Remarrying can be a hard thing to do. It is, for some, the final step of moving on from a previous relationship, but for those outside of the new marriage accepting that reality might be challenging, especially for kids. Combine that with some tragedy, and you have a recipe for disaster.
My kids were young when I left their mother. She decided that she preferred the company of another man to mine. I was heartbroken and humiliated, but I dealt fairly with the divorce. My alimony and child support was set, and I never missed one payment or a chance to spend time with my kids.
Beyond our scheduled time together, I did all the dad stuff. I came to see them perform in school plays and play sports. If they wanted to talk, I made myself available. I never spoke about their mother other than to say she was a good mom and they were lucky to have her.
When she remarried, my alimony ended but not the child support. She had another kid with her husband. When my kids were 18 and 17, their mom was diagnosed with aggressive cancer. She ended up needing a lot of expensive treatment, and it ended her marriage. He left because of the debts, and he could not care for her. I don't know more than that.
She didn't make it five years. I felt terrible then, but it had nothing to do with me anymore. I had just become engaged to my fiancee. I sent my kids invitations to my wedding. It was just small in my backyard.
They both said they would not attend, and I was heartless for getting married just two months after their mom died. I said I understood their grief and hoped they changed their minds. And then I dropped it.
I got married on Saturday, and my kids found out. They called me and said I was a d*ck for not postponing my wedding or calling to ask them to come. I just said they knew the time and place, and I would have made room for them if they had shown up.
They are both pissed at me, but I don't think I'm wrong for not changing my plans over the death of a woman I divorced over a decade ago.
OP also added:
Sorry. I forgot, and it is essential. My kids are in university. I do not live in the same city as them. When their mom went into hospice care, I checked in on them daily. Sometimes a call but usually a text. We didn't always connect, but we did connect.
The invitations were sent before she died. The invitations went out four months before the wedding. We planned the wedding over the winter break so my kids and my new wife's children could attend. We saw the kids at Thanksgiving and cried together over their mother. They sent their RSVP just a few days after their mom passed away.
The internet is the expert on wedding etiquette.
The wedding was planned, and invites were sent before she died.
You’d been divorced for more than a decade.
You invited them formally. They declined.
I get that they’re kids and just lost their mother, which is a horrible loss. But you’ve done nothing wrong here. NTA (Not the A**hole).
NTA. They regret missing your wedding and are still raw from their mothers death so blaming you is the only logical thing they can think of.
From what I'm reading above I'm going to say NTA. It's been over a decade since you've divorced and it would appear that you have done your due diligence inviting them to the wedding.
You invited them before she passed away and they said no. Then they came back and asked you to change the date? Personal opinion as I've lost a parent recently: there is no specific timeframe for grievance but I think two months is not an inconsiderate timeframe.
It's been over a decade since you were marriage ended and she has obviously moved on and I think you are in the right of moving on as well. From what you say above you did all the things you were expected to do in terms of dad stuff.