See more of the story

Dear Carolyn: My sister's daughter, "Abbie," and my daughter, "Karen," have always been very close. So when Abbie asked Karen to be her maid of honor and officiate at the ceremony, Karen was thrilled.

At the time of the engagement, my sister made it known to me and Karen that she was concerned my daughter would bring COVID-19 with her from New York, where cases have been high. The bride did not express any fears to us.

Karen made plans to drive 12 hours, not fly, to the wedding venue, to quarantine before the wedding date and to take a rapid coronavirus test before leaving home.

Due to the pandemic, the wedding plans changed to include only immediate family and Karen.

Six weeks before the wedding, Karen contacted Abbie to get a wedding update and to ask about plans for testing other family members traveling from other cities. Two days later, Abbie told Karen she no longer wanted her in the wedding. She said she would not ask anyone else to be tested.

My daughter is heartbroken, disappointed and a little angry, too. Since then, several calls and texts to my sister and brother-in-law to extend birthday wishes — only messages with birthday greetings were left — have gone unanswered. The bride has also not answered Karen's messages.

My fear is that my sister's avoiding us will evolve into a major family feud and a prolonged breakdown in communication between the two families. I am completely fine with no longer being invited to the wedding, but feel the decision to exclude my daughter was coldhearted, unwarranted and mean, especially since Karen was willing to "go the extra mile" for her cousin. I feel very badly for her. Should I just wait it out?

Carolyn says: Short answer, yes. I left the long story intact, mostly, because the first thing people want to know about a rift is what caused it.

Yet the more times I read it, the more I think it doesn't matter.

Your sister and her family made up their minds; they have their reasons; their reasons for not having Karen travel to the wedding, even quarantined and tested, are at least defensible; their reasons for applying different standards to different family members are possibly not defensible — but only they really know what they are; and there may be more to this but you have no way of finding out since they've gone silent (indefensible, in most cases).

That's what we have.

And it's a lot, but not enough to justify saying anything definitive about anything they've done or are going to do.

What I do know for sure is that you control your part of whether this "will evolve into a family feud."

That means you can decide this "mean" decision will divide you and your sister.

Or you can decide to wait to see what happens next.

Or you can decide you won't be the reason this causes a rift.

Since you're asking me, and since there's enough division in the world to hold us for the next decade or six, my advice is to choose, upfront, to drop it — before you're even sure what you're dropping.

I think you'll feel better. And you can always change your mind.

E-mail Carolyn Hax at