A sad brother-in-law at the Tigers game?
September 25, 2009 9:06 PM   Subscribe

How should I (or just should I) ask my bereaved brother-in-law to a baseball game next week?

My brother-in-law's mother recently, suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. The funeral is tomorrow, and I unfortunately can't make it because of some mandatory training programs for my job. Both he and my sister know, and understand that I would rather be there to support them, so this isn't one of those touchy 'they're mad at me' situations or anything. Baseball ticket does not equal emotional bribery here.

Instead, I just want to give him and my sister something to take their minds off their grief, even if only for a few hours. (For what it's worth, we are all Tigers fans and the game is against division rivals, the White Sox, after a pivotal four game series with the Twins, who trail the Tigers by only two games right now - in other words, should be an interesting and fun game.) I already have the tickets and would have absolutely no problem finding two other people to see the game with me, but I would rather keep it in the family if it's in good taste.

At that point it would be about two weeks since his mother's unexpected death. Too soon for baseball, good sister-in-law gesture, or what?

I'm thinking the best way to do it would be to just say that I have two extra tickets for the game next Saturday, and would they like to go, and keep all mention of the sad badness out of the conversation. Good way to go?

I don't know. He's an ex-Marine and so kind of stiff upper lip about everything, and I'm bad at the whole grieving process thing.
posted by palindromic to Human Relations (20 answers total)
"Hey, man, I know things have been rough, but I've got a few extra tickets to the game next week. Would you like to go?"

If he's a big Tigers fan, no time is the wrong time.
posted by inturnaround at 9:11 PM on September 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

I suggest you say you have an extra ticket if he's available.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:11 PM on September 25, 2009

Of course you can ask. It's up to him if he accepts. There is no rule. If it was the day after, that would be something different. Perhaps ask your sister to broach it with him as she is one step removed from the pain and will know the best time. If you decide to ask yourself, don't mention it till after the funeral.

And yes, it's a good sister in law gesture. Have fun. And I"m sorry about your brother law's mum.
posted by taff at 9:12 PM on September 25, 2009

Great gesture, leave the whole dying mother thing out of the conversation.

You can take them both, but be sure to ask HIM directly, not via or with your sister: tickets to the ball game is exactly the kind of thing a he-man, gruff-gruff type will grumblingly accept and remember later.

Good sister-in-law!
posted by rokusan at 9:21 PM on September 25, 2009 [3 favorites]

I think it's a great gesture. People are always trying to and welcome to help relieve grief by doing things for their family members, and I would appreciate tickets to a game I might be interested in more than the 7th casserole.

I would offer the tickets as a,"Hey I have some free tickets if you're interested in going," and leaving it at that.
posted by itsonreserve at 9:24 PM on September 25, 2009

Everyone deals with death differently.
MY mom is still alive, and I don't know how I would respond to her unexpected death, but
as a guy who has dealt with grieving, I'm with taff here.

Make the offer to your sister first.
She will know the right time to pitch it to your b-i-l.

I suspect that he will go to the game, and if I were in his place,
I would appreciate it. It is a sweet gesture.
posted by at the crossroads at 9:29 PM on September 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

nthing the suggestion that you just make it a friendly invitation without putting it in the context of bereavement - he already knows that you're aware of his loss and will be doing anything possible to help, and when you're in the middle of loss, sometimes what you crave is something to remind you that your normal life is still there waiting for you and that not everything in it revolves around your loss.
posted by Lolie at 9:31 PM on September 25, 2009

"I have two extra tickets to the game with your name on them if you're interested."
posted by The World Famous at 10:09 PM on September 25, 2009

Absolutely ask him. He might appreciate an honest-to-goodness chance to take a break from grieving and do something normal and happy-making. Even if he says no, he'll appreciate the thought and the invitation.
posted by honeybee413 at 10:10 PM on September 25, 2009

Oh, totally offer the tickets. Offering them the day his mother passed would be tacky, two weeks later is awesome.

If you sense a flicker of conflicted feelings, you can always say something appropriately chilled-out -- "hey, it's totally up to you. They won't go to waste either way, but I thought you'd like to go and hey, Tigers."
posted by desuetude at 10:21 PM on September 25, 2009

Nthing asking him.
If he isn't ready to go he'll tell you. that's fine.

I assume he doesn't need a governess telling him how to grieve.
posted by mce at 10:40 PM on September 25, 2009

All good advice. Definitely ask.

However, I've been the person on the other end (a griever offered otherwise-awesome event tickets) and I chose to decline, so don't be shocked if he doesn't attend.

Invite him, but maybe do it over email or text rather than in person-- he may need the space to think about the offer and determine whether or not it's right for him.
posted by samthemander at 10:43 PM on September 25, 2009 [2 favorites]

I'd go.
posted by philip-random at 10:47 PM on September 25, 2009

I think you should offer him/them the tickets about a week after the funeral. He won't have quite so much on his mind by then and it would be a great diversion to an otherwise sad time. He'll be looking for something to take his mind of of the passing. If your really not sure about asking him, ask your sister to mention it to him as others have said. Tell her they can think about it for a few days if he needs that. I wouldn't mention the funeral at all, it will probably be obvious anyways why your doing it.

Good for you. Its the perfect change of pace. It'll do all of you good.

I hope they go and of course, I hope his team wins.
posted by Taurid at 11:46 PM on September 25, 2009

I'm sorry to hear of your family's loss, and hope everyone deals with it well.

Looks like you've got a consensus here, which I'd summarize: sounds like a great idea, let him know you have the tickets, wait until a while after the funeral, it's his call if he comes, going through your sister is a good idea, and be prepared if he doesn't want to go (although I imagine he will).

Full disclosure, though: I'm originally from the Twin Cities and have the attendant baseball loyalties.
posted by tellumo at 12:05 AM on September 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

Absolutely offer. If he doesn't want to go he doesn't have to, no obligation. After mom died, we found that the best thong we could do was hang out and try to have a good time. This is just a chance to hang out, and who knows, pretty soon you guys are talking balls and strikes and should they sacrifice the runner over or swing away... And for a while, at least, he'll be occupied with good things instead of sadness. Make the offer, by all means
posted by azpenguin at 12:11 AM on September 26, 2009

FWIW, I don't think this is a "go thru your sister" kind of thing. Ask your BIL directly, this increases your bond with him.
And yes, this may be just what he needs. It gives him a chance to have conversations that are not about his loss, but just a baseball loss (or win).
posted by readery at 5:12 AM on September 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

It sounds like a nice gesture that will be appreciated.

One small thing: there is no such thing as an ex-Marine. Retired / Former Marine, yes. But once you're in, you're in for life.
posted by charmcityblues at 7:02 AM on September 26, 2009

Yes, I suggested talk to him directly and alone because if he's really a grrrr manly man he'll appreciate that. He might also be more likely to go if it's up to him, rather than something "the two women" conspired over and he's pushed into doing.
posted by rokusan at 12:38 PM on September 26, 2009

I would offer, I'd also say don't be scared to ask him how he's doing and/or mention the death--he is not going to forget it any time soon, believe me. Sometimes it's a relief to be able to talk about it.
posted by kathrineg at 12:52 AM on September 27, 2009

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