JulieAnnaJones98 Posted January 3, 2015 Report Share Posted January 3, 2015 I am having a really hard time coming to terms with my mother dating after my father's death, and how it has changed her. I am 34, her oldest of 5 kids, with 3 boys of my own, and after some recent events, I am truly worried about the future of this family and am at a loss of what to do. And I apologize in advance for writing such a long post here, but I just want to share a little background into my situation, as it all has a bearing on how I am dealing with (or not) all of this. My father passed away almost a year ago now, on Jan. 16, 2014, at age 54. He had been diagnosed with metastatic adenoid cystic carcinoma 9 months earlier, but it had been spreading from a tumor on his neck to his spine & legs for quite some time. At the time of his diagnosis, we were told this was a non-terminal type of cancer, and he was expected to react well to treatments (which he did, at first). However, I found out later that he did get a terminal diagnosis, with less than 1 year expectancy, but chose not to tell the family. During this whole time, my mother was his primary care giver, taking him to treatment centers & appointments, hauling him and the wheelchair around, bathing him, at his every beck & call, and in the later months/weeks, feeding him and changing adult diapers. It was a 24/7 job, and rough time for her, to say the least. I cannot even begin to image what she went through during that time. A few weeks after he passed away, my mom went to visit her sister in Seattle for some much needed, and deserved, R & R. She certainly needed to get away from everything, take some time for introspection and where her life would lead her next, etc. She came back rejuvenated, started working again, and was going to group grief counseling with my 2 younger sisters (they live in the same area). All seemed to be going well, or as well as anyone could hope. In June, my sister Ann had a beautiful baby girl (my mom's first granddaughter), and around the same time, she told us that she "met a friend" through her aunt, who had lost his wife to cancer just the previous year. They had been meeting up and talking a lot for about a month, but was worried about telling us about it. I was genuinely happy for her, so she would have someone to talk to who could empathize what she had been though and is still going through. What we didn't know, is that they were actually dating and were more than just "friends," as she always put it. It turns out that in the following months, she spent more and more time with him, almost every evening after work, and every weekend. She wasn't going to visit her new granddaughter very much, switched churches to go with him (even though we had almost grown up in this church), and was slowly alienating all of us. I hadn't noticed it as much as my siblings, as I was out of town much of the summer with my own family, but I could immediately see this when we got back. She went everywhere with him, and he was always with her. She brought him to my son's birthday party, any family get-togethers, or whenever she invited one of us out for lunch or just to meet somewhere, he was always there. I invited her and my siblings over for dinner to celebrate/remember my dad's birthday, but we ended up not being able to because of the weather. But my mom said that "they" could come over, anyway, since he lives just about 20 miles away. Apparently, she had been staying with him for almost a week, after they had taken a 5-day cruise together. The exact same cruise she and my dad took for their anniversary just a few years earlier. She didn't even tell any of us she was going on this cruise until the day before she left. When they came over for dinner that night, she showed me her whole slideshow of pictures from the cruise, the portraits they got done together (same poses and backgrounds as with my dad), and told us all about how much fun they had. I tried to act happy for her, but it was extremely awkward and I really didn't know how to react at all. It's like she was just shoving all of this in my face and expecting me to be overjoyed for her. It didn't really hit me until after that, but it's like she has literally filled the space that my father left with this new guy, and is clinging to him like her very existence depends on him. Every time I or any of my siblings have tried to call her, she is never home (no matter the day of week or time of day), and she was hardly ever there for us. Instead, she was out watching one of his bowling tournaments (usually out of state), camping, fishing, or other activities, with him. Always with him. Every single weekend and weekday night. It wasn't uncommon to get a call back from her the next day, saying she just got back from Texas and was staying at his house so couldn't reach me. This, from the woman whose family was everything to her, and would do anything for her children and grandchildren. I completely understand that she needs to live her own life, experience new things, and be happy. But that should not be at the expense of everyone who loves her. After losing Dad, we needed her more than ever, but it feels like we lost both parents. After her being so attentive to Dad and unavailable to us a lot of the time during his illness (quite understandably), I was looking forward to "getting my mom back" after he died, and being able to spend some quality time together. That ended up not being the case. I believe that when they received his terminal diagnosis in April of 2013, they had begun the preparations, and she had begun the grieving & acceptance process. By the time he died, she was ready to move on, leaving the rest of us in the dust behind, to pick up the pieces ourselves. Before Thanksgiving, my sister and I decided to get together with her and all the siblings at my house for dinner (since we couldn't before), and talk to her about how we were feeling about everything. All 3 of us girls felt the same, but we didn't realize it until we started talking about it. We told her how we felt, that she seemed to be separated from the family, never without him by her side, and we had not been able to get her alone to spend time with her at all, which we so desperately needed. We tried to be as compassionate and sympathetic as we could, so it wouldn’t be an “us vs. her” scenario, but she immediately went on the defensive, saying that she can't let us tell her how to live her life, she is happy with this man, so can't we be happy for her, etc., and asked me point-blank to list when she has been unavailable, or has hurt us in any way. I was not about to go to that level and literally list out petty little things like phone calls on certain dates, etc. We tried to explain that we were still grieving Dad's loss, and we need to experience all of these "firsts" throughout the year without him, and experience that "empty space" in our lives in order to come to terms with it and accept it. By immediately filling that whole with someone else sitting in Dad's place, holding her hand, dancing with her at my brother's wedding, joining in ALL the family holidays and events, going on vacations, etc., she is not allowing us to experience that and grieve our father. We were planning a big family trip down to Houston to my gr-uncle's house for Thanksgiving - my family, siblings and their spouses, grandparents (mom's parents), aunts & uncles, and cousins. This was a family tradition ever since I could remember, but this would be our last trip, as my gr-uncle would be moving to a retirement community. We were really looking forward to finally getting Mom to ourselves for these 5 days, so we could just take it easy, play some games, go hiking in the woods, reminisce, etc. But then she told us that she wanted to bring him along, so she would have someone to share it with. That was a kick in the gut to all of us. Just made it sound like we weren't good enough, and she would be miserable there without him. She asked who she could take walks with and hold hands with while she was there. I answered, through my tears, "Your grandsons!" It was so painful to hear her say that, and just to know that's how she thought about it. We mainly just wanted her to know how painful this is for us to see her with him all the time, and to understand that we were still grieving, still heavily depressed and missing our dad, and still trying to come to terms with this enormous hole he left behind. We understood that she has already accepted it and moved on, but we need our mother to help us through this. At the end of our "meeting," we were all in tears, and although it was very cathartic, she made us feel like we were being selfish and telling her what to do; she had put up a defensive wall and didn't really "hear" anything we had said. She still took him to Thanksgiving, spent most of her time secluded with him or always at his side, and spent hardly any time with us or her grandsons. He was there at her house on Christmas day for the family dinner, opening presents, etc., after telling us that he would not be there so we could all enjoy the time together, just with family. Turns out, she spent the night at his house Christmas Eve, then rushed home to start making dinner before anyone arrived. Her cousin had moved in with her after Dad died to keep her company, so she told me this before Christmas. Mom never did mention this to anyone, and was just keeping it a secret from everyone. If she thought there was nothing wrong with it, why all the secrecy?? For New Year's Eve, I wanted to try and keep some kind of "normalcy" and come over to her house like we usually did every year, to play games and watch movies, then make breakfast the next morning and spend the day together. This year, she said we were welcome to come over, but my aunt & uncle down the street were having a party we could go to, before spending the night at her house. That sounded great, so we came over to her house around 6 that evening, and he was there (of course), in the middle of replacing double-doors from the kitchen to the back porch, so the house was absolutely freezing, and we were secluded to a small space in the living room. My kids were freezing (with their coats on), starving (no food, and we couldn't go to the party until 9), so we ordered a pizza, which my husband had to go get. My youngest 2 usually go to bed around 7:30-ish, so had to put them to bed there (had the doors in, and house was warmer by that time, at least), then wait around to go to the party. My mom's cousin volunteered to stay at the house with the kids in bed. (We had planned to take them with us and lay them down there.) Once at the party, we had a lot of fun playing games and visiting, and finally got back to my mom's house around 2am. As my oldest is about to get in bed, she tells me that she is leaving with him and will spend the night at his house (over an hour away) so she can go to a bowling tournament with him the next morning, on New Year's Day. I was in complete and utter shock. I didn't even know what to say. I just kind of waived my hands in disbelief and walked away to get ready for bed. I went straight to bed, and didn't say another word to her. Earlier in the evening, we were talking about some things we could do with her the next day, like watch a movie, play some new games the kids got for Christmas, etc., so that whole time, she was basically lying straight to my face, knowing very well she wouldn’t be there at all, and just didn’t want to tell me. It took me a couple of hours to fall asleep, I was so mad. I was physically shaking and sick to my stomach. I got up with the kids, made pancakes for breakfast, visited with Aunt Cheryl (her cousin) some, and then we just went home. Not how I was expecting to spend this day. Oh, and the kicker? She's putting the house up for sale, so this was the last Christmas, New Year, etc. we'd spend in this house with her. That was basically the last straw for me. I've just completely given up on being able to depend on her for anything, or to be able to openly talk to her about anything. Then, just this morning (Jan. 2), I got a mass text from her, stating she is taking a break from Facebook, email, and her cell phone, so if anyone wants to contact her, it will have to be at her work number during business hours. What an awesome way to start the new year, huh? She has always been my best friend, someone I would rather spend time with than anyone in the world, other than my husband. She was always the most caring, generous person I’ve ever known, and never hesitated to help anyone in need. Two of my siblings are adopted and come from very turbulent backgrounds, but she took them in and became their mom. She helped out all of us kids through college (and beyond) in any way she could, and absolutely adores all 4 of her grandkids. But since meeting this new guy, she is not the same person. I just have no clue how to react to her now. How am I supposed to believe anything she says, or if she is spending time with us because she really wants to, or just out of guilt? I still haven’t talked to her at all since NYE. Don’t know when I’ll be ready to again. My sisters have each tried talking to her, we talked to her as a group, her cousin has talked to her, etc., but nothing ever seems to get through. I really don’t want to lose my mom, and I don’t want my kids to miss out on a wonderful grandma, but right now, that seems to be the case. Has anyone else been through a similar situation? Anyone have any advice on where to go from here? Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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