2

Incident

Alice and I are relatives but not on good terms. Recently, Alice was bereaved and I got to know about it through a third person. With the kind of rapport that I have with Alice, I am sure that I would have never been informed about it. Yet, I did pay a visit.

Problem

There is a mourning event happening in her household a few weeks later where all kith and kin would be invited and certain rituals are performed. I am sure that I will not be informed about this either. And, I would be blamed if I do not visit her. At the same time, Alice would also blame me stating that she had invited me yet I haven't visited. (This happened earlier with other kind of events too.) Yes, lies everywhere; can't help that aspect.

Me being part of the mourning is important. If I do not attend, my absence would he highlighted and I would be scorned by the elders of the family, which I do not want to happen. Getting an invitation is important because I do not want to be the uninvited guest.

Question

I want to initiate a conversation with Alice and make herself inform me, if not invite me, mostly through telephone. I do not want to give her a chance to blame me for not visiting her at this crucial moment. Ultimately, I want her to invite me and I definitely want to visit her.

There are a few elderly people whom we both know and whom Alice is close to. I can take their help too. But, not sure how to go about it. How do you suggest I go about it?

P.S: This question wouldn't be valid if she invites me.

  • First of all you should clarify why you are blamed for things you haven't done. Can you simply call her and say you heard about "something" and want to see if she is ok? (probably not - but why?) The description sounds like you better have no contact so can you explain to yourself what the desired result is. – puck Oct 4 '18 at 14:53
  • @Noon She is a distant family, but well known even in the near family circle. I do not want to be friends with her but want to attend this particular event; it is related to a close one's mourning. – Sara Oct 4 '18 at 14:57
  • @puck too late to get clarified. Something bad happened a few days ago, I paid her a visit too. There is another event that is yet to happen in a week or two's time. Not sure if she would inform me about it. If she does, then everything is sorted. If not, I want to prompt her to invite me. This is a mourning that I am talking about. – Sara Oct 4 '18 at 15:00
  • 1
    Can you please add a country tag? They might be cultural differences here. – Ælis Oct 4 '18 at 15:27
  • @Sara Can you describe the "mourning event" in more detail? My experiences with this sort of thing don't include any such events where an invitation would be required, or even expected, even for a distant relative. If we're talking about a wake or sitting Shiva an invitation wouldn't be necessary, even if you might prefer to have one. – Upper_Case-Stop Harming Monica Oct 4 '18 at 15:28
5

I think you are unlikely to get what you want by interacting directly with Alice.

This is a very difficult situation. Here are the key elements, as I understand things:

  1. Alice will not invite you on her own

  2. Alice will lie to other relatives about having invited you

  3. Your relatives will think less of you if you don't attend (whether or not you are invited, given (2))

So Alice doesn't want you to be there, and is fine with your elder relatives blaming that on you rather than her. I can't imagine a line of argument which will cause Alice to give up what she wants (you not being at the event) just to give you an invitation in return for getting something she specifically doesn't want (you attending the event). Lying about inviting you accomplishes everything for her.

What to do?

So the workaround is to interact with other relatives and not Alice. If you ask an elder relative about the upcoming mourning event (maybe mention that you're sure it must be taking place soon but you don't have the details because you haven't received an invitation) you express your interest in attending and also point out that you did not get an invitation.

This will undercut any lie from Alice about the invitation. It expresses your intent to attend without accusing Alice of anything (maybe the invitation got lost in the mail or something). It also gives you all of the information needed to attend (time, place, etc.) from the person you talk to. She won't be able to exclude you while also pretending to have invited you, and talking to other relatives about it means that your intentions can't be mischaracterized (especially if you speak directly with an elder relative).

2

The most important person in bereavement is the bereaved. If you have a conflict with Alice, it is not appropriate to attempt to resolve the conflict during her bereavement.

The polite thing with grief is to help or to get out of the way. If you don't expect to be invited to an event, because of Alice's own feelings towards you, then don't go!

...and take comfort for yourself in the firm knowledge that by abstaining, you are doing the best thing you can to support Alice in her bereavement. This is an expression of true friendship, and something that will help you build trust with her later.

EDIT:

If you really need to be there at the event, and if you really need an invitation, it seems the only way is to make up with Alice and to accept whatever terms Alice wants in order to restore your relationship.

Statement: I'm from California. I would be glad to learn what there is to learn about grief from other cultures.

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