L.E. asks from Chicago, IL on August 21, 2010
What Should Our Family Do?
I have a family member who is getting married soon. I lost my dear mother earlier this year and she lived with my brother and took care of him. My brother has psych issues. My mom would always tell us, "the day that I am gone, please don't abandon your brother and include him in family functions." The problem is is that he can't be around liquor and afraid that if we don't watch him at the wedding and he gets a hold of a drink that he'll get out of control. I know we can tell the bartender to make sure he is not served liquor, but he also is known to go around and ask strangers to go and get him a drink. He also can get upset easily and yell if you tell him something. I certainly don't want my family member who is getting married to go through any kind of embarrassment at the reception. What should we do? Should we take him to the wedding or not?
A.S. answers from Chicago on August 23, 2010
I suggest you do. I also suggest that you get him a friend to babysit him and keep him occupied by distracting him in different ways ( i.e. walks, a movie in a different room, etc).
L.B. answers from Chicago on August 22, 2010
My brother is schizophrenic also. Please note that this condition is not the same as dealing with someone who is mentally handicapped. Your brother WILL want alcohol and will resort to drinking any way he can. He will also resent being told he can't have any and having someone shadow him around. This is a joyful day and if the bride/groom said he was not welcome, I'm sure your mom would have understood as well. I'm in the same boat. My mom passed away leaving my brother in my hands. I understand EXACTLY how you feel. If I had to make the same choice seeing how my brother is about alcohol, he would not be allowed to attend and I would not feel guilty. This is not a holiday gathering where family knows the situation and will not react. This is an extremely important social gathering where people from the B/G's job may attend as well as other non related friends who may take any "odd" happenings and reflect negatively on the event. Whatever you decide, don't feel guilty. This is a heavy load to carry and guilt about trying to do the best thing for all only adds to it unneccesarily.
3 moms found this helpful
C.O. answers from Sacramento on August 21, 2010
Why don't you talk to the family member getting married. Let them know that you would love to come, but you have these concerns. See what they have to say about it and make your decision based on their conversation and reaction.
2 moms found this helpful
N.P. answers from Chicago on August 22, 2010
My mother was schizophrenic, so we were very used to dealing with issues like you are facing. It puts such a strain on things, but it is part of the family, part of life. What I would do is invite him to both reception and ceremony. BUT set up a buddy system. No one will want to be required to watch him the whole time, and he'll resent it too, so instead set blocks of times for various family members to be his buddy. They can make it seem casual and natural. Say your problem relative is J. Billy has the ceremony shift for J. So when Billy gets there he sees J and says, hey, let's sit together. Suzy has the after ceremony before reception shift. So after the ceremony she finds herself over to J and starts up a conversation. Billy is now relieved of duty and goes off to socialize while Suzy stays with J in a casual way. everyone heads to reception, suzy is done with her shift. Now it's Dave's turn. He has the predinner portion of the reception. He finds J and strikes up a conversation. Then spends the pre dinner portion with him. You sit J by a different person for dinner and that is the dinner buddy person. Then you have another person be the after dinner till toasting/cake cutting or whatever.
So basically you are shadowing him but in a way that actually makes him feel loved and like he's the star.
1 mom found this helpful
S.H. answers from Chicago on August 22, 2010
I agree with other posts - talk to bride and groom, see about hiring a professional to attend with him, or just take him to the ceremony and not the reception. I would add this: if you are including your brother in most family functions, but not every single one, you are fulfilling your mom's wish. All family members are not always able to attend all functions for a variety of reasons (work, new baby, ill family member). Don't beat yourself up if you cannot take your brother to every function. Good luck and feel good about all that you are doing for your brother.
1 mom found this helpful
A.H. answers from Chicago on August 22, 2010
I am in the "wedding only, but not reception" group. He will know he is not invited to the reception. If he asks why- tell him honestly. You are afraid he will drink. To be truthful, there is no RULE stating you have to serve alcohol all night long. That could be a cost-saving issue as well. It is up to you but please do not include him if it could hurt the bride and groom. This is their day. You could always hire someone to watch him all night. Sounds crass but it could work. God bless your family.
V.M. answers from Erie on August 21, 2010
wow, hmmm, my vote really is no. we sort of went through somethign similar but the uncle with the psych problems ended up getting admitted to the mental ward the day before so we sort of avoided a problem.
Unless you know there will be no alcohol. then it sounds like it would be sooo super easy for him to get some, or even walk up to a table and finish someone else drink. and it's not like you are going to whisper in his ear and ask him politely to stop, He's going to make a scene. If you had someone who was good at influencing to keep an eye on him the whole time maybe, but man that doesn't sound like fun.
Could you compromise, take him to the church for the actual ceremony, but then leave him with someone else for the reception or just not go yourself?? I just feel really really bad for this bride and groom, its their special day!!
Good luck with what ever you decide.
C.F. answers from Chicago on August 22, 2010
I think you answered your own question when you said you don't want him to upset the wedding. Maybe that is not the best family function to include him. You are not abandoning him, you are just choosing situations that he and other will be able to enjoy.
D.B. answers from Chicago on August 23, 2010
It sounds from your description that you do not trust him enough to behave properly on his own. I know that it must be tearing you up to have to make such a tough decision. It sounds like he cannot make good choices on his own. I have to agree with the others that said the reception is not the best place for him. Not only is it not fair to the bride & groom, it's not fair to you or anyone else that would have to "watch" him. I understand that your mom wants him included in family functions but a wedding is not the place for someone who cannot behave ( adults & children included). Maybe he can go to the ceremony? I guess the big question that wasn't answered is who is he living with now that your mom has passed? He sounds like a lot to take on and you should not feel bad about wanting to enjoy this wedding without worry for others or yourself. Do the best you can to include him in barbeques, holiday parties and such, when it comes to more formal events do not feel bad about not including him. If he understands that he is being left out because he cannot control himself maybe he will start to change his behavior. On the other hand if he doesn't even know that his behavior is bad and effects others, then he probably won't understand that he is missing the wedding. Good luck to all of you!