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Greiving, but happy....


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As I read Ann's post about throwing things out I started to think of my Dad, and all he has gone through emotionally in the past 11 months. It will soon be 1 yr. since Mom passed; my feelings about that are a totally different post. My Dad has gone from believeing he could not go on with out her to meeting a really nice lady and wanting everything that was mom out of the house. He has told me that they will get married in December, and that he wants us to get everything that was mom's if we want it. I mean we're even talking the grandfather clock!(it has mom and dad's names on it) I know he wants it to become HER house with no sign of mom around, but she KNEW my mom personally. It is reallly hard to think of no part of my mom being in that house. My mom helped build that house with her own hands! It's just that, in my heart it feels like he just doesn't want her around anymore, that he doesn't want to remember her anymore. My brain says he just wants HER to feel like it is HER home. He tells us how happy he is and that his happiness doesn't mean that he has stopped loving mom, and I know that, but it still is very hard to see him pushing her out of the house as far as physical things go. :cry: As far as I know, he still hasn't gotten her grave stone ordered for crying out loud!! I wouldn't know since he is never home for me to ask! How do I make him understand that I AM very happy for him, I love him very much, it's just that when he says these things about moving this stuff out, it sounds so methodical, with no reguard for HOW he is telling us, may be making us feel inside. I know he is moving on; and I'm happy for him, I just don't know how to tell him to do it a little more softly. My brother thinks Cindy and I are being selfish by feeling this way, but I can't help the way I feel. He may be moving on, but some of us may not be moving at the same pace. How do I get him to see this without hurting him? I don't want him to feel like he has to walk on pins and needles around us, but to just acknowledge how we feel.

Any suggestions, anyone.!

I'll end the book now, it just felt so good to get it out and cry a little. I can never SAY how I feel like the way I can write it. So, writing helps a lot.

Thanks for listening everyone.

God Bless,

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As far as I know, he still hasn't gotten her grave stone ordered for crying out loud!! I wouldn't know since he is never home for me to ask!


His wanting everything out of the house that was "Mom's" may be a bit more than just having a fresh start with a new wife. I spent a lot of time with my grandmother after my grandfather died - they had been married over 50 years. Everytime we went out and came back to the house, she walked in expecting him to be in his recliner watching TV - I could tell, I could see it on her face, the expectation and hope and the disappointment when he wasn't there and she once again had to face the fact that he would never be there again.

Your father isn't spending a lot of time in THEIR house. He may have someone new in his life, but he's still dealing with the pain of losing the first someone. I would think some of the push to get Mom's stuff out is to rid him of some of his memories and the pain. It's not going to work, the memories will still be there, for example, even with the clock gone, he will see the wall it used to be against and the memory will pop back up and he'll "see" it again and all the memories attached to it.

I wish you and your family an ease to the pain and a return to a time when memories were happy things. No suggestions on how to deal with what is currently going on in your lives, just realize that Life doesn't come with an instruction book nor a "satisfaction guaranteed" guarantee. Get what you can from what you are given and wring out every last drop.

...oh, yeah, and watch out for beer trucks...

Take care,


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I understand how you feel. when my mother passed away (18 yrs ago now) My sister and two brothers felt alot like you do now. The house is where we grew up and my mother was always there. I couldn't imagine not only her being gone but all her things! for a long time it remained the same till my dad began to date and eventually remarry. My Dad brought us all in "to clean house" because more than anything he wanted her to feel like it was her home now too. I understood that and I still do but it was painful... So we sat down and talked with HER. It turns out she didn't MIND having some of my mom's stuff there. It's not like we were trying to shut her out (like the closets still filled with her clothes) we just didn't want to remove every trace of mom. she understood and was FINE with that. I think that being older (me being older now too) she realized that both of them had "previous lives". She was married before, her husband also died, she had adult children... so why try to pretend that those things were not important. She had precious treasures that belonged to her former husband etc. Would we mind if she displayed them as well? the bedroom that they shared belonged to both my dad and my step mom. but the rest of the house was pretty much a combination of everyone. My mom collected bells and those bells are still there and my kids look at them. Beside that are her collections things her husband and friends gave to her. She uses some of moms dishes and some of her own. As the years have gone by and we have repainted rooms things, furniture have changed. My dad has given us things and it is much easier to take things home and cope with all of it when the pain is not so fresh.

I don't know this woman that your father is going to marry but you say that she knew your mom?? Maybe you should talk with her, maybe she would feel terrible knowing that "all traces of your mother" are supposed to be removed. Perhaps if you tell her of a few things that you would really love to have stay there for now at least till the pain eases a bit and then go from there. If it were me I would not want to try to erase the first wife... especially when they had a good loving marriage. But rather combine both lives and all memories together to become one family.

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I couldnt imagine what you are going through...My mom is just the opposite, besides things like my dads cloths, everything is still the same at her house and thats how she wants it..

I know everyone handles grief in their own way, as for me I very seldom will go in my moms house, its really hard being there without my dad, like Beckys grandma I expect my dad to be there and I cant seem to get pass that..

It sounds like you find comfort being at your moms house, so maybe you should just bring memories of your mom to your house..I have a few special things of my dads at my house, when I look at them and hold them it makes me smile and remember the days when he wasnt suffering..

I know you know your mom will never be gone, she will stay in your heart forever..Also you are approaching her anniversary and that alone can put you in an emotional roller coaster..I hope you can find some peace through all this, we're here if you need us.....

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I know exactly how you feel. When Mom died after 46 years of marriage, Dad almost immediately started dating and married again less than a year later. He didn't remove all traces of Mom from the house, but we suddenly had to treat our childhood home very differently, more like visitors than family.

I've had friends whose fathers have done much the same thing. I think that men who have been well cared for by loving wives are totally lost when their wives die.

In general, women grieve very differently than men. I would bet that your Dad is still grieving for your mother, even though he is moving on with a new relationship. Maybe it feels strange for him to see another woman using your mother's things? He could possibly feel like that is an invasion of your mother's space, in a way.

I know this is really tough for you, and I don't think your feelings are selfish at all. It's just another part of the grieving and loss.

What was really strange for my brothers and me was when Dad died and suddenly someone else had possession of all the things that our Dad and Mom worked hard for 46 years to earn. Dad left it all to us, but our stepmother was outraged about it. But that's a different story.


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Hi Kim,

All these replies are good and make sense. I could not relate to your dilemma. When my dad passed after 66 years, my mom kept just things the way they were. It was up to me and my sister do something with his stuff. He didn't have much, and his clothes went to relatives. Mom would never would consider getting married. I know that this could be different with men, as men usually need a women to care for them and the old school cook for them.

They also feel they won't have to be a burden to their children. Even though you may feel he would not be, this is probably what he could be thinking.

Try to find so comfort in this as maybe what Pam said, he doesn't want her to have mom things.

I don't know what kind of relationship you have with this women. Maybe it would be nice to take her to lunch on a one to one basis, and just talk. I think that would be nice for both of you. Maybe afterward you will feel better and be more comfortable with whatever is decided.

I wish you peace of mind, cause you sure seem like you can use some.

Keep us posted..


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I talked to my dad last night. He told me that he had ordered the new whirlpool tub and vanity for their(him and soon to be wife)bathroom. I in turn asked of he had gotten Mom's headstone ordered yet.(bad timing on my part!) He said no, that he didn't have the money right now. That hurt because I KNOW he has the money to do it, he just won't take it out of the savings to do it. He has a very good paying job and says he doesn't have the money right now!? Maybe I shouldn't have come down on him like I did, but I wanted to know how he could order the tub if he didn't have the "MONEY" right now. Well, need less to say, that put him in a ruffle a little, and I tried to laugh it off. My mom will be gone 1yr. in Oct. and I think it is just WRONG not to have her stone up before then; especially since he has the money to do it. I just let the subject go, and moved to another topic, but I just don't think he can get any sort of closure until he does.

Then he wanted to know if Connor got his birthday card yet. He got it but didn't open it till just a little bit ago. SHE(what do I call, I guess by her name)Eunice, wrote the card and signed it Gandpa and Mamaw EUNICE! They aren't even married yet! What can I say, It just hurt some; oh, who am I kidding, A LOT okay! To see her name there instead of mom's. I hid my tears from my husband and Connor, but it just hurt like hell. Connor just looked at me and didn't quite understand who she was. I told him that was grandpa girlfriend and he then knew who she was. I asked him if it was okay for her to be his grandma now since mom wasn't here to have the "job" and he said okay, but she's NOT grandma Net. I told him, if he wants to he can call her grandma and he just said okay. She wrote him a note

apologizing for missing his birthday and I read it to him. She really is a nice lady, and I DO like her a lot, so why does this hurt so much? It's what I want for my dad. But, it still hurts so much.

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Everyone handles grief differently. Some like your dad need to rid themselves of all physical reminders. Others like myself can not let go of anything. I tried by it was physically impossible for me. My hands refused to do it as much as my heart did. Your dad is doing what we all do. He is finding a way to survive. He has to do that anyway that he can.

Let's face it. Men have a harder time going on after they lose their mate after so many years. Things that they did together or that the woman did they have always taken for granted. They don't know how to shop and they don't really know how to keep the things that a woman did in the same order. Most men feel that they have to have another woman in their lives. The home is the woman's domain no matter how much a man helps out around the house. A new woman will need to leave her mark. She can't do that with another woman so visable everywhere.

Not only may your dad feel that he can not care for your mom's things good enough but he may feel like having them there is like having her there watching. It could make him very uncomfortable. Having a relationship with another woman around her things might make him feel like he is cheating on your mom.

When my brother died I lived a long way away. I didn't get to visit but every several years. I didn't know the things that they had that well so they were all new to me. My sister in law bought another house and moved yet the first time I went there my brother was there. He was in every memory of everything they had ever done together.

My father in law got rid of everything that belonged to my mother in law. He even tore up the flowers she had had for years. He couldn't take care of them the way she did and he told me that she was always there. It was just too hard to move on. Everything is gone of hers yet she is still there. She is in every sunrise they shared and every sunset. Every tear they cried and every bit of laughter is still in that house. You can get rid of things but you can not erase a person's presense. The memories will always be there. In his heart and in yours.

I know how much it must hurt you but believe me your dad is not trying to erase your mom. He is just trying to go on the only way he knows how. Take what he offers you that belonged to her and cherish it.

As for the headstone he may be putting it off for more reasons than money. Once that stone is in place the reality of her death can no longer be avoided. Give him time. Let him know how you feel about the headstone and ask if he needs you to help him order it then set back and wait. The heart is a very fragile thing sometimes it can only do so much at a time before it says stop.

I pray that soon things will be better for you and your dad. No matter how much it hurts the reality of death is that life for others does go on.

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To me... And you know that I have been processing over my own scenario... it sounds like he is still very much grieving--maybe even stuck in it and terrified to go on--and at the same time trying to do the 'move on' thing. I think that it is absolutely true that men who have been married to women they loved that long really feel that they need a woman in their lives... But maybe it's also the 'manly' tendency to 'Make it look like I'm ok.' Kind of a tough guy thing... So they kind of peter out on doing the stuff related to the one they lost because it's so hard, and try to go great guns on the 'new life' bit. (Again... I'm thinking out loud on my own stuff).

I TOTALLY get why the card being signed that way upset you so much. If that happened here, I would be SO VERY UPSET. I wouldn't even be able to stuff it, I'd be so upset. I admire the way you handled it.

Am here for you. I'll be your friend in the weirdness. ;)

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Both Lilly and Val gave some good advice. Everybody reacts differently to grief. Let me just tell you that I CAN'T order a headstone -- my son has been dead 16 years and husband for two years, and I STILL can't do it. I never go to the cemetary. They aren't there -- I talk to them and picture them here in my house and other places where their memories are.

I think the advice to ask if he would like you to order the headstone is good - I think I'll ask my daughter to do that for me, and I'll gladly pay for it. Just can't face it.

I did go through my husband's clothes early on and remove them from the house except for a few fleece shirts, jackets, etc. that I like to snuggle in during the winter, and that are nice to have on hand if my sisters or his visit and haven't brought jackets. This always feels like he's with us and helping to look out for us like he always did.

I do feel the urge to rearrange furniture; get rid of some pieces and make it more "my" house than "ours". Sometimes my daughter (30 years old) gets quiet and I know it's strange for her to see the house change, but she knows she can have anything of his she wants, and she smiles when she notices that when I've redone a room I'm careful to put something back that shows I haven't erased him -- got rid of his huge desk, but kept the little nameplate he once brought home from work - kept the pencil cup with hunting designs on it -- little things like that.

My situation is different from your Dad's of course, because there is nobody new in my life. My mom has been a widow for nearly 30 years, and I can't even imagine what it would have felt like if she'd remarried -- I know I could not have stayed as freely in her house and felt as at home as I do now. And it's not the house -- she has moved a couple times since my dad died. It's just about sharing their heart and surroundings with someone new.

I wish you all the best. The cards; what to call her; all of it is a heartache, but I'm sure you want your dad to be happy and you'll work it out. Since he's willing for you to have your Mom's things, perhaps you and your sister could share the cost of a storage space for all of it for a while until it gets absorbed into your houses -- and who knows, your dad and his new wife may want some of it back later.

My sister-in-law went through the situation you are now in. She and her sister very much resented the new woman, especially because this woman had grown-up children and the dad gave some things to his new wife's children that his own children thought should be theirs. After some time passed, though, they came to accept that she made him happy and took care of him in ways that they couldn't and they accepted her.

Best of luck - it must be very hard.

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Thank you all for your wonderful thoughts and suggestions. I know that it all comes down to one thing.... his happiness. I think that , as I read your posts that when it comes dodwn to it maybe I'm a little jealous. I was the one he turned to after mom died, I held him as he cried, I helped him through panic attacks, I'm the one who convienced him everything would be okay; and now he doesn't need me for that anymore. He has someone else to do that. It hurts, but I'm okay with that, I'm strong like my mom, I can deal with it! I just want him to be happy! That's why I don't tell him these things, they're my problem to deal with, and not his.

Thanks again so much for your help!

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Oh Kim, don't believe for a second that your dad doesn't need you now that he has someoe in his life. I'm sure you know that's not the way he feels. I know how hard this must be for you and I think you are handling this very well. You know, most people feel so bad for women when they lose a husband. They think women are the weaker sex and that they need a man to lean on. From my experiences in life, I have found that thinking to be very wrong. I think women are very strong. They seem to take time to think out the path ahead of them. Like Lil said, men need to have someone with them. I'm sure this involvement with someone new doesn't mean your dad isn't still hurting. If he could make the choice, I'm sure he would choose to have your mother back. As for the headstone, I can understand and sympathize with your feelings. He should honor your wishes and take care of this responsibility, as it means so much to you. I think you're doing a great job of dealing with all of these changes. HAng in there and remember how much your dad loves and needs you!

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