Dear Annie: I have several cousins who are celebrating weddings and baby showers this summer. Several of my aunts will not attend any of these events if they are not held in a Catholic church. They say it is against their “rules.” One aunt sent a reply saying she would not attend the outdoor wedding because it was not being held in a church. Another aunt replied to a wedding shower invitation that she would not attend it at a Lutheran church hall because it was not her religion.
I find these replies to be quite rude and judgmental. Should something be said? Should we ignore it? Should future invitations not be sent? — Wisconsin
Dear Wisconsin: Catholic weddings are supposed to take place in a church, officiated by a priest. If your aunt will not attend any wedding that is not sanctioned by the church (generally meaning an interfaith marriage), please respect that. And while that is not a problem with wedding showers, there are those who will not enter the place of worship of a different religion. That, too, is their choice. These religious restrictions don’t leave a great deal of room for compromise.
The aunts were rude in explaining (which apparently felt like lecturing) the reasons they would not attend. Simply saying, “Sorry I cannot be there,” would have been simpler and kinder. But your choice is to invite those with whom you wish to celebrate, and theirs is whether or not to come. Please say nothing more about it.
Dear Annie: I am writing to let you know one of your columns has saved at least one life.
My friend told me she read a letter from “L.,” who is a cancer survivor. The writer discussed the importance of having a colonoscopy and listed all the symptoms of colon cancer. When she finished reading it, my friend told her son, “I have cancer,” and it turned out, she did.
The doctor found Stage II colon cancer, for which she is now being treated, and the doctors think she will make a full recovery. I think that letter should run every week. — Anonymous
Dear Anonymous: While we cannot repeat the same letter every week, we think it is a public service to reprint the symptoms of colon cancer. If you notice any of the following, please see your doctor immediately and schedule a colonoscopy:
1. Blood in the stool or rectal bleeding when you have a bowel movement.
2. Stomach aches, pains and cramps that continue with no apparent cause.
3. Difficulty eating or swallowing.
4. Losing weight without cause.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Overwhelmed in Smalltown, USA,” whose transgendered sister is invited to the brother’s wedding, and the family won’t attend.
Seven years ago, my son moved out of state for a job. Two years later, he emailed that he had made the decision to transgender to a female. I was absolutely devastated. But after a few months, I realized that I had to accept my “daughter” if I wanted to have a relationship with her. The first time I visited, my knees were shaking, and my heart was pounding. She was respectful of my feelings and dressed in her male clothing so as not to shock me. She wanted us to meet her transgendered friends, and even though I was scared, they turned out to be the nicest people.
Due to other medical issues, my sweet, beautiful daughter recently died. Her friends drove 800 miles to support me. My only memories of her female self are in the stories her friends tell. I miss my sweet angel every moment of every day. — Grieving Mom of a Beautiful Daughter
Dear Mom: Our condolences on your terrible loss. Thank you for expressing what is most important: This is still your child.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.