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.

Their suggestions?

  • 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!


On May 20, 2014, Susan’s world came crashing down. Her 54-year old husband passed unexpectedly of a heart attack. The years since have been a whirlwind of emotion, trauma & joy (yes, she said joy, thanks mostly to the birth of her grandchildren).

Over the next 5 years, Susan experienced additional heartache following the death of her dad & both of her brothers. She knew her only way to make sense of all her grief was to find a way to use her experiences to help others.

Now, armed with a grief educators certificate from David Kessler, a coaching certificate, her learned experience and inspiration she has set out to make a difference in the lives of the bereaved.

Living with loss is a lifetime challenge. When someone dies, friends and family rally around the bereaved for a short time. Soon after, the conversation changes from one of comfort to one of anticipation and judgement. The bereaved are given a time frame to “get over it”. This antiquated notion leaves no option but to grieve in silence. Often silence can become isolating and cause mental and physical health issues.

Susan educates society on how to help those who are grieving by using her voice to speak up and share her learned and lived knowledge.

Susan encourages collaboration and dialogue so please reach out to her at evolve beyond grief on her website, Facebook and Instagram.