A Widow’s Battle with Holiday Weddings

“The cheapest, most effective way to connect with others

is to look them in the eye.  - Nicholas Boothman

It all started in 2011 after my husband’s diagnosis. I received the first Save the Date email notification for a wedding several months into the year. My normal routine of immediately adding the date to my iPhone calendar sprang into action.

I loved weddings because I fed on the happiness, the glamour, the unity of family and friends and of course, I always looked forward to the traditional line dancing that is almost always performed at African-American weddingreceptions. But lately, I can’t say that it’s currently the case. 


The mailbox became my best friend for several days and I couldn't have been more happier to receive something as exciting as a wedding invitation instead of bills. The paper version would soon arrive and I would immediately confirm my attendance. I felt special. 

It wasn’t long before my excitement turned to dread. My husband found out he had cancer in May – and I of all people had to tell him. The first wedding invitation I received after my husband’s diagnosis wasn’t my last, but deep down inside I had wished it were.

Not long after the diagnosis, I had to face the fact that I was not interested in attending the long-distance wedding. But, my RSVP was important to the wedding planner because there was cost involved. After all, she was responsible for two dinner plates. Long story short, I was subtly reminded of the fact that two plates would be wasted. Really?!

I felt bad and said my apologies. I didn’t want to belabor the situation because I didn’t want my blood pressure to raise any further than it had to and the relationship was valuable. To me, it was cold-hearted what she said. To her, she lost money. I couldn’t worry about it because I had bigger fish to fry. Nevertheless, that set the precedence of other invitations to follow.

I’ve received approximately four wedding invitations since, with the most recent being held during the upcoming holidays. Each time, I would perform the same routine:

  • Excitedly open the Save the Date email notification

  • Receive the paper (or electronic) version of the wedding invite

  • Provide my confirmation with excitement

  • Dread the upcoming day

  • Cancel my invite

  • Go to the movies

I do want to add that for the latest invite I received this month, I didn’t respond. I simply stared at the beautiful online invitation, kept the website tab open for my recurring return visit, and thought deeply about if I should go. But before I could respond, I was outed. Because I did not respond in a timely manner, the number of those that did respond was enough to reach capacity of the hall. I was saved.

It Hit Me

It always hits me days leading up to the wedding. The outfit I planned to wear was either non-existent or in my closet in separate pieces without ever being tried on. I always have good intentions attending, but it always seems I never make it. I’ve been invited to five weddings since 2011 and I’ve never attended any of them. This is why:

  • I’m fearful because I’m not sure if I would be able to control my emotions as a guest.

  • I’m envious because it’s the beginning of a new journey whereas my journey was permanently interrupted.

  • I’m angry because I never have a plus-one.

Will You Invite Me?

Now that I told my business, I’m sure there are some thinking, “Why should anyone invite this woman to their wedding knowing there’s a huge chance she will not attend?” or, “Should any widow be invited?” I say, YES! Give me a chance; give us a chance. There is hope for widows!

Listen, we’re still evolving. We're still trying to connect. We're still trying become that happy black woman we once were. And, when we’re finally able to do so, it will be because of your invite. And then, we will be able to look you both in the eyes and say, “thank you”.

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