I saw this letter on the Guardian’s website and my heart went out to this woman. You can view the letter here but to summarise this woman is of Jewish origin and she fell in love with a Sikh man. Because of this, her parents cut her off.
This isn’t rare when marrying outside your faith but some parents simply cannot see past their ‘honour’. It’s more important to them, than their own child and that is hard to swallow. When I interviewed my dad on how to tell your parents about your interfaith relationship, he was very honest (I was very nervous to hear his thoughts!). He said you have to be prepared for your parents not to understand which means they can disown you. This is why you really must know your partner is ‘the one’ before telling them. (read post here).
In a way, it helped me to become close to my mother-in-law, who has been so much more gracious and accepting of this pale, new addition to her family than I ever could have hoped
This woman wrote this letter expressing her feelings. She mentioned that it was hard going through her pregnancy without her mum or auntie by her side. When reading this, I hadn’t thought about that notion before. Obviously I discuss being in an interfaith relationship with parents who may not understand, but when you’re pregnant also, this can be so lonely. Although, it’s not the same relationship as your mum, she luckily had her mother in law who has been so kind to her.
“It has been five years since the wedding you wouldn’t attend (a fact that had its own silver lining because then we could hold it in India with all of my husband’s family) and I’m doing OK. I’m sure I will continue to be OK – even good – in this new life of mine, without you. But I’d like you back in it, if you wanted to be. For your grandchildren’s sake, mostly, but also for my own.
It’s been five years and I hope that’s enough time for you to shake off your anger and disappointment, and start to miss me too.
It’s been five years. Expect a call.”
I’m writing this article because it’s not about what religion the individual or partner is from. It’s about the heart break that can come with parents dealing with their children living their lives and marrying outside their faith. When she expresses how her children also suffer from their grandparents absence. Children will start to question and they may not understand at a young age. As they grow older and realise their grandparents disowned their mother because she married outside her faith, it’s devastating. Knowing that and missing out on the bond between grandparents and grandchildren is not good.
*You don’t have to understand the language but you can see the emotional in their actions
This reminds me of one of my favourite Bollywood films – Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (vaguely translated as sometimes happy, sometimes sad). It has the most legendary man in Bollywood and his wife who play the parents. They have two sons, the oldest (adopted) and the youngest which is their own.
They come from a very rich family and the oldest falls in love with a girl from a poorer background. The father turns his back on them and says “Today, you have proven that you are not my blood”. Such hurtful words.
Many years pass the youngest brother vows to get his family back together. The scene above shows the father telling his son how he loves him, he’s missed him and wanted to speak to him everyday after the past 10 years. That he is his son, the oldest of the house. He just couldn’t express it to him. He then puts his hands together and begs his son for his forgiveness (this is where I burst out crying even more than I currently am).
This film reminded me so much of this woman and her letter to her mother. A very similar situation and I hope that her mother will see past her stubbornness and be reunited with her daughter again. To have that connection again will start to make up for those 5 years lost.
I’m so emotional right now, so I have to end the article here. I want to know though, do you have any positive advice to anyone in this situation?5