Mum died in Jan, Dad "moving on"

(25 Posts)
CinemaParadiso Sun 30-May-10 12:32:14

My Mum & Dad were married for 51 years, but sadly my Mum died of cancer in January. My Dad (who's 72) bumped into an old female friend of theirs a few months after Mum died. He soon started visiting her regularly & going out for meals with her. My Dad was very honest about what he was doing & said they were just friends and that he enjoyed having some female company, especially someone he could reminisce with. I was pleased he'd found a friend, especially as we live over 2 hours away & have 2 young DDs, so can't see my Dad as often as I'd like.

But recently, I've started to think my Dad is now having a relationship with this lady as he is always going round for meals & has met her son & her friends. I know he wants me to meet her when we next visit him. The problem is that I find it so hard to think of my Dad with someone else. I still miss my Mum so much & often cry when I think about her. I DO want my Dad to be happy and am pleased he has someone who wants to spend time with him and look after him. But I just don't like the idea of meeting her yet as it's only just over 4 months since Mum died. Sorry about the long waffle....I'm not even sure what I want people to say!!

OP’s posts: |
Alicetheinvisible Sun 30-May-10 12:37:47

sad that sounds so hard.

The same thing happened with FIL. My grandparents said that tbh, later on in life you don't want to waste too much time. It has been hard on DH though, so i can totally understand.

FIL is now remarried, but not to the first woman he started 'seeing' after MIL died. It may just be his way of coping smile

FiveGoMadInDorset Sun 30-May-10 12:40:24

My FIL got remarried 9 months after his wife died, it was to her sister and he had been having an affair with her for years.

PrettyCandles Sun 30-May-10 12:55:18

She doesn't replace your mum. Not for you and not for your dad. She adds to the love and comfort your dad feels. Because your dad has found someone who eases his grief it doesn't mean that it's time for you to stop grieving - you do it at your own pace.

It doesn't get easier, either. A good friend of mine, who works with teens and young adults, and is truly gifted in her job, has had the greatest difficulty building a good relationship with the children of her dh. He is a widower and his dc were between 18 and mid 20s when he and my friend became an item, but they resented her and were angry with their dad because they felt it was too soon after their mum's death. Their mum had died three years before their dad met my friend.

Sorry to hear about your loss. sad

Earlybird Sun 30-May-10 13:32:44

So sorry to hear about your Mum. How long was she ill? If a long time, perhaps that is why your Dad is ready to 'move on' quickly.

It must be very difficult for all of you.

CinemaParadiso Sun 30-May-10 16:19:38

Earlybird - my Mum was ill for about 2.5 years & my Dad did an amazing job caring for her at home.

OP’s posts: |
Earlybird Sun 30-May-10 16:25:05

Lovely of your Dad to care for your Mum so beautifully.

2.5 years is a long time to care for someone in a terminal condition.

Do you think it is possible your Dad did his grieving while she was ill, and as her health deteriorated? If so, that may be why he seems to be 'moving on' quickly since her death......not that it makes it easier for you.

CinemaParadiso Sun 30-May-10 16:37:38

Earlybird - Yes I think he did start to grieve for my Mum before she died (and to some extent I did too). I know life was especially hard for my Dad as he is a very active, sociable man (plays golf, bowls, enjoys a pint, loves to go on holiday etc) & life was "put on hold" while he cared for my Mum.

OP’s posts: |
zabyzoo Sun 30-May-10 16:39:54

5gomad - wow! That must have been so tough!

venusonarockbun Sun 30-May-10 16:42:18

So sorry to hear about your loss. I know how you feel. Exactly the same happened with my Dad. I felt it was just so hasty. I am a bit embarrassed now about how I reacted (this was many years ago by the way). I think I ended up screaming at him - you know the usual - what was he thinking of; too soon; Mums not even been gone 5 minutes. It didnt last. I really dont know what to say to you or what the answer is. Its just so hard.

DanJARMouse Sun 30-May-10 16:44:23

I can relate to how you must be feeling.

My mum died in August 2004, at the age of 48. My dad is 52 now and luckily has not made any attempts to "move on" and to be honest, Im not sure he ever will. He used to joke about finding someone new but I was a selfish cow and put him in his place about the fact that NO ONE could EVER replace mum.

I think 5 months is a little too soon, but then a friend of mines mum died and within 2 months his step-dad (but brought him up from the age of 2) was seeing someone else and had virtually moved her into the family home. Friend didnt take it too well, and doesnt really see dad anymore.

I think it will take some time for you to accept this new woman, regardless of whether it is friendship or something more. Have you spoken to your dad about how you feel?

CinemaParadiso Sun 30-May-10 16:48:16

Alicetheinvisible - How did your DH cope with his Dad having a new woman in his life?

FivegomadinDorset - Sorry to hear what happened with your FIL. Must have been a big shock for the family.

Prettycandles - thank you for your wise words. Made me cry!

OP’s posts: |
Theyremybiscuits Sun 30-May-10 16:52:31

I lost my mum two years and my dad and her had been married 46 years.

8 months after he started 'seeing' an old friend of both my parents. They had a long history of friendship and being work colleagues.

The lady's husband died some years ago.

I was DEVASTATED when he told me about their relationship.
Mums death was still so raw.

Now I can see he could not have carried on without company and would have died of loneliness.

He is still here (he was very ill also) and they have a nice time together.
My mums memory is here and he still weeps when we talk of her.
She will never be forgotten, but I did find it very very hard in the beginning.

Take care x

oopsnotagain Sun 30-May-10 16:53:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CinemaParadiso Sun 30-May-10 16:57:15

DanJARMouse - No, I haven't spoken to my Dad at all about how I feel. We never talk about our emotions. In fact my Dad maintained a stiff upper lip when my Mum died & I never saw him cry, not even at the funeral (but I think that's just his way of coping). I think I should talk to him, but don't know what to say/where to start. My lovely DH has offered to talk to my Dad for me.

Venusonarockbun - What did your Dad say when you told him what you thought?

OP’s posts: |
venusonarockbun Sun 30-May-10 17:35:54

Cinema - it was so long ago I cannot really remember his reaction. I vaguely seem to recall him saying he needed company. I dont know why I acted as I did but as someone else said - My Mums death was still so raw and somehow I thought it was being disrespectful in some way.

Thediaryofanobody Sun 30-May-10 17:41:42

Whilst it up to your dad how he leads his life he doesn't need to involve you in it. I'd tell him your glad he has some company but at the moment you don't want to meet or talk about her.

sayithowitis Thu 03-Jun-10 12:00:43

It is hard for you, because you have lost your mum. But he has lost his wife, the woman who shared 51 years of his life. You have a family, or at least a DH who is still there, to hold you and comfort you when you need it, to share a joke, to reminisce about old times. Who does your Dad have? Are you there 24/7/365 for him? He has different needs to you. He is the one (presumably) now living alone. I can't imagine how I would feel, going to bed alone and waking up alone everyday and I haven't been married to DH nearly as long as your parents were. When my Sted-Dad died, my mum always said it was lovely to see family, but the worst thing was knowing that at the end of the visit, once the door closed behind them, she was on her own again.

Maybe you think you are being disrespectful to your mum's memory if you meet this lady. Personally, I would rather think it is a tribute to your mum and the quality of the marriage they had, that your Dad feels able to have another relationship. Your mum had been ill for a long time and your dad cared for her. Many men, especially when they are getting on in years, would not have taken that on. But he did. Because he loved your mum. The fact that he has a new friend does not diminish that love in any way. As somebody else said, it is entirely possible he did a lot of his grieving during your mum's illness. Therefore, he is more ready to move his life on than you, because with the best will in the world, with your young family, I don't suppose you were able to be there as often as you would have liked and when you have a young family, quite rightly, they are your priority. But it means that you weren't seeing her go downhill daily as your dad did. It means that your grieving was 'stored' until she passed.

Look at what you get from your DH. The support, the love, the companionship. Would you really deny your dad that just because you felt it was too early for him?

DastardlyandSmugly Thu 03-Jun-10 12:26:13

This is quite a common thing I believe and it happened when my mum died.

Mum died in August 1988, Dad met someone in October, introduced us to her in November, got engaged at Christmas and married the following March.

A lot of mum's side of the family felt it was disrespectful to mum and were hurt and upset. Some of them fell out with dad about it.

The way I saw it was that he loved mum so much that he couldn't live without her so he deliberately looked for a replacement. It helped me deal with it by thinking of it in that way.

Unfortunately it wasn't a happy marriage and my step-mum has left him with absolutely nothing and he's now in a home - although that's all by the by.

mrsgordonfreeman Thu 03-Jun-10 12:40:40

This happened to my dad too. He looked after my mum for nearly 4 years until she died in May 2006 at 60. He was seeing a female friend of his by December and married her in August 2008.

I think he had her lined up, as it were. Other posters have said that people tend to move faster as they get older and I think that can be true. Dad could not cope with being alone. He had done his mourning before Mum died. His wife is not a replacement. She is part of a new phase in his life and, most importantly, makes him happy.

I would try and respect your dad's choices, unless you feel there is some exploitation going on. It was hard for me but Dad has never demanded that I love his new wife, or forget Mum. I treat her with respect and have become quite fond of her. The only issue is that I feel I cannot talk about Mum when Dad's new wife is around as it makes her uncomfortable... and she's always around.

DadInsteadofMum Thu 03-Jun-10 21:49:18

May I offer a perspective from the other side.

I am not looking to replace DW, she was irreplaceable, when it happens it will be a way to not be quite so lonely.

expatinscotland Thu 03-Jun-10 21:53:34

The neighbour down the street, her husband died after a long illness.

She remarried 6 months later.

I can't tell you how much it jacked up her kids.

Now, in adulthood, two of them don't have any contact with her and three have minimal contact.

ilovemydogandMrObama Thu 03-Jun-10 22:06:05

The fact that your dad's friend knew your mother was probably a huge attraction to him. In this sense, it's really quite respectful of your mother and her memory that he chose a companion who, may not have been close to your mother, at least knew her. He probably spends a good deal of time talking about her, and she listens. He is missing a companion, wife, friend, mother to his children and a history. So, in some small part, he wants to keep that part of her alive and have a small connection with the past.

Meet this woman. Tell her your concerns, namely that you think it's too soon, or rather that it feels too soon for you and that you want more time to come to terms with your mom not being around before you come to terms with this relationship. Or just say, 'I miss my mom.'

But think it's lovely that your dad essentially wants your approval.

onlyjoking9329 Fri 04-Jun-10 15:35:49

sorry to hear that your mum died so recently.
i can understand your upset, it might feel like your mum can be easily replaced and very quickly too. i dont think thats how your dad would see it, your dad looked after your mum in sickness and in health until she died, when someone is terminally ill the grieving process starts before death and often feels like a limbo period, im not surprized that your dad wants to be around someone wether it be a friend or something more, its very lonely being a widow, it can feel like all your future plans and dreams have died with the spouse. ( i had the distraction of 3 kids)
i guess the other worry you might have is, what is this woman after? will she take advantage of my dad?
give it a bit of time, it might be short lived it might not.
my husband died 2 years ago, i started to see someone after 16 months, for us it has worked well people have mostly been happy for us and the 5 children we have between us.

FabIsGoingToGetFit Fri 04-Jun-10 15:40:38

It is hard for all of you I am sure.

I think you have to accept that everyone is different and if your dad is happy that is all that matters.

Nothing can bring your mum back so your dad might as well try and make a new life for himself.

Nothing will replace your mum but you might gain a friend.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in