Dear Brides and Grooms,

Ah, wedding season! The time to look beautiful, eat too much, drink too much, see lots of people you haven’t seen in years and cry in happiness.

Unless you’re a widow. Then there’s only crying in sheer pain. For me, at least. Since Jason died I have been invited to 4 weddings. A fifth friend tied the knot, but I was not invited, which I was rather grateful for. It’s tough for me to watch a happy couple without bursting into tears for my loss. In time, I’m sure that the tears of sadness will turn into tears of joy-ish, as I have a good man by my side and he is helping my heart heal, one stitch at a time. For the moment, simply looking at a wedding website raises my anxiety.

The year that Jason died, I attended a wedding in August of two very close friends of ours. Jason passed in May, but I wanted badly to see their wedding, mostly to represent him. I was surrounded by people who knew what was going on and who helped me through the day. The wedding was beautiful. Everything went well, and I cried tears of sadness because my husband was no longer on this plain of existence.

The next year, I was invited to two weddings. I said yes to the first one, because I figured there would be people there that would be able to help me out, if I needed it. It slowly occurred to me as the wedding grew closer that I had no desire to try and attend. I was going to cry through the entire thing. I didn’t want to do that, especially since I didn’t know the bride. I ended up telling the groom I wasn’t able to attend and gave my apologies.

The second invitation came after the first and I had already figured out by then that I was not ready to attempt weddings. I RSVP’d in an email with a long letter to the bride’s family, saying why I couldn’t. I expressed my pain, and in retrospect I’m not sure that was really fair to do. They were planning a happy occasion. Who am I to remind them that sadness awaits at the end? I never received a reply to the email, but I should not have expected one. She had a good wedding and that’s the only thing that matters.

Fast forward to the next year. A friend from work was getting hitched and I kept talking to mutual friends. I told one of my past anxiety with weddings and invitations and then didn’t end up getting one. I don’t know if I was supposed to get an invitation or not, but I felt nothing but relief when I did not. A weight was lifted from my heart and mind. I could face the wedding through pictures and didn’t have to deal with whether or not I was ready to attend. Again, wonderful people getting married; no desire to cry uncontrollably and ruin it for other guests.

And I feel I would be ruining the wedding for other guests. Here’s why: They have no idea why I am sobbing. And it’s not pretty quiet tears that stream down my face. It’s gut wrenching sobs that tear through my body and make me double over. No, that’s not hyperbole. That’s what happens. I don’t want to pass on that sadness at a joyous occasion.

This year, I have received an invitation from a friend, and the lightheartedness of the invitation made me consider going. I saw they had a website sometime after getting the “Save the Date” card and decided to check it out. As I was looking around the site, my anxiety kicked in and I felt the tears. I immediately clicked out of the site and thought, “Nope.” I couldn’t even look at the website without tears surfacing.

It’s been three years, almost to the day, since Jason died and I still feel an overwhelming panic-like attack when I think of other people getting married. It’s a joyous time; people around them should be smiling and crying tears of happiness, not sadness.

Therefore, please keep in mind, if you are getting married soon, and you deiced to send me an invitation, I will probably not attend. I will say now, “Thank you for thinking of me” but I most probably will not attend. And as I don’t want to make anyone feel awkward, this blog will serve as the reason why. I don’t want to tell each friend individually, while they are in the final stages of wedding planning, why I can’t attend. There is too much going on, and it just isn’t fair to them.

I love all my friends and want them to be happy. But weddings make me panic/have bad anxiety, and no one needs to have that at their wedding. Be happy on your wedding day. Love is precious and on the day of your wedding, you should feel only love.

Congratulations to anyone I know planning a wedding. I hope to be able to share in your happiness at some point.

Love you all,

Cat

-Widow not planning on attending weddings

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