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Holiday Grief: Invitations

holiday_grief_hi_res JPG Cover FINALHoliday Grief Tip # 3

Each year we receive numerous invitations to gather with family and friends. And when you’re in the thick of grieving a loved one’s death or other significant loss, there is always an uneasiness as to how to handle these invitations.

Sometimes you’ll feel especially interested in getting out and seeing everyone again. Sometimes you think there is no way you could get yourself energized enough to partake in these events.

There is a solution. If you have a business party or dinner, family or friend gathering, you can simply accept the invitation with conditions.

Let your host know that this has been a difficult time of year since the death of your spouse, child, etc. and tell them you’d like to accept their kind invitation on the condition that if you feel it’s just too much for you on that day, that they will understand your not making it to the event.

You might also add that if you do come by and feel it’s too much for you, you might choose to leave a little earlier and hope that would also be acceptable to them.

This way you have an out, either way. You can attend and leave early or you can decide against it at the last minute.

Either way you have at least graciously communicated with your host and let them know you appreciated their gesture, while reducing your anxiety and stress during the holiday season.

My book Holiday Grief: How To Cope with Stress, Anxiety and Depression After a Loved One’s Death is available now by clicking here.

How have you handled Christmas/Holiday invitation during your grieving process?

The Dreaded Invitation

Peter from the UK writes, “My boss has invited us to a Christmas dinner party at his home.  My wife and I recently lost another pregnancy and are not up for this.  How can we not go?  This is my boss.  What do I do?”

Dear Peter,

While you might feel as though you have little choice because it is an invitation from your boss, telling him the truth is actually the best way to handle this.

If you feel uncomfortable telling him in person, you can write a simple hand-written note addressed to both he and his wife, thanking them for the lovely invitation.  Then you can very simply say, “My wife and I were delighted to receive your kind invitation.  Recently we had the sad news that we miscarried another pregnancy.  While we would love to be with you to celebrate Christmas, considering the circumstances, we feel it best to stay close to home right now.  Please know when we are feeling better perhaps we can get together at our home sometime next year.  Thank you for understanding.  We appreciate your consideration.

Meanwhile, we wish you and your family a delightful Christmas season. ”

He will be impressed that you took the time to send him the note and now that he clearly understands your reason for not accepting his invitation, he will not feel slighted or offended and your relationship is on solid ground.

An additional touch would be to send a bottle of wine or other small gift to his home for the Christmas celebration.