Saturday, 6 August 2011

Can a bereaved person go to a party?

I woke at Mum and Dad's on Saturday 30th July and went on a mission into nearby Frodsham. I needed some bits for a 60s and 70s party I had been invited to.

My idea was for the monochrome mod look - I had a white dress and black boots but wanted a hair band, belt, jewellery and eye lashes to complete the image.

It was fun looking in the charity shops and I was happy with purchases.

We then called to see my sister and her family. Sophie is now confidently walking and words are forthcoming. Kisses are aplenty too! 

Then I set off for the party at our friends. Last year the theme had been Latin American and we'd camped in the back garden! It was a truly great evening and we both had looked forward to this one.

This time I was on my own. Yet again I had a choice. I could have declined and been sad, spending the evening in 'should have' wallowing. Instead I happily drove a couple of hours pleased to be there with old friends and maybe to make new ones.

Our friends had invited me earlier and we had a quick catch up. Their home is full of memories that make me smile. Clive loved being here. It was weird that the whole evening there was a particular garden seat that was often empty, where he used to sit. I kept imagining him there looking at me with his ' I aDore' you face! I felt he was there, approving that I had still gone. People said I was brave to be there but to me it was easier than staying away.

I had a little weep at a Pointer Sisters track as we reminisced about music, times and places. I was back in my teenage bedroom playing this on my record player.

It seemed so unfair that after years of waiting for someone who made me feel like I was in a romantic drama, he had gone! I also reflected that 23 years ago to the day I had got married for the first time. So many hopes and dreams. All gone. My life has taken an unexpected new direction again. It is both scary and exciting!

The girls got ready altogether. That in itself was fun! Music, wine, laughter over false eyelashes! I didn't realise how long mine were until I put them on. I had never worn any before - I  loved them!

I smiled as I thought of how Clive would have kissed me and told me how pleased he was to have me by his side. Too much eyeliner to cry so I chose not to.

The evening was fun with good company. The costumes colourful. Food tasty - especially Arctic Roll! I had a really happy time!

A few people knew me from last year and about Clive. Of course I wanted to talk about him but also realise that no-one wants to get stuck in a corner with a bereaved person so steered the conversation onto lighter things - for all our sakes!

The only tears I shed were in the small, wee hours as the last ones up sat around the warmth of the logs in the bbq. A beautiful song played and as I felt the gentle breeze along with the sincerity of our friends, I thought of Clive and the gratitude that we all had met. We had shared some wonderful times and now I had achieved another one - on my own. My tears were a mixture of grief, appreciation, relief, happiness and love.

With hugs all around I went up to bed just before daybreak! I peeled off my false eye lashes with a contented smile and with karaoke in my ears drifted off to sleep.

So would I recommend going to a party on your own? You bet!

My tips:-
  • Arrive earlier than others so if it is a place you have been before, get the initial sadness over with!
  • Be helpful in setting up and clearing up - having a purpose can take some of the 'I am on my own' feeling away.
  • Avoid too much alcohol - being a tearful drunk is not good!  A bit is good to feel sociable with.
  • Mention your loved one's passing but move on to lighter conversations. Ask about other's lives as it is a welcome break from yours!
  • Ditch the 'lonely' attitude as there are others around who also may be there without a partner - start by chatting with them.
  • Imagine they are by your side - perhaps they still are?
  • Remember that your lost loved-one would much rather that you were out and living than curling up being miserable.
Yes it was an effort but well worth it. I could have politely declined. I am so glad I didn't because I had a good time! 

Thank you to the perfect hosts!

Party anyone? I have some eyelashes to wear!

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