BEL MOONEY: How could my beloved daughter snub me at her wedding?

Dear Bel,

My daughter recently married a wonderful man she met at the time my husband walked out on me after 28 years.

My husband had mental health issues; I was the full-time breadwinner as well as housewife and mum for decades. He left after I lost my job. The following two years were fraught with finding work, continuing to pay all the bills, etc, until our divorce came through. Even then, his demands for money continued.

The past 18 months of my working life have been immersed in the stressful world of the critically ill, especially the trauma of Covid patients battling to live, and supporting co-workers on the edge of burnout.

So I feel I’ve lost some of my mojo. Even a few months before the wedding, I found it hard to get excited.

A fortnight before, my ex-husband was the only guest not to confirm attendance. My daughter wanted him to give her away, but he demanded to bring his girlfriend — who openly dislikes my daughter. He eventually said he’d come alone.

The day was wonderful: small numbers of family on both sides, but a large number of young friends and work colleagues. My ex-husband turned up late the night before and at the wedding ignored me, but stuck to the bridal couple. I mingled, while also spending time with the six members of my family, including my 90-year-old mum, who’d travelled miles.

My small family group felt disappointed that my daughter and son-in-law virtually ignored them during the reception and evening event. I made light of it, saying they were catching up with all their friends. And they did spend a good 15 minutes with us all as a group — with the number of guests present, that was pretty good.

But I felt let down when I saw the wedding pictures. I’m in one with the bride, a family picture (including my ex) and one as part of the entire wedding assembly — with a bridesmaid’s bouquet hiding my face.

My ex-husband is in so many pictures with anybody and everybody. After defending my daughter and her choices, I now feel my family have a point — and it hurts.

As my mum says, she won’t be around in a decade, so apart from one group picture including my ex-husband (whom Mum loathes) and a picture with my daughter taken by a friend, she will remain forever a marginal guest in the wedding pictures.

But there are dozens of pictures of guests who may not be in touch in the future. My daughter has no idea of my feelings. I just feel so desolate.

How can I move on from what is (I know) a relatively minor misery?


This week, Bel advises a reader who doesn’t understand how her daughter could snub her at her wedding

Oh, THESE ‘minor miseries’ (see today’s second letter below) can afflict your whole life.

You wake at 4am with a stab of regret through your heart and questions tormenting your mind.

Your longer letter tells me that you think all the time of how you could have made sure you were in your daughter’s wedding photographs . . . but it’s too late now, and you are just left with these feelings of resentment.

I hate to think of your hurt, but it really must stop. Tired after all you’ve been through, you must start to be easy on yourself and on others, too.

Thought of the day 

If there is such a thing as wisdom…it lies in the acceptance of the human condition and perhaps the knowledge that those who have passed on are still with us, out there in the mist, showing us the way, sometimes uttering a word of caution from the shadows, sometimes visiting us in our sleep.

From Robicheaux by James Lee Burke (U.S. author, b 1936)  

It worries me that you seem to be blaming your daughter. You faintly resent the fact that family members were outnumbered by friends of the bride and groom, but all I can say is — I’m sorry, but the future is theirs, not ours.

Yes, you wish your daughter had paid more attention to her grandmother, but you know quite well that any bride is in a mad whirl on her wedding day and will hardly remember who she spoke to. That’s how it is.

You’re right that many of those other guests will drift away as the years pass. That is also how it is.

Nothing you can do now can change what happened, so all that’s left is to turn your negative thoughts into positives. Yes, it can be done. And it must.

First, I’d be sure to order a beautiful print of the snap of your daughter with her grandmother, as well as the one of you with her, too — and put them both into handsome frames, ready to present to your mother on Christmas day. Carrying out this task will start to make you feel better.

There must be one of the bride and groom together, too — and I’d do the same with that and put it on my sideboard. No other snaps matter, really. In a year’s time they won’t even be looked at, especially if they remain in digital form as so many do nowadays.

Your daughter and son-in-law will be getting on with their life together and your ex will be somewhere else with the girlfriend — and out of your life. In time, the happy couple may start a family (who knows?) and that will be a delight for you.

Honestly, you can carry on nursing your hurt, or let it go because the wedding is over. Those ‘special days’ cause too much stress. What matters is the ordinary every day.  

I just can’t face Christmas this year 

Dear Bel,

I know this is a little premature, but my concerns are mounting. My problem is . . . Christmas.

I love giving presents and around this time (and even earlier last year because of the pandemic) I usually shop online for many gifts. But unfortunately this year I just don’t have the desire to shop. And I don’t understand the reason.

I have a childlike love of the season, believing in miracles, the magic, the love and joy of it all. Yes, I realise I’m a dreamer, but I can’t help it.

I do believe in God and in the birth of Jesus and why we celebrate (the whole point of Christmas) the baby in the manger.

But so often, when the season comes round, everything fails to lift me and I feel just flat.

I never budget on presents and buy what I think that certain person would like. Yet so many times I end up being disappointed by the response.

When I was young, my dear Mum had the sole responsibility of Christmas, because my Dad usually spent the whole day in bed, with Mum waiting on him hand and foot, as well as looking after two children.

It must have been such a stressful time for her, but as a child I wouldn’t have known that.

This year at Christmas I will have reached 72 and very much want to learn how to relax more, not to expect too much and to try to prevent myself from being depressed afterwards.

I am fortunate in having family and friends, so I do count my blessings.

It’s just that I dread Christmas time and it’s making me sad and I wonder if you can apply your wisdom and understanding to my odd problem.


This is one of those niggling little problems many people will regard as trivial, but which can cause a lowering of the spirits.

Such feelings can leave us, especially as we grow older, with a perpetual sense of yearning for what we know can never be fulfilled.

How many people look into the mirror and reflect that this life is not what they hoped for?

I’m not referring to obvious unhappiness — one of the many stresses that afflict our lives, from marriage to family problems, money worries, disappointment at work and disillusionment with friendships. All those are recurring staples of this column.

No, your simple email opens another door of woe hard to define.

To be absolutely honest, when you say you ‘very much want to learn how to relax more, not to expect too much and to try to prevent myself from being depressed afterwards’, you could be talking about me, too. Perhaps we can learn from each other.


More from Bel Mooney for the Daily Mail…

There’s a disconnect between the magic of Christmas imagined by so many of us as children and the reality experienced by your mother.

On the one hand, there are stars, lights, angels, Father Christmas, baby Jesus (plus wise men, shepherds and animals), adored carols and the stockings on the end of the bed. Oh joy!

On the other hand, there’s shopping, wrapping, labelling, more shopping (this time for food), timing the meal, washing up, and so on and on. Every year. Christmas is at once joy and drudgery and after 43 years of cooking turkeys I have no idea how to change things. Or whether I really want to.

You first mention the buying of presents — so that’s the place to start. Why not be disciplined and set yourself a budget this year, perhaps deciding that one or two on your list could just have a card instead of a gift?

We tend to spend too much, so this year would be a good time to shift the habit. If you give somebody a posh present and they don’t respond as you’d like, you lay yourself open to disappointment. If you give a ‘token’ (look at the beautiful poem-pamphlets, many of them light-hearted, published by Candlestick Press), you will find your burden lighter.

Please don’t ‘dread Christmas-time’ — because you have the right idea about it. Always remember those beautiful angels bringing ‘tidings of great joy’ and don’t let them fly from your mind.   

 And finally…A candle can help to banish evil 

When something terrible happens, I usually receive anguished emails from readers and friends, expressing gloom at the state of the world.

There are times I share that despair. Watching television footage of the tearful widow of Sir David Amess visiting the site of his vile killing with other devastated family members, was one such moment.

Shock and disbelief can be quickly transformed into a universal pessimism that overwhelms — like a stifling black cloth over your face.

Contact Bel 

Bel answers readers’ questions on emotional and relationship problems each week.

Write to Bel Mooney, Daily Mail, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT, or email

A pseudonym will be used if you wish.

Bel reads all letters but regrets she cannot enter into personal correspondence.

The world feels full of hatred — from the detestable language used by a politician like Angela Rayner to the appalling abuse meted out on social media, to the kind of twisted extremism that regards slaughter as ‘just’.

In those moments I too conclude that the Good is in terminal retreat, while triumphant Evil stalks this earth. Yet it’s not the truth. We’d all be driven mad if we bid farewell to hope — and sadly some people do succumb to utter despair.

I have read many letters to this column which I file under ‘angst’ — meaning ‘a feeling of deep anxiety or dread, typically an unfocused one about the human condition or the state of the world in general’.

How to fight it? By imagining the transformative effect of a single candle in a darkened room and deliberately lighting one in your mind.

Actually visualise that action, just before you decide what the light represents.

So I think of the wonder in the face of parents as they cradle their newborn, the uplifting videos I watch online which show human kindness. And so on — too many to list.

Now I’m meditating on the outpouring of respect, gratitude and love for Sir David Amess abroad in the land.

I’m focusing on every single flower laid where his good life ended — and realising that every bloom (and every tear shed) represents something indestructibly good.

Oh, and doesn’t all that greatly outnumber the single terrible act of hatred that took away his life? It always will.