I certainly sympathize with the couple who sent the invitation. I'm confident that they struggled with how to address it as well. They really couldn't win. Address it to just me, making it obvious that my husband really was dead, and expect me to endure the beginning of their happily-ever-after all alone? Or address it as they did, making it obvious that most people attend weddings as one half of a pair, but allow me to make the decision as to whether or not to drag some poor soul along. I wound up not attending the wedding at all partly because I couldn't bear the thought of how painful it would be (regardless of how honestly happy I was for the couple) and partly because I had no idea who I would bring. My mom? My sister? My 2-year-old son?
Part of the sting of this situation is that I got married at the age of 34. I went to many a wedding as "Wendy and Guest" and a lot of times it was just "Wendy." When I married Chris, I thought my "and Guest" days were over. It never occurred to me that I would be relegated back to this god forsaken place of no guaranteed dance partner so soon. I don't like being in this place (can you hear the temper tantrum starting?). This place is filled with uncertainty about whether I will ever go anywhere again as something other than "Wendy and Guest." Let's face it, this place is....lonely.
After two and a half years, I think it is finally starting to dawn on me that life is going on without Chris. As much as I want him here with me, my life is moving forward and I am starting to envision what the next phase will look like. Instead of seeing "Wendy and Guest", I'm starting to see "Wendy and _____." I guess that is what some people might call healing. And that is a good thing.
By the way, if you are inviting me to an event before _______ appears, invitations addressed to "Wendy and George Clooney", "Wendy and Hugh Jackman", or "Wendy and Patrick Dempsey" will be perfectly acceptable.