Help! My Nephew Wants to Use a Cursed Family Heirloom to Propose.

Help! My Nephew Wants to Use a Cursed Family Heirloom to Propose.


Dear Prudence,

I am 95 percent certain I know the answer to this dilemma, I just can’t dislodge the illogical 5 percent that insists I am making the wrong call. My mother was an awful person. Not in any subtle, family-dynamic way, either. She was a public drunk, abuser, and general bigot. None of her five kids lived with her for long (thankfully, her one saving grace was that she picked men to father her children who could and would pay her for custody). She was also a victim of her own upbringing, but that is something I have come to terms with through therapy and isn’t relevant right now. That brings us to my current problem.

My sister Emily always struggled with the fact she was the child of someone like that. To the extent that when she had her own family she lied to them about our mother. Even though Mom was alive at the time, Em made her into the sainted dead to her husband and kids. A lie she’s kept up for decades. And I get that. It can be hard, sometimes, not to have the life and basic social relationships that people consider to be “included with purchase.” However, it means that her son, my nephew, thinks his grandmother was a lovely, sweet, politically engaged woman. And he wants to use that woman’s wedding ring, which I have, to propose to his boyfriend. My mother would have spat at him and called him a slur. Of course, he’s never going to know that. No one is going to tell him the truth about his grandmother at this point. But I just can’t shake the superstitious conviction that if I gave him the ring it would be bad luck somehow. It feels wrong. But it’s the right thing to do, right? Foster this lovely illusion for the new generations?

—Not Usually Superstitious

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