Next month my youngest cousin is getting married. I haven't planned to attend, but now I feel a bit badly about that. Although, I do believe there will be lots of extended family members in attendance.
But there is one family member who will not be attending - the father of the groom.
When I first heard this piece of news, my reaction was, "what?!! you're kidding me right?"
It is my mother who was sharing this bit of information as she IS my branch connecting to the grapevine.
Mom: Did I tell you that Marilyn's Jim (her 2nd husband) had a stroke and is in the hospital?
Me: No, you hadn't. But Granddad called last week and mentioned it.
Mom: Did I tell you then that Marilyn's Mike (1st husband) isn't coming to the wedding?
Me: What? No, you hadn't told me.
Mom: Well, apparently he told Shaun that he won't be coming because he has a hernia, and if he flew, he'd have to be rushed to the hospital as soon as the plane landed.
Me: What?! He's going to let a hernia keep him from going to the wedding?
Mom: Yes, and also Tracie (Shaun's older sister who is a doctor, actually a pathologist) backed him up and agreed that it was dangerous to fly.
Me: But, come on, couldn't he just get in a car and drive from Colorado Springs (to OKC). It's not like he's on the other side of the globe.
Mom: Well, actually, he lives in Australia now.
Me: What? When did he....?
Mom: The new woman in his life wanted to move to Australia, so they moved to Australia.
Me: Oh...so I guess he is on the other side of the world then and can't just hop in a car.
Here's where I begin to remember that indeed uncle Mike had sold the home in Colorado Springs sometime after the divorce (a terribly messy and ugly divorce which took five years and several court dates to conclude) and had moved to Edmond, a suburb of Greater Oklahoma City. That's where he met his new wife which started all the crazy Catholic stuff.
She my aunt was not Catholic before she married her first husband. In order to have a church wedding with a priest, she completed and agreed to whatever the standard things are for such arrangements. Not being Catholic myself, I am hesitant to try to explain in details with which I do not have firsthand knowledge.
When my uncle was ready to marry again, he and his bride wanted a Catholic wedding. But that wasn't possible UNLESS my aunt agreed to annul their already divorced marriage. That's not something she was willing to do after 20-something years of marriage, 5 or so years of divorce proceedings, and 2 children. Most of the time when it comes to family news, I just shake my head and wonder how it is that I'm related to these folks. But for this matter, I saw my aunt's point. No annulment.
So anyways, back to the current situation. I guess I vaguely remember hearing news that uncle Mike had moved to Australia, but I had forgotten.
Me: Mike's not going to attend his own son's wedding? You're kidding me, right? This isn't leading up to a joke or something?
Mom: No, he's really not going to attend. He said that he couldn't afford, or didn't want to spend the money, getting the hernia fixed. And that flying would be too dangerous.
Me: I can't believe he isn't going to be at Shaun's wedding. If his hernia is so dangerous, then he should have had it repaired already. I mean...people have hernias repaired all the time. It's not really that big of a deal anymore. Heck, even little Kaitlin (a friend's 19-month old adopted daughter from China) had hernia surgery earlier this year. AND...she flew all the way from China with that same hernia last summer.
Mom: Yeah....I think he's just using it as an excuse not to attend the wedding. I told Marilyn that, of all the people in the family, you could probably understand and relate to what Shaun's feeling right now.
Me: Yep, that's probably true.
Mom: I told Marilyn that if Shaun wanted somebody to talk to who could probably understand that you'd be a good one for him to call. Or maybe, you could call him. I'm sure that he would appreciate it.
Me: Yeah, I could do that. That just sucks and makes me mad. I can't believe that Shaun's father isn't going to be at his wedding.
Now to clarify things a bit. My cousin Shaun is unique...well I guess really everybody is unique, but Shaun has overcoming many struggles one of which is that he is autistic. Or I guess nowadays he would be classified as being somewhere on the Austism Spectrum. As such, Shaun loves numbers. He is obsessed with numbers, so much so that he picked his wedding date over two years ago for it's numerical qualities.
June 7, 2008. He has had this planned for quite some time now. He graduates from college next weekend and gets married four weeks later. It certainly isn't like the groom's father didn't have plenty of time to prepare to travel. I would have even expected him to travel for graduation and stay through the wedding. But maybe I expect too much (on my cousin's behalf).
Certainly, if I were the groom's father, I would have arranged to have surgery earlier this year so that enough time to heal and recuperate would have passed. And I would be getting on a plane to be at my only son's college graduation and wedding.
Isn't that what grown men are supposed to do? Be there and support one another?
I feel sad for my younger cousin and angry at his father. Shame on him.
Mike, you've still got a month. Get your herniaed guts in gear and get your @#$% butt on a plane to be there for your son. Do it...now!!!