So I lost my husband Mark just about 3 months ago. He was only 37, and he fought a battle with cancer for 10 months prior. His birthday is coming up on April 23rd. The Saturday before I wanted to invite a few close friends and family over and have a little party for him. Our closest friends were 2 other married couples. Come to find out, they can't make it to the party because they are all going camping together that weekend. I enjoy camping too, but for some reason me and my son weren't even invited. I wouldn't have come, but to not even be invited just confirms my feeling that they don't really feel like I'm part of the group anymore. Also it seems kind of insensitive to plan something like that on Mark's bday, especially with it being the first since his passing. So I won't have any of my so called best friends there on what will likely be a really hard day for me. I sent a group text letting them know how I feel, but keeping it respectful. I guess I'll just have to find new friends. What would you do in this situation? We all go to the same church, so completely avoiding them isn't going to be possible. I also feel like I should mention that the last camping trip they all went on, we were invited, but didn't go because we had already had plans with my sister who lives several hours away. So maybe some how they got the idea that we aren't into camping?
Ashley -- in my opinion, you didn't do the wrong thing. It's also possible that they didn't willfully do the wrong thing; it was just thoughtlessness on their part.
I think that your circumstances grant you a considerable amount of latitude and if they are the sort of people who deserve to have you as a friend, they will understand why you feel slighted, and will make an effort to reconcile with you. If they do so, the onus would then be on you to gracefully accept, whether or not that leads to doing anything with them in the future.
I had another thought on why relationships change after one half of a couple dies. Elsewhere here, people have observed that their marriages/partnerships had 3 components: them, their loved one and their existence as a couple. The death of a loved one eliminates two of the three. People who related to you as a couple also had 3 components- their relationship with you, with your loved one and with the two or you as a couple. Now they're left with a relationship only with you as an individual and it may not be strong enough to hold up. It may explain why I'm less interested in contacting my late husband's family members. They're good people but now I can't talk to them about what Ron is doing/saying/thinking or what we're doing together. It's just me and our common memories of Ron.
Last night I was in the bike race for our local corporate athletic event and had a great time with former coworkers (I'm retired) and someone from another company I knew through Toastmasters. These are people who never met my husband or barely knew him. I think these relationships will hold up. They're no substitute for losing my best friend but they keep me going.
Thanks for all the replies everyone. This helped me to see things from a different point of view. I talked to my friends and they said the camping trip was planned like 6 months ago. Mark just passed about 3 months ago so the trip would've been planned while he was on chemo and it would've been impossible to plan that far ahead cuz we never knew how he'd be feeling. I had explained to my friends the difficulty in planning things like this, so they had planned on inviting us last minute until they realized it was Mark's bday weekend. So I've forgiven them. But still want to make new friends that can relate to me better now that I'm not part of a couple. They are all really awesome people. One of them even went to the hospital with me to have surgery because she already had the day off, all of my family lives far away, and everyone on Mark's side of the family had already missed so much work. I've noticed that I get depressed hanging out with the whole group and feeling like the 5th wheel, but enjoy spending time with just the women, or just one friend or another.
Wow, there is a lot of wisdom in these postings. I just had a huge crowd, family and friends, over for Passover. (Card tables in the living room, somebody got the wonky chair, etc.) My late husband was Jewish, I was raised Catholic so we basically celebrated anything and everything that involved holiday eating. I and my guests had a great time, everyone thanked me profusely, even some the old fashioned way with mailed cards.
Since Easter came right on the heels of Passover, I hadn't made any plans -- I'm in the DC metro area, so sometimes I go to the Easter vigil service at the National Cathedral, which is quite the experience. But I hadn't planned ahead to get a ticket, what with all the Passover prep. Fortunately my dear old Dad had brought some chocolate goodies when he came for Passover, so I had scrambled eggs and chocolate for Easter dinner!
I was pretty sure some of my friends were in town for the weekend, and spent a few seconds feeling very sorry for myself that no one thought to invite me over. I thought about it some more and concluded that even after 3 years of widowhood, many friends (with a few exceptions) still don't know how to treat me or it's weird or whatever, so instead they do nothing. If I set up something, do the inviting, etc., they have a comfort level that it's all "OK," and are happy to spend time with me.
Of course, on some subliminal level, I am a constant reminder to those who have a significant other that this will happen to them as a couple, too, some day. Kind of like inviting Death to your party; on a metaphorical level I show up wearing a long black robe and carrying a scythe.
So I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself, keep inviting the folks whose company I enjoy to do things, and continue making new friends, too. No other choice anyway, right?
Ashley, I am so sorry for your loss, but I'm glad you found this on line community. I don't think our culture in the USA has any idea how to deal with death in a healthy way, so many people just run away from us as we grieve. I too had the experience of friends (and my husband's family members, who used to stop by our house all the time) just disappearing off the face of the planet. I was so busy taking care of my husband the last few years of his life that I didn't make time for my own friendships, and that was my loss. I would do it all over again the same way in a heartbeat, because the marriage vow is "in sickness and in health", and he was my best friend in the world. I miss him like a pain in my heart. We could sit in his metalworking shop for hours just talking and laughing.
You are the only one who can decide what to do with your camping friends. My advice is to mull it over for a while, be cordial when you see them, and let the dust settle. You are so early in your grief that you need to take care of you, and not worry about other peoples' malfunctions! God bless and just breathe, as Eddie Vedder says.