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Once and again the widow in the room The slow dance

 It has been five long years, and boy have they been long. I have worked really really hard to rebuild my shattered life.  Most of the time I am in a pretty good place. I won’t go into everything I have been thru and done, because we are here on this site and we have been there.  The ability to abbreviate my story in this space is one that I have really begun to appreciate.  Going to weddings has got to be one of the worst widow activities next to planning the funeral I can think of. It is a mine field of possible pain. It’s always mostly couples. I am always the odd woman at the table. I stick out like a sore thumb at that table full of happy couples like the grim reaper at a party. Yes, when the music is fast, the girls get up and dance, but then the slow song plays. Then the husbands get up and dance with their wives. Except for mine. Lets face it, it sucks. But, I have been seeing someone. For almost three years. We are a solid couple. So, when this next wedding for the daughter of a friend I have known for 40 years came up, I could smile and look for a pretty dress, because this time I would be able to get up and dance a slow dance. This week I got a call from the brides mother telling me that because of costs the only people who could bring plus 1’s are engaged couples and couples living together so I could no longer bring my boyfriend. I am the widow at the table again. She was there when my husband was dying. When I felt like dying. I know weddings are expensive and I won’t argue about bringing him. But, I won’t go either. I know a rule is a rule is a rule but what does it take for someone to have empathy for this horrible loss. I did not choose to have my husband die. I wish I was her. I always said I would never wish this on anyone but damn I wish It was her and not me. I am less then equal among my friends. Will this ever happen to them? Do you lose your place as a human being when your husband dies.  I may never get engaged. Does that mean I will never be good enough for the slow dance? 

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Comment by Paula on August 30, 2015 at 4:11pm

So, a new an interesting development to this saga.  I sent my regrets in.  My boyfriends and I had a wonderful weekend away planned. My girlfriend texted me the next day, and asked if I was coming. She had not gotten the RSVP yet. I said I was not, because, I completely understood the cost issues and the rules, but felt that I did not wish to attend alone. I gave my best wishes. Then she replied that one of our other good friends whose husband has had cancer for 7 years has taken a turn for the worse. He is not going to make it. His wife is going to the wedding and was hoping I would be there to support her. Of course I will do that. It will still suck and I was really looking forward to the weekend away, but I have to do that for my friend. I don't believe in much treating others as I wish to be treated is one of the things I believe in. If I talk the talk, I have to walk the walk. When I told my boyfriend that our plans had changed, he looked at me and said I was a good person. We will plan another time together. 

Comment by Paula on August 18, 2015 at 4:05pm

I know her husband and he is the cheapest man in the world. She made the comment when she called that there were going to be a lot of unhappy people there because of this, which just seems stupid. Why go if you are going to be unhappy. I swear if I EVER get married again I would do it in the back yard with a JP and a few witnesses as I need. 

Comment by Paula on August 18, 2015 at 4:02pm

No Dianne, that was another party I was at. It was a meetup group and I really did not know anyone besides the hostess.

Comment by Dianne in Nevada on August 17, 2015 at 6:45pm

OMG Paula ... that is NOT the behavior expected from a 40-year friendship!  A true friend would never have called you about it in the first place. Those rules may be fine for the single young folks attending the wedding who just want to bring a date, but a true friend would be happy that you have someone special in your life and would never even think of applying the rule to you.  And when we add in her behavior at the Cape ... well, I'm with Rick. You need to cut her out of your life.  I'm curious ... was she part of that dinner group you attended where one person made the rude 'wish my husband was dead' comment?

So pleased that you and Rick will be doing something nice that weekend.

Comment by Paula on August 17, 2015 at 4:06pm

we have decided to do something really nice that weekend just the two of us. we still dance in the kitchen and that is what counts

Comment by k2k9 on August 17, 2015 at 5:32am

I haven't been to a wedding (or invited to one, yet) since G died, but when I see young married couples, or hear about newlyweds on Facebook or whatever, I always think:  "One of you will be a widow some day."  I can barely type out, or say, "Congratulations" without having that thought.  It's horrible.  I feel like a mean, cruel person.  "One of you will be a widow some day."  Ughhhh. 

I feel that awkwardness at parties.  I've been invited to a lot of parties in the 4 months since G died.  It's summer, you know?  I go to every one.  I feel stupid.  He never went to anything with me, anyhow, so THAT part is not any different.  I was always alone at parties because he was sort of anti-social.  But I get a feeling that I am being judged by the people who don't know me well:  "It's too soon.  She shouldn't be at a party."  Then, on the flip-side, are my friends who are constantly inviting me out, so I won't be alone.  I LIKE BEING ALONE.  I don't mind it, really, people, I don't!!  OMG, such a fine line we have to walk.  

Comment by Hornet (Cindy) on July 26, 2015 at 9:35am

Paula, I have an idea....

Why don't you pick out that pretty dress anyway? Your friend can dress to the nines too.

Then, invite a crowd of your friends to go out dancing on the very night of that wedding!

Slow dances, fast dances, the hokey pokey, for Pete's sake!

Just have a good, good time. Drink a toast to the young lady getting married and wish her well....

But make happy memories of your own. Surround yourself with those who DO understand what you've been through, the ones who love you and want to be with you AND the new man in your life.

Your 'friend' obviously has no clue. But it doesn't take being a widow to sympathize with a widow, does it? It only takes a heart....and that is something your friend doesn't seem to possess in this case.

But who gives a damn?

She will live her life...and you can live yours.

You just go and make happy memories with the wonderful man you found....have fun! Be happy, Paula!

Comment by Cathy on July 25, 2015 at 9:07pm

Paula, I so agree with you, weddings are not for me either. Had to plan one last summer for my daughter, everyone gushed how lovely it was...I couldn't even dance the fast dances. Been 5 years for me this summer, I've had 5 deaths to deal with in that time, my bro in law just this past week, who's been my main support, as well as my kids. He walked my daughter down the aisle, which tears me up yet today. Your friend does not sound like much of one to not let you bring a friend to the wedding. She has no idea of what you have gone thru; I just let those people go in my life. You ARE good enough for the slow dance, just not at that reception. Take care.

Comment by Callie2 on July 23, 2015 at 7:19pm
Your friend has a problem of some sort, difficult for anyone here to figure out for sure. If it were me, I would let them know I wouldn't be there as I would have other plans that included my boyfriend. You could mail a check inside a card to the bride and groom if you feel so inclined.

I just want to comment on the so-called rules. I think they are silly. It's not like you were inviting someone you may have just met or casually dating, you've been seeing him for quite a while. Common sense would conclude you are a couple.i know people that have dated for years and never married or lived together. They may think they are being reasonable with this decision but when they know someone is in a long term relationship, these restrictions sound silly. They should have considered being a bit more flexible, I mean, why do they need such rigid rules? Invite those you want-you need not explain rules to anyone. I think I would avoid this person in the future anyway, based upon what you say about her past behavior.
Comment by eliana on July 23, 2015 at 2:25pm

Wow. I cannot imagine how anyone -- let alone a friend -- would essentially "uninvite" you by forcing you to attend alone. It seems the height of discourteousness. Personally, I would send a gift to the daughter and pass on attending the event.

I am not interested in imposing myself or my current reality on anyone, and the truth is my life is different now.  I no longer have my husband or any sort of permanent date. I'm fortunate to have a number of male friends who have graciously been my "plus one" on occasions like this. (Being the first in my circle to be widowed this has been interesting -- for lack of a better word -- but that's a story for another time.)

Ironically, the only time I've been the "widow at the table" without a guest was at my niece's wedding about a year after my husband died. I could have brought a guest, but it was my choice to go alone.

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