Mom died in April, Dad planning remarriage!


#1

My Mom passed away last April and my Father was devastated. But now he has taken up with an old friend and they are planning on getting married next June.

Quite honestly, the most difficult part of my Mother’s death was seeing my Father’s grief. He took care of her for three years; she died at home and he made that possible. He very rarely left her side. I don’t want him to be lonely and grief stricken forever. But somehow this seems wrong and on a gut level, I can’t accept what he is about to do.

If I made a stand and started spouting off my opinions about the whole deal, I think it would only serve to alienate me from him and the rest of the family. He’s going to marry her whether his kids are on board or not. Problem is I am having a really hard time coping. I pretend to be open minded and accepting when he is around but on the inside I feel like I am dying.

The icing on the cake is he told me today that he wants my sister and I to stand up for them in the wedding. My sister and I were trying to figure out how we were going to emotionally be able to even attend the wedding. The thought of being a bridesmaid just makes me feel nausiated.

I like some advice on coping strategies. I feel like I am between a rock and a hard place.


#2

I know this seems fast but being alone after a great marriage usually leads those older guys to find someone to share their lives with. I would not express one thing to your dad time for you to get counseling for your issues with your mothers passing. Hopefully you will do this in time to be happy for your father.


#3

My mother remarried a little more than a year after my dad died. It wasn’t because my dad meant so little to her that she immediately forgot about him, it was because she had been very happy being a wife and wanted that again. Her second marriage is still going strong 27 years later. My sister and I were both bridesmaids at their wedding and were thrilled that they were marrying.

In caring for your mother for the three years before she died, your dad faced the reality of her death daily. It is possible that experience has helped him to deal with his emotions more quickly than you or your sister. It must have been very difficult to watch someone that he loved so much slowly decline. It is a wonderful thing that he has not let his love and his hope die with her.

I can understand why you might be concerned about your dad, but maybe the best advice you could give to your dad is to attend some counseling sessions to ensure that he has properly dealt with his grief and is truly ready to move forward. You can let him know how much you want to see him truly happy, and that counseling might help him to ensure that he experiences a lasting happiness. Other than that, realize that he is an adult with a lifetime of experiences. Maybe you need to just let him make the decisions that he needs to make, and be there for him as he prepares to move on.


#4

First let me give you a hug. Now take a deep breath.

Now exhale.

Okay. Eight months have passed since your mom died. I’m sorry for your loss. You are still mourning. So is your dad.

And by him wanting to marry again, he is paying your mother the most sincere of compliments. Obviously to him, marriage and partnership were a good thing and he misses that.

Men don’t do well on their own. If you knew that this old friend of his would prolong HIS life and make him happier and healthier for the next several years, what would you say? Because statistically, men who are married live longer. Widowers don’t do very well.

What would your mother want him to do? Would she want him to be happy? Would she want him to be alone? Would she reward his devotion of three years sitting by her bed slowly watching her die with the task of being alone the rest of his life?

That’s a lot of devotion, by the way. He must be a remarkable and loving man.

And he didn’t find a stranger. And he didn’t tell you after the fact. He has given you six months to get used to the idea. The wedding will be beyond the year-long mourning period. He is being very respectful.

I would not tell him anything angry. Practice saying “If she will make you as happy as mom did, I’m all for it.”

I know this isn’t easy. Your first coping strategy is to meet this woman and see what it is about her that makes your father want to marry her. She may be absolutely delightful and have a lot of personality traits in common with your mother. Pray that God will help you see this woman as your father sees her.

You don’t know if your mother told him during those three years that she wanted him to remarry. Your father has more than honored his vows. If he is ready to marry again, he is paying your mother the highest compliment. And personally, I’d say to pay attention to your dreams. I firmly believe we are often given answers to our fears and concerns while we sleep. Good luck.


#5

He’s lonely. He wants to feel loved and taken care of in those special ways that a wife does again.

As many posters said, men don’t do well on their own. My grandfather would have died 20 years before he did if he had not remarried. He was literally killing himself through neglect and sadness before he married his second wife. She made him happy again and gave him decades of life he wouldn’t have had. He got to be with his children for all those years. He got to meet and know his grandchildren. He got to be part of the family he had built with my grandmother for so much longer, thanks to the love his second wife gave him.

Have compassion for your father, and wish him happiness and long life. This is not about you. It’s about him and the fact that he feels lost and needs an anchor. He has found someone to be that for him… try to understand.


#6

Maybe what you and your sister need is to speak to a mental health professional in an effort to deal with your conflicting emotions at this time. I am sorry for your loss, but life must still continue. If you are having that much trouble coping with the idea of your father remarrying, then you should talk to him about it. Talk not about your mother or his new fiancee, but about your problems dealing with your mother’s death. Tell him that you are not ready yet to be part of the wedding party.
Good luck and I hope that your father will find as much happiness in his new marriage as he did in the first.
On a related note, my wife’s uncle remarried after his first wife (my mother-in-law’s sister) died, and the first anyone knew of it was a telegram from the Caribbean telling everyone he was enjoying his honeymoon. He is the only man I know who celebrated his twenty-fifth wedding anniversary… twice.

Matthew


#7

I know more than a few men who married less than two years after their wives deaths. They had happy marriages. I think men with good marriages look to remain married. Also men don’t deal well with being alone as well as women do. I know women who have never remarried years and years after their husband’s deaths but most widowed men remarry and remarry quickly.


#8

You’ve received great advice from great people here…I just want to send you a hug and a prayer.


#9

alto it may seem quick after her death, he took care of her while she was dying and that went on for 3 years. During that kind of time period the grieving is done while the person is still living and the death comes as a welcome and merciful relief. Don’t judge him too harshly, if he is in his right mind about things, he probably already discussed this with your mother and has her blessing. I am sure she would not want him lonely for a long time. He needs the comfort of another companion after the long sad years of your mom’s illness.


#10

it seems the most natural thing in the world that a man who enjoyed a loving marriage and has buried his beloved would want to remarry. It is a tribute to his first marriage, and to his first wife.

If OP will re-read what she his written she may find that she herself has stated the problem, separating her own feelings and her own grieving for her mother, from her father’s situation, feelings and needs. If she and her sister can bring themselves to put their father first (as I have no doubt their mother did in her lifetime) they may realize his wisdom in taking this step.

OP probably already knows this truth, that grieving takes its own time, and cannot be dictated, and there is no way to “get over it” artificially, but making plans for the future without the loved one is a key step.

to my mind, a sadder scenario when a spouse dies, is that the widow tries to make the children supply their emotional needs, sometimes in unhealthy, dominant or manipulative ways.

If the family has not had the chance to openly discuss their grief, revisiting memories of their wife and mother, now would be a good time. OP and her sister may also find, because it is very common, that in taking care of her in her illness and seeing her decline daily, their father already did a lot of his grieving even before her actual death, which was in a way a closure and a summation of grief, not its beginning.


#11

You note that your father cared for your mother for three years of illness. My father died after being paralysed for five years by a stroke. My mother told me that she did much of her grieving during those years of caring for him. While death was hard, it had been forseen and mourned already.

While I have not experienced it, many who have have told me of the sorrow of watching a loved one slip away minute by minute, day by day. While they mourn the death when it come, it is almost a relief when the loved ones suffering is over.


#12

My brother was widowed two years ago, and is getting married again in March. He was only 27 when his wife died suddenly, and it threw him into a tailspin. I think some men were meant to be husbands, and can’t handle being alone. My brother told me that it was the simple daily habits of being married that he missed.

People were very judgmental when he went on a date with his now-fiancee. It was only four months after my SIL had died. He was not looking for marriage, just for friendship. He found the second love of his life. They waited one year to announce their engagement and another year to get married. Still people talk.

We all have needs for love and affection, companionship, someone to talk to at the end of the day. I don’t think my brother dishonoured his late wife’s memory by falling in love again.

I don’t think your father is dishonouring your mother’s memory by getting married again. He had longer to get used to the idea of being widowed. Some people need to be in a marriage to be happy.


#13

You didn’t say how old your dad is, but after caring for your mom for 3 years, he has first hand knowledge of the uncertainty of life, and how to savor what time you are given. If he is finding companionship with this woman, and someone to ease his lonliness, he may not see the need for a long engagement. He is however, being respectful by waiting a year.

I do feel your pain. When my dad had only been gone for 8 months, I was still reeling from the loss, and couldn’t imagine my mom seeing someone new.

It is said that men who had good marriages marry again quickly, women in bad marriages don’t. My dad has been gone 27 years, and in that time my mom never looked at another man. She had been unhappily married for 30something years and was glad for her freedom.

Your dad must have been in a great marriage.

I know its hard, but try to be happy for him. Even if you can’t be a bridesmaid. Tell him honestly that being a bridesmaid is just too hard for you do so soon, he will probably appreciate your honesty. Don’t burn any bridges, and maybe in time you can come to accept his new wife as someone who makes your dad happy.


#14

Please do not take this the wrong way, but maybe this is your issue and not necessarily your dad’s issue?

You need to explore whether this “gut feeling” is just based on your grief or if it is indeed discernment of the Holy Spirit. I urge you to pray about it and ask God for direction, wisdom and peace.

There seems to be nothing wrong morally, scripturally about this remarriage.

I would encourage you to recommend to your father to seek counsel from a pastor or Christian Counselor to make sure he is properly dealing with the grief and even do some premarital counseling. That would be wise.

Proverbs encourages us that there is safety in the multitude of counsel. So encourage your father in that direction.

Maybe even some family counseling with your father and his children. I can assure you your family will be closer, stronger and more intimate if you go through counseling together with a good counselor that let’s each of you share your feelings and one that helps you all stand with each other during the grief and the transition of bringing in a new member to the family so close to your mother’s death.

WOW. The more I think about it, the better family counseling sounds. I say you make the appointment and invite your family.

Be Blessed


#15

I know it’s difficult, but think about your dad. He was a great husband to your mom and he took care of her when she was alive. He deserves to have a companion and to be happy. Be happy for him. You have your own life and you won’t be able to be there all the time like a companion will.

Treat this woman as best as possible. She will be the one to care for your father like no one else will.

I will pray so that you may reach some peace in your heart.

It will take time, but eventually you can learn to accept little by little. Start by accepting that your dad needs a companion to share all that he cannot share with you and your siblings. Again, it will take time. Several birthdays, holidays, special times shared together with your dad and his significant other. Give it a try. Give her a chance. No one will ever compare to your mom. No one will ever be your mom, however, your dad has all the right to live a happy life now that your mom is no longer here, physically.


#16

:console:

Beyond you mother’s recent death, do you have any objective reasons for opposing his re-marriage to this particular woman? For example, will your father marry her in the Catholic Church? Apart from this woman not being you mother, does she have any huge character flaws or are there other issues that give you concern? While I agree with what others have written about re-marriage, not every widow or widower chooses new marriage partners wisely.


#17

If it were me, I would put my feelings aside and be happy for your father. No one will ever replace your mother. Just be thankful that he will have someone so he won’t have to be alone at this stage of his life.
Look at it this way, if you were married and your spouse died, would you want to be alone the rest of your days? Probably not, so why should he? Just because your father is older, doesn’t mean he should be unhappy for the rest of his life.

Kathy


#18

You are so right. I see this everyday at the hospice where I volunteer and work with families. Grief is different for everyone and it is not good to compare one persons way of dealing with it to anothers.


#19

I have two uncles (they’re the in-laws) who watched their wives die from cancer at young ages (both aunts died in their thirties of breast cancer). One uncle made a bad choice of spouses, one made a good choice.

The one who made a good choice was the same one who remarried a little over a year after my aunt’s death. He married a friend from high school. His daughter (my cousin) was a teen and was somewhat okay with the idea b/c she was by her dad’s side all those years he took care of her mother as she was dying in their house.

The day she died, my dad and other aunt were upset that my cousin and uncle went to an amusement park instead of being their on her last day (they were there when she took her last breath at the hospice, which she entered only a few days earlier because she didn’t want to actually die in the house). Well, my uncle and cousin said that they had already said their goodbyes and made peace with her death.

They still miss her but have continued to live just as she had told them she had wished for them. My uncle’s second wife will never replace my aunt in his nor my cousin’s heart, but she has been a wonderful blessing for them. My cousin was happy for her dad when he decided to remarry because she wanted her dad to be happy again. She knew that one day she would move on with her life and find someone to share her life with and that her father deserved the same. I guess she had some decent wisdom as a teen but I’m sure that her conversations with her mom through those years helped her too.

OP I don’t know what type of conversations you had with your mother while she was dying, but I know that the intimacy of being with a loved one most of the time through their death is one of the most precious forms of intimacy a person can experience. If your father was taking care of her that whole time, I can tell you that they had conversations about this exact moment that you’re in and I think it would be safe to assume that your father has your mother’s blessing.


#20

MIL also remarried after nursing her husband after stroke for 5 years (and if he makes it to heaven, she will be largely responsible). She and her new husband (who had nursed his wife until her death from cancer) had both been advised by their priests and their doctors to stop moping around and join the seniors group at church, which they did. They started “dating” going to dinner or shows with other members of the group, became a couple, and she called on winter night asking if it would be okay if she stayed in the other half of his duplex all night because of the weather. Of course. They both talked to their priest before deciding to marry, which they did, 8 months after the man’s wife had died.

The only children who were upset were the two daughters on either side. Every one else was overjoyed they had found someone, as both are the type who need to care for someone, and who need to be cared for. They had 10 contented years full of travel, grandkids, companship and love, for which the whole family is grateful. She nursed him first through a heart attack and then through cancer. He died the same time as Pope John Paul. Both could have been lonely and bitter, and a burden on their children had they not been willing to take a chance on marriage again.

Oddly enough, during the time he was in hospice, it became apparent, and she herself admits it, that his daughter had alot of issues going back years, with her mother and her father, she had not worked through, and her resentment at the time of the marriage reflected those issues, as much as her own grief. She knows she and her own family have also been enriched and helped by this relationship, and continue to look after and help support Mom, in accord with her husband’s wishes, and will do so, along with her own children, until she dies.


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