A mum grieving the death of her daughter who passed away a month before her wedding has told how a request from her stepdaughter, who was also set to marry soon, left her feeling 'uneasy' and upset.
Her stepdaughter (let's call her 'Z') asked if she could wear the wedding dress her late daughter ('L') was supposed to have worn at her own nuptials before her 'sudden' death at 26 from sepsis.
The 49-year-old woman took to online community Reddit for advice on her predicament, explaining that she and Z's father had only been married for five months and had opted for a 'small, private' ceremony as she was still grieving L.
"I (f49) met my stepdaughter Z 2.5 years ago. I married her father less than 5 months ago.
"It was a small and private celebration since that's what we felt was the best thing to do since I'm still grieving my daughter L who passed away from sepsis at the age of 26. It was so sudden."
The woman wrote that L was 'doing okay' in the leadup to her wedding and that she still doesn't know 'what went wrong' to cause her to pass away so quickly.
L's death left her 'devastated' and, while bittersweet, she was able to keep some of her late daughter's belongings including her wedding dress.
"We bought it together and she put a lot of her touches on it. Worked hard on it. Although it hurt to look at it I make sure it's safe," she wrote.
'I felt uneasy'
She went on to describe her relationship with her 23-year-old stepdaughter, Z, as 'not very close' but 'very respectful'.
Z was visiting her father and stepmother when she 'suddenly' brought up L's wedding dress while chatting about her upcoming nuptials in April. Z wanted to have a look at the dress and her stepmother let her.
"She then said she'd like to wear it at her wedding. I felt uneasy. I told her I wasn't sure that was a good idea.
"She told me 'it's fine, she'll have to change a few things in it so it can fit her size and style' but this is why I had a hard time accepting.
"I told her I was sorry but I can't let her have it. She offered me money but its sentimental value is what matters to me."
The woman's refusal to allow Z to wear L's gown sparked a huge row and forced a rift through the family.
"[Z] argued saying I was making things complicated and it was alright since she too is my daughter.
"She asked if I don't love her as much [and] I told her my love for her is different but she threw a fit calling me unfair and unreasonable to still say no."
Z's father became involved in the clash and sided with his daughter at which point the woman put an end to the discussion — or so she thought.
"I declined to discuss it anymore but they kept bringing it up, asking if my daughter would've wanted someone else to have the opportunity to wear this dress since she unfortunately couldn't.
"This made me so mad I lashed out at both of them and kept saying no. Others said that I had no right to act like that, leaving the dress in the closet when my stepdaughter can make good memories with it."
In a follow-up comment, the woman explained that her main reason for refusing to provide the dress was because of Z's plans to alter it.
"I don't want my daughter's special touches to be taken away since her wedding dress was the most valuable thing she had. And worked hard on. I can't stand seeing my stepdaughter changing its identity."
In the comments section, vocal Reddit users overwhelmingly declared that the woman was in the right with her decision to say no to Z's demand.
"The fact that both your step-daughter AND your husband are continually guilting you after you have FIRMLY said no is not just disrespectful, it’s preying on your grief," one Redditor responded.
"I’m disgusted that any person who claims to love you would presume to tell you what your recently deceased daughter would want, all so a girl can avoid having to look for another wedding dress. And the audacity to tell you that YOU are making things complicated! I’m infuriated for you," they added.
The woman replied, saying that the Reddit user was 'right' and that she couldn't take any more 'guilt-tripping' from Z and her husband.
"My husband said he thinks that Z's just trying to get close to me and bond. [He] claims I'm not opening up to her. But the dress shouldn't be involved in my relationship with Z. I don't know why he refuses to see how unreasonable they are being. It's exhausting and I can't take any more guilt-tripping," she wrote.
Another Reddit user had this piece of advice:
"You need to move that dress somewhere safe because they will take it or destroy it if you keep refusing," they suggested.
A third user pointed out her decision to give the dress to her stepdaughter was not indicative of her love for her, and that the stepdaughter should really buy her own dress and 'make her own memories'.
"This is not about loving your step-daughter. The fact that she is making it all about her is very telling. This dress is a tangible reminder of your beloved daughter that you lost. [...] My heart breaks for you OP. Please never let anyone take this away from you. Sending you hugs.
"Z sounds pretty entitled and selfish. Even if it was your own dress or belonged to your mother etc and you told her that she can’t have it, that should have been the end of it. She can go find her own dress and make her own memories with that."
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