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How do I cope with my sister's husband moving on!

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My sister passed away almost two years to this date.  She died of cancer she battled for several years.  Her husband was loving and devoted and they had several children together as well as adopting a few others.  I still grieve over the loss of my sister.  Just last night something so funny happened I was dying laughing and it turned to tears realizing I could not share it with her.  I was thinking how she would have laughed so hard she would have peed herself but I have no one to tell this story to and I broke down.

A year after her death her husband started dating and was quickly engaged to another woman.  I know logically that I cannot put a timetable on his grief and I do want him to be happy.  I know my sister and he talked about him finding another mate.  With this mate comes a new mother for her children, they are moving homes, moving school districts, and the kids are going through so many changes.  Two of the children are adults, one is graduating and not happy about the upcoming marriage, another who is 16 is devastated and the other seems to be coping ok.  

The wedding is planned smack dab between my sister's death and her anniversary.  

I have been trying to reassure my nieces and nephews that everything will be ok and I ultimately believe it will be.  It is in God's hands

What I struggle with is I am invited to the wedding and I have to give an answer soon.  I do not want to go but I ask myself what message would I be sending my nieces and nephews if I do not go.  Should I go to support them?  How will I make it through the ceremony without crying?  I am at a loss.  Please give me some advise?

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I have no personal experience with this situation, but having lost my very best friend for whose kids I am an “honorary Aunt”, watching the impact of their dad “moving on” has been heartwrenching. 

It seems you have a sense that if you were to attend the event it would be to support your blood relatives and not to celebrate the new couple, and that seems right to me. You don’t mention the ages of all the kids, but the youngest I saw was 16.  In my experience, 16 or older is old enough to talk honestly with them about your dilemma.  In fact, knowing that you’re struggling with it might help them identify or voice some of the things they are feeling, too.  

If it were me, I would ask to talk with them (one at a time or in groups) and let them know you intend to have the same conversation with each of them. Let them know you understand their dad’s need and right to move on, and reassure them that their mom loves each of them AND their dad and wants EVERYONE happy, insofar as that is possible.   Be honest, though, that it is difficult for you personally to see their dad take vows with someone when you so lovingly remember the day you heard him & their mom marry. Remind them that he is their father, they are blood relatives, but that you never would have known him if your sister hadn’t fallen in love with him. Then be straightforward, and say “I love you so much; for my own sake, I prefer not to go, but I am willing to consider it attending if you feel my presence would help you.”   

By being so explicit, you can get an answer to the pressing question of whether they want you there. You need not worry about what “message” you're sending because you’re explaining outright: you support his decision but the event is painful. 

In the unlikely event one or more of the kids says “it’s painful for me, too”, remind them he is their father & was only ever an in-law to you. Encourage the siblings to talk to one another and honor each other’s viewpoints, and ask them to support each other through what is a harder transition for some than others. Only as a last resort would I consider going myself to support the kid(s) that are struggling. 

Keep reiterating your love, and acknowledge that it IS an unusual situation that is awkward and both painful (in awakening feelings of loss) and hopeful (that new beginnings can happen). If they know they can speak HONESTLY with you it may be all the support they need, allowing you to skip watching the nuptials of the man who was once your brother in law, and is now more “your neices’ & nephews’ father.”


that’s my 2k cents, I wish you all the best! 



Edited by JaneSometimesCries
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Riddhi Taneja

You need to get over from your sister's loss. I know your family will remain incomplete but I think you should go to your sister's husband wedding. He must be in depression from last 1 year. If a girl can make him happy then there's nothing wrong and even your sister want this. As you can't see your partner in depression even when you can't do anything about it. 

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Guest Jackson

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