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Old 02-09-2016, 06:07 PM   #21
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I told my grandfather that I loved him. He got all flustered and his answer was "...well, we'll see..." which was a non-reply; he just didn't know how to answer that.
DW's father recently turned 90, and has never been 'warm'; when she & I got together, a little over 12 years ago, since I had had no relationship with my parents, I advised her to start hugging him when she/we visited......he was clearly uncomfortable, and she soon stopped doing it.

But, as I told her, you can never be bothered by the worry that "I didn't try", because you did try.
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Old 02-09-2016, 06:38 PM   #22
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He must be in his 80's, right? Could be a little dementia.


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+1

You have described my father very accurately, before and after my mother's death. Except they had a 3 year old cat he wanted to abandon, which I took.

Within 5 years after my mom died, my father was diagnosed with severe dementia and moved in with my husband and I. He lived with us for almost five years, until I could no longer care for him at home. The narcissitic behavior was there throughout his life, but became much worse as his dementia progressed.

There isn't much to do except perhaps hope that a nice lady decides to care for him. I hoped that for my father.....but he was to mean to successfully attract anyone for long.

I am so sorry. It was a very, very hard time in my life, and contributed to a divorce. I wish much more peace and success for you.
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Old 02-09-2016, 07:00 PM   #23
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I agree with others that his anger might be born of fear. Many of us know first hand that a funeral can bring out the worst in families. Certainly, no matter how he regarded your mother during her life, you dad is now facing the prospect of loneliness and his own mortality. No doubt he's shielding by anger or denial a strong and uncomfortable sense of vulnerability. I know when I get frustrated or angry with situations I sometimes want just to turn my back on the entire situation and escape from it--to throw the baby out with the bathwater, as it were. Perhaps your dad is doing this as a type of coping mechanism. I agree with the advice of others here: lay low. Let him do what he wants, be gentle with him, but be firm about protecting your mom's memory. See what happens down the road--grief is a process and better times will no doubt be ahead.

You said what I started to write but better than I could have myself.


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Old 02-09-2016, 07:44 PM   #24
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My dad had a similar - but not as extreme reaction. My mom had ovarian cancer which meant 3 years of chemo, caretaking, and having to learn some life skills. My mom made an effort to "teach" dad to grocery shop, do laundry, and cook basics even though dad was a reluctant student. She did this while she was still able, before she got too sick.

After she passed dad admitted he had started the mourning process a few years earlier... and was relieved when she passed. He was also terribly lonely.

In our case - because he wasn't as gruff as your dad - my sister and I understood. He started seeking dates about 5 months after mom died. He met my stepmom 9 months after mom died. In our case, we were very fortunate, my stepmom was/is AWESOME. Dad died 5 years later, but we still have a strong relationship with her.

When I say "we" - I mean my sister and myself. My brother, who lived in another state, did not have the same conversations with dad. He was incredibly angry when dad met our stepmom. Unfortunately, they stopped talking to each other over this because bro was angry about stepmom. No communication between them for 5 years.... until the week they both (brother and dad) got terminal cancer diagnosis. Both were dead a few months later - but did talk and forgive each other before they died.

I agree with the folks that your dad is probably reacting based on fear and loneliness. He dealt with your mom's illness on a daily basis and probably started the mourning process before she died (like my dad did.) Too bad he's so gruff about it all.

I am so sorry for your loss of your mother.
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Old 02-09-2016, 08:29 PM   #25
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First of all, thank you for starting this thread. I can relate to much of what you are sharing.

My Mom passed recently, and while my parents did love each other deeply I had heard him say years ago that he would marry again if Mom died first because, as he put it, 'Who is going to take care of me?' Mom on the other hand said she would never have contemplated marrying again. I do fault him for having said it in front of her, as it made her cry, but she did not hold a grudge on that. She has seen many people have trouble grieving and then benefit emotionally from late in life relationships, even second marriages.

From right after she passed, he's been wanting her things out of the home. I found it distressing at first, but am trying to understand. He does not criticize her or speak disrespectfully of her, but does not want her things around. But he also dislikes intrusions into his space and so some of it is that while some of it is probably wanting fewer reminders of her right now.

I agree with other commenters that that you should retrieve all of her things that mean anything at all to you, and rescue the dog.

While it is hard for me to watch this with my Dad, I know that they had a long marriage and even though it was 'old school' they mutually loved, and sometimes mutually annoyed, one another. I accept that he faithfully fulfilled his vows, until death did they part. And that was the deal. I cannot demand more than she did, as I see it.

I will say that the ladies are nice to him, and maybe he'll make a lady friend or more. I am trying to be open-minded and as long as he (and any lady in his life) remains respectful to my Mom's memory I think I will be relatively ok.

I think he is hurting, he is lonely, he feels alone. And he wants someone taking care of him. I think that is very human, though it's not easy on us 'kids'.

Also, he has done an amazing job of learning a lot of things that only Mom could do when she was alive and healthy.



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Old 02-09-2016, 08:40 PM   #26
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I cannot thank all of you enough for all of your thoughtful and well written responses.

Each one has been helpful and has made me feel less alone and crazy.

I'm sorry for others who have gone through this as well.


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Old 02-09-2016, 08:42 PM   #27
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And I am sorry for your loss.


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Old 02-09-2016, 09:32 PM   #28
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Irish Gal , I am so sorry for your loss .Losing a parent is awful without the extras that you are dealing with . Take Care .
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Old 02-09-2016, 10:05 PM   #29
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I am so sorry for all your losses. My dad passed away in 1993, and it was as if my mom was released to spread her wings. Unfortunately, as she aged, she developed some problems and needed 24 hour care.
My sister, bless her, handled all the arrangements, and when my mom's money ran low, she had to sell stock that was promised to my nieces.
i was willing to help financially with her support, but I refused to subsidize my nieces who were both well off.
When all the stock was sold, then i did contribute to her care.
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Old 02-09-2016, 10:35 PM   #30
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I cannot thank all of you enough for all of your thoughtful and well written responses.

Each one has been helpful and has made me feel less alone and crazy.

I'm sorry for others who have gone through this as well.


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Bottom line, you don't get to pick your family. My father married 4 times and deserted 3 wives with children. I'm not even sure he was divorced from wife #2 when he married my mother. Not a guy I would have spent any time with although that was never an issue since he never wanted to be found and have to pay child support.
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Old 02-10-2016, 04:21 AM   #31
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DW went through this when her mother died in her mid 50's. Her father informed both daughters that he wasn't going to live alone for long after the funeral. True to his word, he married 10 months later, with us meeting his bride at the wedding. While all her clothes were removed quickly, the house decor went over the following 3 years.

One thing to be prepared for is that her family will take priority over you and your sister. We lived a plane ride away and many times, it was inconvenient for us to visit during our vacations. I figured that if he died first, her family would get most of any inheritance. My wife wasn't ready for her father to remarry so quickly, so there was some friction with the new wife.

They were together for 20+ years and both passed away last year. She went first a month after having a stroke. He had a small stroke the day after she died. He did the same thing, clearing her clothes out quickly. He also took her name off of any property over the following weeks. He then went on to have several more strokes, eventually putting him in a care facility where he lasted 3 months.

So just be prepared for something similar to happen and do as others have suggested. You can't change how he'll act and if you try, it will negatively affect your relationship.


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Old 02-10-2016, 08:15 AM   #32
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I'm sorry for your loss. I wonder if your parents were stuck in a loveless marriage of convenience. In any event it is heartbreaking. +1 with others... while you love your dad it sounds like he is going to be hard to deal with so I would keep my distance for my own sanity. And be sympathetic to his new servant... she probably will not know what she is getting into before it is too late. But what he'll find out is that if a woman isn't economically dependent on him that she will not put up with abuse so it may be a revolving door from her on out.

MIL had a charming suitor of such ilk chasing her after FIL died.
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Old 02-10-2016, 10:28 AM   #33
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MIL was a model wife until FIL died, then she was happy living alone and said she had no desire to wash another man's underwear.

I think women of her generation just had to sleep in the bed they had made for themselves. She was very demanding of DW in her latter years but we figured she had earned the right to do so.
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Old 02-10-2016, 11:53 AM   #34
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My Dad was 100% devoted to Mom, through many episodes of her depression and medication problems. They were married 61 years and she was 83 when she died suddenly at home, with him right there with her. I met them in the Emergency Room and the first thing he said to me was, "I'm not sad, this solves a big problem for me" which I thought was so cold. The day after the funeral he wanted my sister and I to come to their apartment and get rid of all her things.

We were still processing her sudden death and just beginning to understand mourning and he just wanted all her personal things out of his space. My sister and I met at the apartment and started going through her things, remembering her in this dress and wearing that scarf, etc. He didn't help at all, we had to make all the decisions. Four hours into this he came into the bedroom and said we needed to finish already, he had plans to go out.

We kept very little and all of my Mom's things were donated or thrown away that day.

What I didn't understand back then, but understand today is that she had been a bigger burden on him than we realized and that he was having more trouble handling it than we knew.

Two weeks later he broke his hip, had surgery and rehab but has never been the same. After 3 1/2 years in an assisted living facility, last month we moved him to a hospice facility. He is almost 90, in a wheelchair, almost completely deaf, has some dementia but still knows me when I visit and knows how many minutes until the next meal.

Such a sad ending to a long, loving marriage.
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Old 02-10-2016, 04:12 PM   #35
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Thanks again everyone.

Here's a bit of a laugh- my sister and I were going through a trash bag of moms clothes that my dad was walking out to the trash with. We found 2k in hundreds stuffed inside a sock. Go mom. Did not tell dad. Just split it.


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Old 02-10-2016, 04:19 PM   #36
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Thanks again everyone.

Here's a bit of a laugh- my sister and I were going through a trash bag of moms clothes that my dad was walking out to the trash with. We found 2k in hundreds stuffed inside a sock. Go mom. Did not tell dad. Just split it.


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Old 02-10-2016, 04:56 PM   #37
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Thanks again everyone.

Here's a bit of a laugh- my sister and I were going through a trash bag of moms clothes that my dad was walking out to the trash with. We found 2k in hundreds stuffed inside a sock. Go mom. Did not tell dad. Just split it.


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Old 02-10-2016, 09:58 PM   #38
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I'm sorry, but in this situation - please do not judge your Dad. His anger could be his frustration that his life-long partner is passing away, and that he realized he has been too dependent on her and could not do away with her. With the terminal illness of your Mom, maybe he is just too sad that he really needs a companion. Being alone in old age is a big bummer for anyone. His asking you to get her clothes out of the house, could be because it is too painful to see reminders of your Mom. So, I would be happy for my Dad if he found a new companion and somehow moved on. He is still living, after all - and can't dwell in the past. I mean sure - he could have 2 or 3 girlfriends if he wanted. Without your Mom, his life could be a huge empty vacuum. He may not share his feelings with you, but I'm sure there's a big hole in his life and he cannot bear it without some female companion. His plan is all good. Don't judge him.
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Old 02-11-2016, 12:17 AM   #39
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I lost my dad in November. He and my mom were married 49 years. She would get upset with him because of all the care taking he required coupled with the fact that she was still working at age 74 by choice (he was 81).

After he died, during Christmas, Mom was needling me about something and made a really callous remark I never would've expected from her. She has always been very patient and kind in the way that mothers usually are with their sons. This was a first, and my emotions also being raw, we had a bit of a knock down drag out and I lost my cool.

A few minutes later, I went back to her room, grabbed her, hugged her and told her I was sorry and that I wasn't handling emotions the right way. She agreed and we cried together for a minute.

The moral is that people deal with grief and guilt in different ways. Often these emotions are substituted with anger because it is more common and empowering than the helplessness of grief and anxiety about the change in life. This angry manifestation of other emotions is particularly common in men.

It is also possible that rather than dealing with his grief, he is trying to see if he can just move on with other women to avoid going through it at all.

The problem with the grief process is that the only way out is through. You can't avoid it forever. It'll find you as it has my mom this month after she was doing well for the first few.

Maybe your dad is just a callous jerk, but it might also be how he is trying to handle uncomfortable, unfamiliar emotions that come with the loss of his life partner.
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