Have you received an invite?
Invitations to events such as weddings carry conflicting and challenging emotions when you no longer have a partner.
In the past, an invitation was the certainty of an evening filled with merriment and dance as we were honored to be invited to celebrate the occasion. After the death of my partner, these positive emotions are now often substituted with anxiety, trepidation and confusion. I am thrilled for the couple and honored to be included in the festivities; yet, I am also filled with the prospect of a lonely and uncomfortable evening.
This discomfort seems to be quite unanimous amongst singles and widows.
- Stay (hide) in the bathroom during cocktail hour, dancing…
- Pretend to be on your cell phone so you don’t appear lonely
- Leave after the ceremony
- Don’t go
- Bow out after speeches
But, what if there is a simpler answer?
How great would it be if we felt welcomed? I recently went to a wedding and was overcome with the kindness of others. The hostess set the tone by embracing me and introducing me to her circle of friends at the onset of the evening. She made certain that I was not left alone.
Rather than ignore me and leave me to sit alone while they went off to dance, the table invited me to join them. They included me in the conversations and made me feel comfortable and welcomed.
This group thought they were being “normal and typical”. Sadly, I know they were so much better than most.
I have been to events where I sat at the table and tried to appear busy when the entire table got up to dance EXCEPT me. Seriously, at times, I have felt like I have been ignored because of fear my widowhood would rub off on them.
So, what do we do?
We speak up. Let’s continue to talk about our legitimate concerns and educate about the reality of death and grief. And, I suppose when we are not blessed like I was recently at an event – we allow ourselves to leave quietly and quickly – with our dignity intact.
Secondary losses continue to rear their ugly head forever after loss. Going to an event alone is a secondary loss. I hope we all find our way through so we can celebrate with our host. We deserve to dance the night away!