Thanks so much for the invite to your party! I really appreciate that you remembered me and thought to include me. I know it wasn’t easy, because you know I’m still grieving. I just wanted to let you know I love it whenever anyone thinks of me.
I’d really like to come, so I hope you don’t mind if I give you a few tips to make it easier on both of us. My feelings are really raw and emotional right now, and it can be hard to know in advance just how I’m going to be doing.
- If I back out at the last-minute, please don’t take it personally. Trust me, I really want to be there, but it may be that I’ve had a really hard day and just can’t face people. Grieving is exhausting, I don’t sleep well at night, and sometimes a party just is too much.
- Have a mutual friend be my chaperone. You’re the host, you’re busy enough, but if you can find someone who is willing to keep a special eye on me, that would be so helpful. Massive bonus points if you can find another bereaved mom who’s a little further along in this journey than I am.
- Triggers. They’re pretty much impossible to completely avoid because even I don’t know what they all are. I never know when I’ll be happily enjoying myself when suddenly a song comes on and it puts me back in a deep, dark place. However, I guarantee that brand new babies are pretty much not to be in the same room as me. I’ll come by and visit your work friend’s new baby when I’m ready. Your party isn’t going to be that place.
- When I experience a trigger, make sure there’s a safe space for me to hide (better yet, make sure that mutual friend points out where it is when I come in). Sometimes I’m okay, but just need a few minutes to compose myself. Bathrooms, walk-in closets, even the garage, are usually good places to hide out for a few minutes and check that my mascara isn’t all over my face.
- Overindulging. We all overindulge at the holidays, but grieving can make us feel extra socially awkward. I’ll do my best not to eat all your food and drink all your drinks. Make sure I have a safe ride home and if you’re worried about me, maybe that chaperone could have a kind word. Actually, do this with ALL your guests, even if they’re not grieving. No one should drive if they’ve had too much to drink.
- I might not stay late. There’s the exhaustion thing, and I may just find the whole party more overwhelming than I thought. Again, don’t take it personally!
There, now that I’ve got that off my chest, I’ll say it again. Thank you so much for inviting me. By sending me an invitation, you’re leaving it up to me to make the decision. You’re not excluding me! And I can’t tell you how much it means to me. Thank you.
Your grieving friend
Image from Flickr.com user Florin. Used under Creative Commons licence.
Amanda Ross-White is the proud mother of four beautiful children, including her twin boys Nate and Sam, who were stillborn in 2007. She is eternally grateful to watch her rainbow children, daughter Rebecca and son Alex, grow around her. She is also the author of Joy at the End of the Rainbow: A Guide to Pregnancy After a Loss, which won second place in the American Journal of Nursing’s Book of the Year Awards (Consumer Health).