Tell her it isn't possible & offer her some of the technology suggestions. Without a doubt, she will pout, etc. Too bad. At least you won't see the pout on your daughter's special day. Trust me, your MIL will make the day about her and ruin it for everyone. After all, isn't she doing it already?

Sorry if I sound insensitive and rough, but it isn't always about them. Again, this is your daughter's day. There will be enough stress on that day as it is, please don't add to it. Enjoy & cry your eyes out because your little girl is getting married.
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tetonluvr1: THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! I have been feeling quite guilty about the situation. And, what the heck is wrong with people?. A 7 hr. drive to-and-from is 4 days off of work. I work every other Saturday and often don't have have 2 days off in a row. And folks, not everyone has family around to assist. My husband and I have a very small number of relatives. Period. He has no cousins invited to the wedding because my daughter has never met them. And his 1 living Uncle is in worse shape than his mother.Even if his brother could bring her I know he would balk at the reality that he would have to be with her 24/7. Trust me, we have always managed on our own because there haven't been family members around to help. We have wonderful friends but there is no way I would ask them to take on the task of taking care of my mother-in-law.
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I just went through this in September, I was married for the first time at the age of 53, Hope to make you laugh because we all need a laugh but we had to figure how to get Me, Mom, My husband, his special needs son, nephew, Mom's caregiver and our animals from Texas to VA. Of course we wanted them all there. We actually leased a motor home!!!!! We chose to get married on the family farm in VA, its actually where my Mothers house is and been in the family for 100 years. Mom has lived with us for 2 years now. What a trip, you would be amazed at how people will help out, my cousins, sister and friends were thrilled to see Mom so she never had a moment alone. Yes its a tremendous amount of stress but such a special day, My mother walked me down the isle and when the preacher ask who give this women, I had to actually bend over and tell Mom what to say, but she still remember and talks about it, this was a very special day for all of us and I hope you can find someone to help so your grandma can be with all of you. Believe me, I'm sure your family members and friends will all rally around to help your grandma and your daughter will not have any worries. Good luck.
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I am a Social Worker at an Adult Day Health and am constantly amazed at how families try to "reason" with someone with dementia. You may be able to do that, to some extent, during the early stages of the disease. You will not be able to reason past a certain point. It makes me sad to see so much shaming in these comments. The relationships and how they are conducted are not ours to decide. The MIL was given a chance to move to be nearer to her children, but she chose not to, for whatever reason. My sisters and I also gave that choice to our father, who lives 3 hours away from us. We understand his reason not to move, but we have decided that we cannot caregive from a distance and will not be coerced into doing so. We have arranged many services from a distance, but there will be that time when he cannot live safely in his home alone. None of us can constantly travel to his home to "oversee" his care and he cannot drive himself to family events; therefore, he may miss some family gatherings. We care about him and try to include him whenever possible, but we will not do headstands to appease him because he's very demanding and will not pay for a person to come in and help him. It was his choice not to move closer (he does not have dementia.) In this situation, worrying about the MIL is clearly causing the DIL anxiety. Please tell the MIL that she lives too far to attend the wedding and offer to send pictures as soon as you can get them. Period. Don't let this blow up into "shoulds" and further create family disturbances. You are planning your daughter's wedding and attempting to create maximum happiness! Don't let people "guilt" you about your MIL! Reassure her that you love her, but don't listen to her attempts to shame you for not "caring." Simply tell her you can't be on the phone any more and softly hang up. To txcamper: to infer that there is no relationship between the dtr. and grandmother because the dtr. hasn't been to see the grandmother in 3 years is wrong. Many people have good relationships from a distance.
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Is that the truth? I wonder how myself and my 2 siblings turned out SO different. My mother was a control freak and I am, too, to a certain extent. How I learned from her. I have really tried to "let go" with my own kids but it is so difficult. Our kids need to make their own decisions, good or bad, and learn from them. I guess the "control freak" in me is the only thing that is my Mom's saving grace, because my brother and sister (my sister is thoughtless, too) won't step up and do anything for her.

My parents never would let my brother (oldest child) make his own decisions, so now he does only what my mother tell him to do (he lives with her still at age 64). So if my mother wants to do something questionable (like go outside in minus 10 degree weather to go to the store for something insignificant), he listens to her and drags her out in the nasty weather so potentially the poor physically-challenged woman (she can hardly walk) can slip on the ice/snow. I mean, REALLY??? Even though he is passive-aggressive, he will be devastated when she passes. He won't know what to do. He doesn't even do is own laundry for God's sake. She refuses to "let him" because he "can't do it right" in her eyes. Yeesh.

WE will be the generation that are technically savvy (texting), however, I'm finding the "coldness" of texting my children loses it luster after a while. I, too, long for face to face time or actually hearing their voices. This is their world now --- Facebook, Instagram, etc. where they "think" they're connected with their friends but are you really "connecting" so to speak? Sigh....
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When I remarried 10 years ago, I was the Director of Social Services in the nursing home where my MIL lived. Although she had severe dementia, was incontinent, was in a wheelchair, and spoke out loud nonsensically, I hired a certified nursing assistant, and transportation to have her at the church. My husband was thrilled that his Mother was present (although she no longer remembered who he was). She passed a few years back, and we happily look at our pics and see her smiling face. In reality, my wedding was very private with only our immediate family present, it was less than half an hour away from the NH, plus, it was quite easy for me to make the arrangements. Additionally, my husband had no expectations of having his Mother present, and it was my pleasure. Given the extent of her condition, if she had been living 7 hours away, it would not have been possible, and there would not have been guilt on no one's part. I'm sorry, but you and your husband need to make this decision, and he needs to step up and let her know what you both decide. If he wants her there, hire an Aide to come out with her, if you do not want to or cannot hire help, then tell her what the situation is, and she will have to deal with it. Good luck!
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I think my husband is afraid to approach his brother. He feels they at least talk occasionally and he doesn't want that to end. I haven't talked to him in over 5 years, which is probably for the best because I would certainly rip him apart.I've often wondered how 3 men with such different values came from the same set of parents. I think older brother is wackadoodle and the younger one (who lives the closest) is a thoughtless snob. He has already asked for his inheritance twice! I admit my children aren't good about contacting their surviving grandparents and I do nag at times. Now if grandparents knew how to text they would be in constant communication! My MIL does have surviving friends who have been quite good to her but they also have families of their own. When my husband is there next week, I'll have him talk to someone where she lives about the possibility of hiring someone to bring her up.
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Oh, how I feel for you, ErniesMum. Wow, 120 out-of-towners to "entertain"? Yikes! The fact of the matter is that the only people you need to worry about "entertaining" is the bridal party. As parents of the bride, you have enough on your plate. 120 potential out-of-towners are certainly capable of entertaining themselves in your city. Unless they have lived in a cave the past 25 years, the majority of these out-of-towners can access the Internet well before the event and find something to do in your city by themselves. When I attend a destination wedding, I do not expect the parents of the bride or groom to entertain me. That's what the wedding reception is for.

That said, the issue with your husband and his 2 brothers is, unfortunately, quite typical in today's era. There is generally always ONE SIBLING (your husband in your case) who will ultimately be responsible for a parent's caregiving. I am the youngest of 3 surviving children (my oldest sister passed away at age 19 -- 43 years ago -- and I'm sure she would have been very involved in the day-to-day care of my Mom) and it is ONLY ME that has stepped up and taken the role of caregiver. My older brother and sister have various "issues" (in their own minds) that preclude them from pitching in and helping me. Have I asked? You bet. Have they done anything? Of course not. At this point, all I've asked of my sister is to just CALL our mother or drop in and visit her (she lives closer than I do -- approx 1/4 mile away from our Mom) every now and then, stay a 1/2 hour and visit the poor woman!!! Geez -- it's like pulling teeth!! As you can imagine, the anger and frustration on my part does takes its toll, but every day I try to push the anger and frustration out of my mind and tell myself that I am doing the best I can for my Mom.

You and your husband are 7 hours away. I can imagine the stress and pressure on your husband to take care of Mom long distance especially when his siblings will not step up. I hear you. Apparently, at this point, your MIL's dementia is mild enough because she keeps "mentioning" the upcoming wedding. In HER mind, she obviously feels hurt and left out. Wouldn't you? Imagine yourself as a grandmother living alone (when your granddaughter gets married in another city) and your own children won't come and get you to take you to a milestone event such as your granddaughter's wedding?

As someone else suggested, I would have your husband enlist the "Land of Denial" brother to go get HIS mother and transport her to/from the wedding venue. You say she lives in Senior Independent Living with "all levels of care". Is it possible to hire someone privately for a few days to attend to your MIL's needs while she's attending the wedding venue?

You state, " I realized last March when I went to visit that she was becoming downright nasty at times. I know that's a red flag for Alzheimer's/Dementia but she seemed to successfully hide it from her doctor. Doctor now wants her to move to assisted living but she says she "may as well just die". This 86-year-old woman is not the kind lady I met 30+ years ago, and I truly think she's miserable and profoundly depressed."

It's understandable that she's "miserable and profoundly depressed". She lives alone, 7+ hours away from ANY of her children (although you don't say how far your husband's other 2 brother's live away from your MIL), no family visits her, her health (physical and mental) is failing, she's 86, her husband's gone, her friends are probably gone (either dead or moved away), too. Good Lord, it's no wonder she feels like she "may as well just die". My Mom is 86, frail and lonely for the attention of her other 2 children. I stopped making excuses for my sister not calling or visiting. She doesn't say it, but I know it hurts her feelings that my sister does this. On the other hand, my MIL is going to be 89 in April (my FIL will be 83 in May). My MIL, although not chronically ill, is generally a happy person but has told me she is just "tired of living". I don't know what to tell you. It's got to be immensely difficult to come to the realization that at 86 or 89 years old that your life is coming to an end and even more difficult to feel ignored (or left out) -- even in their own minds. It's a sad situation all the way around.

I find my own children do not call or visit their grandmother as much as I'd like. Are they busy? Of course, who isn't these days? But guess what? Their grandmother doesn't have much more time on this earth. Empathy for the elderly is a dying sense for the young people these days. I ask them to take a few minutes out of your "busy day" and call her. She is thrilled, believe me. They don't "get it".

I sense your husband (and you) is the only sibling to "step up to the plate" to care for your MIL. It surely is stressful and the added stressor of hosting a wedding is, of course, making you a basket case. Take one day at a time and try to organize and plan in advance as much as possible. I don't blame your husband if he feels anger/resentment towards his siblings (normal, normal, normal). Family dysfunction can be universal. You can only try to set a good example for your children to follow. Hopefully, as they mature, they will see how to treat their elderly parents (you) based on how you treated your parents. Good luck and sending positive wishes your way. By the way, congratulations on your daughter's upcoming nuptuals!
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My friend's mom was very ill with cancer and they knew the wedding for her grand daughter would be physically too much for her. They rented a motor home for the day. The bride had her make up done on the motor home and grandma got to be a part of the preparation as much as she could. When it was time for the ceremony they filmed it and she watched from the motor home. She could lay down and rest and they were prepared if she just needed to sleep. This may not work for you, but perhaps you could arrange for someone to be with her during wedding time at her home. She could get prettied up, have a corsage, watch a live taping and have a special wedding cupcake.
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My mother who is 83 is wheelchair bound and when my daughter got married, I simply told her that her daily aide would have to come to the wedding no further discussion was needed. I was determined to enjoy the wedding without the worry of how my mother would get there, get around the wedding etc. It worked out for everyone and the wedding was wonderful.
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My oldest son got married 5 months ago. He was extremely close to both my parents, and has helped out my mom quite a lot since my dad passed in 2006. That said, I made the decision for my 94-yr old mom with dementia to not attend the wedding.

Since the ceremony & reception was held at a place that is about 45 minutes from my mom's house, it would be OK travel wise for Mom to go. And initially she was going to be there, with her aide accompanying her. Well, 2 months before the wedding Mom became increasingly anxious about it. I wouldn't bring it up, but she would obsess about it to me and everyone else.

Finally I realized her being there wouldn't be good for anyone, especially her. So we would just say yes he is getting married "later in the year". Not having any grasp of time was a blessing for once. The Monday after he got married I saw Mom. When she brought it up, I then told her he got married the past weekend and it was her choice not to attend because it would be too much. Technically this wasn't a lie, as during some of the many times she obsessed about it she did say that. That appeased her, as did some pics I brought with me.

Oh, it was for the best she didn't go. It was an outdoor ceremony & was unseasonably warm for the last weekend in September. My youngest son, one of the ushers, fainted during his brother's vows. He, accompanied by my husband, spent most of the time in the ER. Though she does love to hear that part of the story!
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Can you get her in to see a geriatric psychiatrist? Certainly, if this is a continuing care community there is one who sees patients on site. She might become more tractable and easier to deal with if she's on antidepressants for a few weeks.
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I realized after reading my original post, I never explained her living situation. We FINALLY convinced her to move last spring. She currently lives in an independent senior apartment building that is part of a campus that includes all levels of care. We are now facing the task of convincing her to move to assisted living (where she probably should have gone initially) as her dementia increases. I realized last March when I went to visit that she was becoming downright nasty at times. I know that's a red flag for Alzheimer's/Dementia but she seemed to successfully hide it from her doctor. Doctor now wants her to move to assisted living but she says she "may as well just die". This 86-year-old woman is not the kind lady I met 30+ years ago, and I truly think she's miserable and profoundly depressed. Personally, I think a nice glass of wine would do wonders for her!
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The irony of the situation is she has plenty of money, but is afraid of using any of it. She recently lost her hearing aids and didn't want to get new ones. We insisted because she's virtually deaf without them. Now she's lost her glasses but missed her eye appointment because she didn't want to use the money to have someone drive her to and from the appointment. Her physician talked to my husband and said she's forgetting to take her meds so I think the powers-that-be are going to insist she move to assisted living. Yesterday was the first time she hasn't mentioned the wedding, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she will continue down that road. I just want her to have some peace of mind in her remaining years.
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I expect you're right - or at least part confusion, part wishful thinking. I suppose we all would like to have our cake and eat it; it's just that with certain people as time goes on they seem to start regarding that as an actual, realistic prospect…

With my mother, before she was persuaded to move, she wanted to stay in her house, be safe - which meant be capable of galloping up and down three flights of steep stairs - be by herself and not be lonely. Seemed reasonable to her.

If you're right about the dementia, perhaps it would be best to counsel your husband to take the safety catch off his POA and be ready to pounce as soon as she seems to have lost capacity. That, or hope that something not lethal but serious happens so that you have sound grounds for moving her. But everyday caregiving long distance - unless she's got so much money you can hire masses of help for her - must be like trying to knit with boxing gloves on, I don't envy the poor chap.
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My daughter got married last June. My mother, who suffers from dementia, lives in an Assisted Living facility about 10 miles from the wedding/reception site. I hired a caregiver who worked at the facility to help my mother prepare for the wedding (I laid out her clothing, shoes, etc in advance), drive her to the site, and accompany her during the ceremony and reception. I did this mainly so my daughter's only grandparent would be there and appear in the family pictures. We arranged the picture schedule to minimize the time that my mom would be waiting around. When mom arrived at the wedding site and saw my daughter, she said "why that looks like a wedding dress". She obviously didn't understand why she was there. Soon after dinner, she asked to leave, and the caregiver took her home. She does not remember being at the wedding, and does not remember that this daughter is married. I cannot even say with any confidence that she enjoyed being there. If I had it to do again (I don't because both daughters are married), I am not sure that I would include her.

If your MIL has not visited for three years because the drive is too much for her, what makes her think that it would be good for her now? My advice is to use the technology hookup if possible, and also to record the ceremony and maybe add some snippets of family members greeting her. Send her a copy that she can watch over and over, because it will be like a new "movie" for her each time. I cannot think that she would enjoy herself at the wedding after such a long drive, and chances are she would not remember it anyway.
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I'm beginning to realize that many people here A) Have much larger and helpful families and B) Live in closer proximity to their families. As it is, we have the potential for 120 out-of-towners coming to this wedding as the bride and groom don't live here and the groom's family is not from here either. Due to finances, we are also giving the rehearsal dinner. This is my hometown and I only have an Aunt/Uncle and 2 cousins with spouses in-town to invite. So, part of our dilemma is the sense that we will be entertaining LOTS of people completely unfamiliar with our lovely city. Given the choices listed above, I know my daughter will choose B and then feel horrible about it. She's just an extra-sensitive people pleaser who hates the idea of hurting anyone. She did say SHE would call her uncle and ask him to bring Grandma. I hope he'll shock us an agree to it but I'm not holding out much hope. Thanks, everyone for your perspective.
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It is the bride who needs to decide and communicate her decision to granny.
She is adult enough to marry, she is adult enough to manage her familial relationships....it only gets more complex with in laws.
Choice A. Relative x and nursing assistant (if needed) will be picking you up. I have made arrangements for you to stay with relative Y and return the next day.
Choice B. I love you so much, and am sorry we cannot work out the care and travel logistics to have you attend. Hubby and I would like to visit you after the honeymoon. We very much want your blessing......plan a weekend and do it.
Choice C. Bride chooses to forget and ignore granny. Not classy, not nice, but not your fault.
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We're having difficulty determining what is fact and what is delusion in her life right now. Yes, she has an emotional tie to the area. She wanted to die in the house she shared with her husband but was too physically fit for that to occur. Let me add that I worked in a number of SNF's before I had kids. I'm the one who thinks her dementia is far worse than anyone else. But I think it's because I'm looking at her a tad more objectively and I've dealt with it on a professional level in the past. We would absolutely support her staying in her hometown, but then she has to accept that we can't go see her every month. And I think she's too confused to realize that.
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Little old ladies! I resemble that remark. :P
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Not that I'm a fan of uprooting little old ladies only on the grounds of convenience, but with no family remaining where she is and the difficulty of frequent visiting, what ties her to her current location? Just nostalgia, or friends and connections?
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Thanks. I'm thinking the technology route might work best for us. I'll have my husband talk to someone where she's going to be living to see if they could work with us. My son's partner could probably work if from our end.
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ErniesMum, from what you're describing it sounds like a technology hookup might be just what you need. Have someone setup a site with live video feed and people can be at the wedding even if they live miles away. The main problem then would be to have someone come in to help pull up the site if loved ones are techno-challenged.
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Hey Folks, No judgment, please!!!! WE are the only part of the family who has always made the effort to see my in-laws. After my father-in-law died we would either drive and bring her to our house or we would fly her up. There are no longer direct flights, so the drive is only slightly longer than flying. When our children were in college they had the time to go visit her on their own. She loved it. But they both work and don't get much vacation time yet. She will no longer fly as it causes great anxiety for her. The only family that is left is her brother who has Alzheimer's and her other 2 sons. The oldest son cut ties with his family 4 years ago and the youngest son is "too busy". As in my husband has to remind him to CALL his mother more than once a month. As she likes to remind us, she has no family where she lives. They moved constantly when they were growing up so none of her children ended up in the same city has the parents. My husband and I haven't had a vacation in 3 years because all of our time has been spent travelling to her hometown to deal with her issues. I have suggested to my daughter that the two of us try to fit a visit in before the wedding. But first, I have to fly 1500 miles to see my dad and step-mom and assist in that situation. My husband will see her in 2 weeks to be at the closing of her house and to let her know that her doctor wants her to move to assisted living.
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