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NWR - need help dealing with a touchy subject!

Bubblegum5586Bubblegum5586 member
First Anniversary First Comment 5 Love Its First Answer
edited January 2015 in Chit Chat
So I am planning our 10 year high school reunion with 3 other girls from my class. We are struggling to gain interest (after people freaking out that we didn't have a 5 year). All 4 of us work full time, own homes, are married and 3 are moms. We are busy with our own lives, but are taking time to plan this for our class. So it has already been a frustrating process.

A few months ago one of our classmates died. I didn't really know her, but she was overall pretty well known. She had 2 kids, it was very sad.

Fast forward to now, and our class president tells us this girl's mom is trying to get in touch with her about the reunion. We assume she will want us to honor her in some way at it. Which we are of course open to, but our concerns are A. we need to get the interest up first, without more tickets sold there no reunion. and B. we know there is at least 1 other kid in our graduating class that died so now should we honor him too... and are there others that we need to confirm?!

Well class prez just messaged me and said the mom wants to come to the reunion with her late daughter's kids. First off there are no kids at this event, more then half of our class has kids and this is an evening cocktail party so we stated no kids on the website (I know that is rude but we had to spell it out..). And isn't it strange for someone's parent to come? I feel like a cold-hearted bitch even typing this out. But no one else's parents are going to be there. They had a memorial for her when she died and people from our HS went. This is about our reunion and I feel like she is trying to turn it into something about her daughter.

Am I an awful person for saying all this?

So thoughts on if I am going about this the wrong way? Thoughts on how to honor her? Thoughts on if we should even open that up to everyone that we have lost in our class? Thoughts on telling her not to come?
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Re: NWR - need help dealing with a touchy subject!

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    I guess I can understand the Mom for wanting to come and maybe talk to some of the people who knew her daughter.  But it would be a firm no on the bringing of the girls kids.

    I think having a moment to honor those in your class who have died is fine.  You don't even have to make a big thing of it.  You could always just have a small slide show running off to the side with an In Memoriam sign.  But like you I am thinking this Mom is trying to turn this reunion into a memorial service for her daughter.

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    I agree with you that's it weird. It's a high school reunion. Chances are, the majority of the people attending the reunion weren't in her daughter's daily life, you know? 

    I really don't know how I would proceed. Yeesh. 
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    I would just say "I'm sorry if there has been any misunderstanding, but this is a private event and tickets are only available for (high school/year) students and their partners." And maybe "we'll have small memorial for those who express interest; if you'd like to contribute a photo of (daughter) we'd be happy to include it."

    It's awful that this woman's daughter died, but it's not your responsibility to provide her with what she's looking for.

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    Wow, this is rough.

    I think the kind but clear route is best: "We are looking forward to honoring your daughter at the reunion, and would love for you to come and talk with her classmates, but I am sorry to tell you that since the event is at a bar [or a cocktail hour, or whatever it is] children have not been included in our invitations. Right now we're doing our best to gather up interest and get everyone to RSVP (I'm sure you can imagine trying to wrangle 200 adults!) so we will absolutely keep you informed once we know more."

    It may sting her a little, but such is life. I'd also check with the venue--it's possible THEY don't allow kids, either, so you might be off the hook there.
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    This baby knows exactly how I feel
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    Wow, this is rough.

    I think the kind but clear route is best: "We are looking forward to honoring your daughter at the reunion, and would love for you to come and talk with her classmates, but I am sorry to tell you that since the event is at a bar [or a cocktail hour, or whatever it is] children have not been included in our invitations. Right now we're doing our best to gather up interest and get everyone to RSVP (I'm sure you can imagine trying to wrangle 200 adults!) so we will absolutely keep you informed once we know more."

    It may sting her a little, but such is life. I'd also check with the venue--it's possible THEY don't allow kids, either, so you might be off the hook there.
    This. 

    I feel bad for the mom. I think she's just grieving and may be desperate for a connection to her daughter, and maybe she thinks being around all her daughter's old classmates will give her that connection? I remember when my best friend died I was desperate to know everyone who knew him. I don't know what I thought it would help, but I just needed that connection to him. So I kind of get why she wants to come and bring her daughter's daughters. (And side note, I never ended up reaching out to anyone he knew that I didn't know already because I was sure they'd think it was just weird). 

    On the flip side, though, this is a reunion for the CLASS. It's equally meant to be about every member of the class. It's not about the one person they lost, and it's not a memorial. If no kids are allowed, then no kids are allowed. The mom needs to realize that this may not be the best or most appropriate way for them to grieve. Just be gentle but honest. I think it would be nice of you to allow the mom to stop by, but it would seem inappropriate to have just these two kids there. 
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    I would just say "I'm sorry if there has been any misunderstanding, but this is a private event and tickets are only available for (high school/year) students and their partners." And maybe "we'll have small memorial for those who express interest; if you'd like to contribute a photo of (daughter) we'd be happy to include it."

    It's awful that this woman's daughter died, but it's not your responsibility to provide her with what she's looking for.

    I think this. And I'd think you'd need to include all/both people who have passed, or neither.

     

    I've seen at some just a running slide show, where you ask the attendees to submit photos of their achievements or whatever. So, if that's suzy with her 9 kids or jake with his PHD or whatever. Then you can kind of celebrate everyone, and have a memorial slide for the people who have passed.

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    I think the PPs have given some great ideas of how to respond. It might be nice if the Mom can stop by, maybe she has specific memories of classmates she hasn't seen in awhile. Or something.

    A memorial slideshow would be a nice touch. Or maybe their senior pictures on a table or stand off to the side to represent the people who have been lost from your class.

    Weirdest to me, is why that mom would want to bring her grandchildren. What are they going to do there? There aren't any other kids to play with. There are people in their Mom's life who knew her better. If they needed to talk to someone, I'm sure they could set up a separate time to meet. I would feel supremely awkward as the one or two random kids in a group of adults I don't know.
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    I would just say "I'm sorry if there has been any misunderstanding, but this is a private event and tickets are only available for (high school/year) students and their partners." And maybe "we'll have small memorial for those who express interest; if you'd like to contribute a photo of (daughter) we'd be happy to include it."

    It's awful that this woman's daughter died, but it's not your responsibility to provide her with what she's looking for.

    This exactly, a HS reunion is no place for children, regardless of the circumstances.  It's a terrible thing what happened to her daughter and grief I hard.  Having a moment for those who passed is nice and appropriate, but this event is not about her daughter passing and should not be turned into that.

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    Maybe I'm also a cold-hearted bitch, but nope. Kids are not invited to a 10 year high school reunion. Nope nope nope. And I'm actually feeling the same about the mom. If she wants to reach out to some of her daughter's friends and meet up with them on her own time, fine. But the class reunion is for people from '05 (or whatever) to get together. Not people from '05 plus their parents/kids.

    We had some really tragic losses in our class of two well known kids - one got hit by a car and one died of cancer unexpectedly. I didn't go to our reunion, but people said their senior pictures were in frames on the name tag table with a little thing that said "Remembering John Smith..." There was no further memorial, moment of silence or anything. There's a time and place for that and reunions aren't it.
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    Wouldn't being in a room full of her daughter's counterparts who are happily leading their lives make her more sad? I admittedly could not understand that grieving process, but I can't imagine wanting to do that.

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    Wow, this is rough.

    I think the kind but clear route is best: "We are looking forward to honoring your daughter at the reunion, and would love for you to come and talk with her classmates, but I am sorry to tell you that since the event is at a bar [or a cocktail hour, or whatever it is] children have not been included in our invitations. Right now we're doing our best to gather up interest and get everyone to RSVP (I'm sure you can imagine trying to wrangle 200 adults!) so we will absolutely keep you informed once we know more."

    It may sting her a little, but such is life. I'd also check with the venue--it's possible THEY don't allow kids, either, so you might be off the hook there.

    I like this wording. I agree with PPs; it's extremely sad that this person died and of course it's nice to do some kind of memorial moment for her, but  this isn't the time or place for the mother to attend with the children to make this into a memorial event.

    I think as long as you're kind in your wording (ie above), don't feel bad about having to say no.

    Formerly martha1818

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    We had our 20-year in October.  There were framed pictures on a table of the classmates who had died.  That's the extent of the memorials, and I think that's all there needed to be. 
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    I think that memorials at reunions are grossly inappropriate unless they are requested by people attending or former students who are doing the organizing and hear that other students would like it.

    And deceased student's Mom bringing the kids? No.
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    This is sad. And not okay for her to ask. 

    I would tell her very kindly that it was considered, but that even if a memorial is displayed, children won't be invited, and there is a no minors policy in place at the venue. (You just put it there. It works.)

    @KatieinBkln said it perfectly, I think.

    It would be so much more appropriate for her to speak to her daughter's closest friends privately. If she invited them to lunch or something in her own home, they'd be able to visit with and meet the kids without being interrupted by the adult cocktail partying fun. 

    Grief makes it understandable that she would ask something like this, but at the same time, it's doesn't make it okay to ask, and that's the way it goes. 

    I've said before that it's not okay to propose memorials for people outside of your own family, because it's intrusive, and not your place. It's also not okay to propose personal memorials at other people's events. Same reason. It's intrusive and not your party. Even heartbroken people need to be polite. 
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    I agree it is a REUNION, not a MEMORIAL.  And yes, if you plan on making a big deal about this girl, you would need to make a big deal about every person who passed away in the class.  I feel for the mom, but its not the time or place to have a second memorial for her daughter.  I think the framed senior portrait will be a nice touch.  Your class should be celebrating coming together, not mourning those that cannot be there.  PPs gave some nice wording options on how to address the mom.  Hope it all works out.
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    I don't think it's cold hearted at all to feel like it isn't the time or place. That's a tough spot this lady has put you all in.

    Side note- People were miffed at not having 5 year reunion? I liked high school and all but I don't intend to go to any reunions at all. But I also graduated with 1,300 people in my senior class.. so.

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     fka dallasbetch 


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    Thanks everyone! I needed some back up that this was inappropriate and we weren't being cold. We have established the no children and she took that ok. As far as attending she was told invites are for classmates only, but she could talk to her daughter's friends about being one of their guests....

    I liked the framed sr class picture idea. I just hope its just those 2 kids and that we don't miss some one! This is a trade school with a school district of 13 towns... so it would be easy to have one slip through the cracks :(

    As far as the 5 year. Around the 7 year mark people started freaking out on our FB group and all but called for the head of our class president. It got a little ugly. People were like; "let's just throw something together and party in the woods like we used to!".... um yea we are adults that can legally drink now....
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    Thanks everyone! I needed some back up that this was inappropriate and we weren't being cold. We have established the no children and she took that ok. As far as attending she was told invites are for classmates only, but she could talk to her daughter's friends about being one of their guests....

    I liked the framed sr class picture idea. I just hope its just those 2 kids and that we don't miss some one! This is a trade school with a school district of 13 towns... so it would be easy to have one slip through the cracks :(

    As far as the 5 year. Around the 7 year mark people started freaking out on our FB group and all but called for the head of our class president. It got a little ugly. People were like; "let's just throw something together and party in the woods like we used to!".... um yea we are adults that can legally drink now....
    Well this happened for my 10 year. They started a FB page and booked a restaurant and within 6 months only 8 people had bought tickets. There was just NO interest from anyone so they started a new FB page that said "we're ging to this bar on this date anyone welcome". I went and I don't even know why because it was the same 20 people that I see around town and that was it.

                                                                     

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    jenna8984 said:
    Thanks everyone! I needed some back up that this was inappropriate and we weren't being cold. We have established the no children and she took that ok. As far as attending she was told invites are for classmates only, but she could talk to her daughter's friends about being one of their guests....

    I liked the framed sr class picture idea. I just hope its just those 2 kids and that we don't miss some one! This is a trade school with a school district of 13 towns... so it would be easy to have one slip through the cracks :(

    As far as the 5 year. Around the 7 year mark people started freaking out on our FB group and all but called for the head of our class president. It got a little ugly. People were like; "let's just throw something together and party in the woods like we used to!".... um yea we are adults that can legally drink now....
    Well this happened for my 10 year. They started a FB page and booked a restaurant and within 6 months only 8 people had bought tickets. There was just NO interest from anyone so they started a new FB page that said "we're ging to this bar on this date anyone welcome". I went and I don't even know why because it was the same 20 people that I see around town and that was it.
    And that's why this has been so frustrating to plan! People were so mad about there being no 5 year... and guess what? The loudest complainers still haven't purchased tickets. It's like WTF! We still have 4 months so it can turn around still but if it doens't I am going to be BS they demanded this reunion then don't go!
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    Thanks everyone! I needed some back up that this was inappropriate and we weren't being cold. We have established the no children and she took that ok. As far as attending she was told invites are for classmates only, but she could talk to her daughter's friends about being one of their guests....

    I liked the framed sr class picture idea. I just hope its just those 2 kids and that we don't miss some one! This is a trade school with a school district of 13 towns... so it would be easy to have one slip through the cracks :(

    As far as the 5 year. Around the 7 year mark people started freaking out on our FB group and all but called for the head of our class president. It got a little ugly. People were like; "let's just throw something together and party in the woods like we used to!".... um yea we are adults that can legally drink now....
    Can I go ahead and throw out what might be a horrible stereotype and guess that the ones demanding this didn't go away to college? None of my college friends gave a single fuck about celebrating a 5 year HS reunion a year after graduating from college, while the ones who didn't wanted to reminisce about "the good ol' days." Because those weren't the good ol' days anymore; college was.

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    Things like Facebook or Classmates have also given the average person the ability to locate former classmates wherever they are, and I think fewer people attend reunions now in the hopes old friends they have lost track of show up.
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    Thanks everyone! I needed some back up that this was inappropriate and we weren't being cold. We have established the no children and she took that ok. As far as attending she was told invites are for classmates only, but she could talk to her daughter's friends about being one of their guests....

    I liked the framed sr class picture idea. I just hope its just those 2 kids and that we don't miss some one! This is a trade school with a school district of 13 towns... so it would be easy to have one slip through the cracks :(

    As far as the 5 year. Around the 7 year mark people started freaking out on our FB group and all but called for the head of our class president. It got a little ugly. People were like; "let's just throw something together and party in the woods like we used to!".... um yea we are adults that can legally drink now....
    Can I go ahead and throw out what might be a horrible stereotype and guess that the ones demanding this didn't go away to college? None of my college friends gave a single fuck about celebrating a 5 year HS reunion a year after graduating from college, while the ones who didn't wanted to reminisce about "the good ol' days." Because those weren't the good ol' days anymore; college was.
    Yup! Spot on! And honestly I had no desire to even go to a 10 year. But the class president is a good friend of mine and the VP is my best friend. So I of course am going to help them. But honestly I felt like I see and keep in touch with everyone I want to. Although.. while collecting information from the class I realized there were sooo many people I didn't remember. You remember the people you liked, you remember the people you didn't like... but those inbetween get forgotten.  I wouldn't mind catching up with some of those (if this thing even happens!)
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    For the last couple reunions I have been my dad's date, mom doesn't enjoy those kinds of things so I step in because he asks. He just had his 50th (little longer out than yours) so there is a lot of people who are no longer with us. Since I started going they just have a table to remember those who passed, it has a scrapbook of photos and has now turned more into a list. I think something small like that if people would like to look at it would be nice, but this reunion is about your class and not a memorial so I wouldn't do anything big. His class was over 700 kids and as far as I know they haven't missed one or if they have sadly nobody has said anything. 

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    My 10 year reunion ended up getting cancelled due to lack of interest. We had ~950 people in my graduating class.

    As PP's mentioned, I can see what everyone is doing on Facebook and I hang out with the people I want to when I'm in town, I don't need to pay X amount of money to have cocktails with a bunch of people when I can look at Jen's Facebook page and see that she's happily married with 3 kids and living in Phoenix.

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