Family & Education

Dear June: Family Wedding for ‘Vaccinated Only’

BY June Kellum TIMEMarch 15, 2022 PRINT

Dear June,

This winter, we were invited to two family weddings. The invitations stated that “vaccinated only” are welcome to attend. The weddings were for a niece and a nephew on my husband’s side of the family, so they’re close family members, not distant cousins or long-lost relatives.

We asked if a negative COVID-19 test would be acceptable and that we would be willing to test in order to attend the weddings and wedding showers. We were told no and that only vaccinated guests may attend. The same thing happened to our Christmas plans in 2021. Emails went out stating that only fully vaccinated people could attend.

I’m really hurt about the situations that have occurred with close family members, and I’m not sure if I want to be a part of their lives at this point. I’ve read books about forgiveness and I still am angry. Can you tell me how I should proceed?

My husband spoke with his family about this, and he has stated that we aren’t vaccinated at this time because we have had COVID-19 and that we have natural immunity. We have antibody tests that back up this claim, and the tests were taken within 90 days of the weddings.

Any suggestions? Advice? Thoughts? I’d love to hear them.

Disheartened Aunt

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Dear Disheartened Aunt,

I understand your frustration. It doesn’t make sense to ignore the protection of natural immunity, and the addition of a negative COVID-19 test would probably make you the safest people at the wedding. But unfortunately, common sense and honest science don’t seem to be guiding people through this pandemic. Something else is.

I’ve been reflecting on what this something else is, and these reflections have helped me to find peace and compassion amid what’s happening. I’ve heard what’s happening described as “mass psychosis,” and this is an apt description. This has been building for a while, with most people unaware, and it’s now exploding around us. But amid the pain and upheaval, we have a precious opportunity—an opportunity to awaken, to return to our core values of truth, and to exercise our constitutional rights to life and liberty.

So how should you proceed? I too have felt the pain, frustration, incredulity, and heartbreak. For me, it wasn’t so much close relations, but hearing stories of unvaccinated health care workers losing their jobs and a sad case of a COVID-recovered patient being denied an organ transplant because they didn’t want to be vaccinated.

I’ve also heard of parents being denied visitations with their children because they weren’t vaccinated, even though in some cases they, too, were COVID-recovered. It seems to me that if all of the pandemic suffering could be added up, at least half would be man-made, and this is indeed a very sad state of affairs.

So on one level, our upset feelings are justified. But if we take a few steps back and look more deeply, I think those feelings naturally change. Here’s what I would suggest:

Step one, recognize and honor a grieving process. Being shunned by friends and family is a sort of betrayal, as the precious bonds we’ve nurtured all our lives are suddenly meaningless. As women, we pour a lot of ourselves into our relationships and draw strength from them, so to lose one leaves us with a wound.

The second step is to find our peace and strength again. You say you aren’t sure if you still want to be part of your family’s lives right now, so I would start by putting some distance. Take some time to focus on yourself. The process of finding strength is different for each of us, but can involve things such as diving deeper into spirituality, journaling, drawing closer to other friends and family, gardening, crafting, reading, volunteering, and renovating—whatever it is that brings you peace, joy, and distance from the situation.

The third step is to understand the feelings of those who hurt you. The fear that your niece and nephew have is real (even if it’s unjustified), and to live in fear is a great burden. And even if they don’t feel the burden at this time, it’s there shaping their lives. To be guided by fear instead of truth is certainly a sad state, and it ultimately won’t bring them joy or blessings. When we really see the suffering of others, our own suffering becomes much less, and love and forgiveness naturally follow.

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Do you have a family or relationship question for our advice columnist, Dear June? Send it to DearJune@EpochTimes.com or Attn: Dear June, The Epoch Times, 229 W. 28th St., Floor 7, New York, NY 10001.

June Kellum is a married mother of three and longtime Epoch Times journalist covering family, relationships, and health topics.

June Kellum
June Kellum is a married mother of three and longtime Epoch Times journalist covering family, relationships, and health topics.
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