My best friend from childhood, T, is getting married for the first time (we are in our 40s). He made the announcement via a large group email, and he is having a small ceremony in her home state with a few close friends and family in two months. I haven’t heard anything, so I’m assuming that the ceremony doesn’t include me. That’s fine (truly), although I do worry she is isolating him. But the rub is that he invited everyone to attend a pre-wedding gathering in Vegas, nothing fancy or formal, just a gathering of anyone who wants to attend.
This was difficult for several reasons: I have chronic fatigue that I am managing reasonably well but trips can be difficult, money is tight (the kids are approaching college, and my medical bills walloped our pocketbook), I dislike Vegas, and it isn’t an official gathering/ceremony. On the other hand, he was my best friend throughout childhood and I care for him. But then again, I wasn’t invited to the actual weddding, and a few years ago he had the opportunity to give substantial business to my wife but chose to take that business elsewhere, something I have forgiven but not forgotten (a very strong pet peeve are those people who don’t give business to friends – if you can’t rely on friends, who can you rely on in life?). So, what to do?
I’ve decided not to go. Instead, I will send him a note, thoughtful gift, and attend any local ceremonies he has. And, as always, if he needs support (e.g. if he calls me to talk), I will be there. If it weren’t for my health, and for the consequential tight finances, I’d find a way to go.
For middle-class Americans in the age of credit cards, there is a belief that you can find a way to make the money work. But that is not always true. When my great uncle died in the 1960s, my very sweet grandma’s family didn’t have the money to bury him so he was buried in a communal (John Doe) plot, something that was devestating for her, but this was a family that couldn’t afford clothing every year, let alone buy a cemetary plot. Sometimes, will has nothing to do with it and finances do get in the way.