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When a parent can’t attend the wedding

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Your question:
My son is getting married abroad, with his father who is remarried as am I , as his best man. I cannot attend the wedding but I would like to send them a message about how sorry I am for not being there and how much I love them and wish them the greatest happiness. I am not very good at putting my feelings on paper and I would like some help.

The expert answers:
That’s a wonderful gesture that will touch your son’s heart and more than make up for your inability to attend the wedding. The words you express will mean so much to him, and I applaud you for thinking of this idea.

You mentioned that you’re not very good at expressing your feelings on paper, so I advise you to find the perfect solution in the form of a greeting card to get you started. Spend a good amount of time searching through the many different cards at a stationer or greeting card store. If you’ve only purchased birthday and anniversary cards in the past, you might not know about the enormous range of “special circumstance” cards that are out there.

“Love Across the Miles” is one such category, and I think that would be perfect for you. Check out the Maya Angelou line of cards as well for deep messages of gratitude and spirit; she may have the ideal sentiment. You’ll use this card as the foundation of your message, letting the lovely design and expressive words on the card speak for you. THEN, on the message space within this card, you’ll write your own short message to accent it. Just say what you’ve said in this letter — how much you love them, how sorry you are that you couldn’t attend the wedding, and how much you wish them the greatest happiness. Let them know that you’re looking forward to celebrating with them in person in the future, and you’ll be thinking of them on the wedding day.

I also advise that you insert into this card an extra-special “gift:” As a mother, you can list the top memories you have of your son, the times you were most proud of him, the qualities he has as a man that make you beam. There is no wrapped gift on earth that can compare with a special expression like this — your son will keep this heartfelt note forever. Think of it as your private version of his father’s Best Man toast.

You may not be at the wedding in person, but your words will be there. And sometimes that can add more to his big day than you can imagine.

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