The Party Crasher

By Diane Scarabino

We are told at bereavement groups to honor your feelings and just say no, to invitations. We don’t have to do anything we don’t want to. Maybe in your world this will work but not in mine.

Today was my SIL’s bridal shower. She met the love of her life at age 44, first marriage for both. We are a small family. Everyone is kind, thoughtful and in pain. Almost like Robert and I.

I have a lot of compassion for people who say the wrong thing. I understand. Who knows if I said the right thing to people all my life. How dare we be so arrogant to expect others to be perfect. I don’t recall anyone in the last two years saying anything considered hurtful. Lucky? or just…I don’t get out much.

This was the second of three bridal showers this summer.

We have gone public about how we lost our darling girl. Hoping to support and protect others. Friends tell friends. Do I really mind? No. But here I sit at bridal shower #2 and I feel the silence around me. I sense the careful tone of conversation, a lull around those seated by me. A stranger speaks of her child’s successes only to quickly end the topic as she pauses in remembrance of the news from her friend about the lady in the room who lost her daughter.

My SIL upon opening a gift from her two living nieces’ remarks “oh, this is from my favorite nieces”. Is it just my head or did the rooms heartbeat stop for a moment?

It’s the bride’s day. Can I please go home? As I watch her open the card for my gift I wish I hadn’t signed it love Diane and our angel in heaven Jaclyn. How dare I think such a thought. I’m sorry Jaclyn. Thankfully the bride said “it’s from my sister-in-law Diane and Jacki” But then as she recalls, she adds in a low tone “and my other favorite niece” Another pause of silence.

Where is that rock to crawl under when you need it. It’s not about me!!! Or Jacki!!!! Leave us out of this!!!

An Aunt compassionately hands me the first floral vase from a table to take home. They look at me with sadness. She says “the butterflies in the center is Jaclyn, she is here with us”.

How lucky am I to have such caring family. I really wish I wasn’t the lady with the sign over her head “daughter died, right here, come bring your solace and down turned smile”.

I didn’t just say no. I went to these showers because I love these people and am trying to go out. Everyone grieves differently. I know this. For me, right now, here at gatherings, I don’t want “it” touched! Yet the opposite occurs.

Do I possess the amount of compassion to attend to their grieving? Their caring compassion toward me? Nope!!!! I want out. I waited until the end appropriately. Leaving early makes it more obvious, so don’t suggest it. The bride hugs me thank you and tears up, “how hard this must be for you” OMG (it wasn’t until I got here)

What an impossible situation. Is that the right word? It’s all “fucked up” is the right word.

I try to smile and interact but wind up sadder and feeling guilty for trying to be out there like everyone advises. I’m the party crasher. Look for me at the 3rd shower and three weddings to come.