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I think I made the wrong Choice....


Treebywater

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The plan was... that during Andy's deployment I was going to be here to help Daddy and be with and help take care of Mom.

Mom died.

So the plan changed to me still being here (because we were already part way into that plan) and hopefully being able to be a support to Daddy so we could be together after losing Mom and he could enjoy Carolyn.

Our apartment in WA is in storage. We don't have a place to live there anymore.

I am really starting to feel like I made the wrong choice. I'm not doing any good here. I'm not helping Daddy. He just seems irritated with me because I don't keep the house clean enough and I've been leaving Carolyn with him for 2 or 3 hours a week so I can exercise.

He doesn't seem to need any support, and he seems almost resentful of anything that reminds him that his wife died.

He's seriously dating a woman already. And I hate that. Mom's been gone three months. A month in, he had started meeting other women. Less than 2 months in, he'd met a woman that he wanted to seriously date... And now date her seriously, he is.

I don't want to interfere with his choices. I want him to do what he has to do.

But it KILLS me to see them together. It would be hard at any time, this I know.... I think though that it is especially excruciating this soon. Every time I see them it is this reminder that my Mom is gone and this stranger has started inhabiting parts of our lives that feel way too intimate. She holds Carolyn. My Mom was never able to except for very brief moments sitting down, and even then she was terrified she would hurt her so she didn't enjoy it. This woman has taught Carolyn to wave. I nearly burst into tears. MOM should be teahcing Carolyn things. Not this interloper.

I know I sound cruel. She is a very nice lady, and if there has to be an interloper, I guess I got lucky that she seems to be a nice one. Ironically, she is a 12 year lung cancer survivor.

I miss my husband so badly.

And I miss having "my place." Carolyn still doesn't have a nursery. She has a room here, yes... but it's not all decorated to the nines, and cute and baby beautiful. And I don't want it to be because it's not permanent.

Nothing is mine. I'm a guest here. The bed isn't mine. It's not my place. If I want to shut myself in and cry, I have to be ever mindful that Dad (and possibly this lady) could burst in at any moment. It feels like a constant state of limbo.

One way I thought I could help was by cooking for Daddy, and I thought it would be an added perk that I wouldn't spend six months only having me to cook for, and therefore not cooking. But Dad is never here for dinner now. He usually goes over to her house. So I do indeed eat most of my meals alone, and they consist mostly of cereal, or cheese and crackers, or leftovers from one of the few meals I did prepare. The alternative, I suppose, would be to have her come HERE and I don't like that a bit either.

I just.... feel like I'm in agony, and I shouldn't be here. If Daddy needed support, it would be different. If he wasn't moving full speed ahead to forget then maybe I wouldn't feel so awkward.

As it stands, I just feel like being here is sitting smack-dab in the middle of a million reminders that Mom is gone, and having my nose constantly rubbed into the fact that this other woman is now here. And on top of that, it is far away from anything that ever was "Us" or "Our place" for my husband and I... and it isn't even a place that will be "us" or "our place" in the future.

I hate it. I hate what my life looks like right now.

I don't know if being somewhere different would help. IF having my own place to exist in alone with Carolyn would solve anything. I don't know if I should be thinking about going to Washington now, or if I should tough it out through the holidays for Daddy's sake and then go, or if I should just sleep in the bed I made and stay as planned.

I just know that this isn't at all what I planned on or expected.

I guess I should know by now that things will NEVER be what I plan on or expect.

:(

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Oh geez...this would be a tough one even for the late great Ann Landers. I guess you need to do the old good and bad list...the good of being there and the bad and see which side is longer. The last of your post says it all--you don't really know what you want to do.

I'm sorry you're having a hard time...

Rochelle

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I am so sorry you have to be feeling like this. Ry's list thing is a good idea - maybe getting the good and bad down on paper might help you sort things out. I really think I would be feeling the same way. When is your husband due back? Wish I could be more help. Just know that I am praying for you and Carolyn.

Hugs,

Nancy B

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I think you should go back to Washington. You might talk to your dad about it first to see what his needs are. It may very well be that your dad is afraid of being alone and so he found a girl-friend very quickly. If you live around Fort Lewis, surely there must be support systems there for military familys.

Don M

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This has to be such a difficult time for you. You need someone to help take care of you. Cindi is right about needing your friends right now. Do you have any where your Dad lives? You have suffered the loss of your Mom, have a new baby, and don't have your husband there to take care of you.

I know it is hard to see your remaining parent move on. My husbands Mother was seriously dating a man about 4 months after his Dad died of cancer. It was very hard for him to come to terms with her dating. Brought up a lot of guess like, were they really in love, what kind of marriage did they have. She married him about one year later and they have been married for 6 years now. He is a wonderful man and is a great grandfather to our kids. We are lucky to have him in the family. He has actually made life easier for my husband, my husband doesn't have to worry so much about his Mom being lonely or needing help. At first it was very difficult for us to see him having fun with the kids. We wished so that Jeff's Dad would have had more time with our kids. Dani was 2 and I was pregnant with Nick when he died. Time heals those feelings. It must be so painful right now with the loss so fresh to see her with your baby. Maybe a little distance might be good for you to heal and spend time with your friends.

Just be honest with your Dad about how hard it is to see him with her and take one day at a time.

Denise

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Val

I was so sad to read your post. I know that I would not be able to cope with the situation you are in at all. Where are you support systems to help you with your own grief? I think it is all way too much for you to handle. I would find it extremely hard to see my Dad dating anyone else and I din't think there is anything wrong with you feeling that way.

What do you think your Mum would advise you to do?

Love

Jana

xx

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Dear Val

I can't even imagine being in the position you are in. I can't imagine my Dad EVER being interested in being with someone else, let alone so soon after losing Mum :shock: . I like to think that if and when it does happen, that I will be happy about it, and glad to see that Dad has a chance at being happy again. I am also glad that I don't have to cross that bridge any time soon.

I think it is completely understandable that you are feeling out of place. You have basically uprooted yourself to be with your Dad, and it doesn't look as though he needs you (I'm not saying that he doesn't, it just doesn't LOOK like he does). I guess the thing to do is to talk to your Dad about what you are feeling. As others have said, you suffered a huge loss too, and you also need support. Maybe it is time to start putting your own needs first. Sometimes what we need is to feel that we are helping someone else (I know that it helps me to think that I am helping Dad out by spending time with him). If your Dad will truly get along fine without you living with him, then maybe it is time for you to start focussing on yourself and Carolyn. I don't know, Val. But I guess the first port of call would be to talk to your Dad and find out where his head is at. Then you might have a better idea of what it is that you need to do to help yourself heal.

I am so sorry that you find yourself in this position...it just makes an already heartbreaking situation even more confusing......

All the best, and do keep us posted.

Karen

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poor Val. I wish I knew what to say. I agree with Don and Cindi - you need to get as much love and support around you as you can, in whatever form. for now, you'll have to settle for us but you need living, breathing loving people.

what does your husband think? honey, just hang in there. it's all so awful, but something's gotta give.

oh, and by the way - I don't believe you made the wrong choice. I just think you may have to make another one now. you're doing so good, Val - raising that baby, LIVING.

xoxo

amie

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Dear Val,

Your father seems to be handling his grief in a way that works for him, whether you agree or not. You have done what you thought was the right thing for you and your father and stayed on to help, and it is no longer working for you. It's time to put yourself first now and take care of yourself. Go where you will find comfort, support and love and as you begin to heal you will find a balance and be able to forge on and become a part of your father's new life. Right now, you need to take care of yourself so that you can tend to Carolyn. My prayers are with you; I can hear how lonely you are for your husband. My heart breaks for you.

Love,

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If it were as simple as us just going back to WA tomorrow, I might. As it stands given the potential for me to feel just as badly there, and the great financial cost (not to mention the 2000 mile drive with a 7 mos. old), it just doesn't make sense. We need to get caught up from all the back and forthing C and I (and Andy a couple of times) have done in the last year... And I have a chance to do that. If we go back now, I add debt to debt, have a much higher rent (=have a rent), all the start up costs for opening a new place and find myself in a situation about equal on the lack of support scale. Also it would be interesting for me to single handedly get everything out of storage and set up house. Doable I think. We may have to do it right before Andy returns anyway... but still. The one thing I have going for me there is a church. We had JUST gotten to WAshington and were starting to get settled when Mom got sick... Then there was the great back and forthing. I don't have roots there either.

I guess I look at it this way: If I go back to Washington, Mom is still dead, and my husband is still gone. Plus, I may run into how many other unexpeced stresses--money troubles, greater isolation, you name it. I could be trading the daddy issues stress for a whole new set.

I suppose what I'm saying is, for now I'm going to try to tough it out. I think I am going to call a pastor today who was great help to a good friend of mine when she was in the area. Maybe just having an in-person sounding board will help.

We'll figure it out and muddle through. I've really become an expert muddler these last couple of years.

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I'm sorry things are so confusing right now. It just seems like we have things worked out in our minds and then when they come to fruition, things just aren't exactly what we thought they'd be. This includes our emotions, others actions and whatever plans we thought we had thought thru. (Did that make sense? LOL)

I won't comment on the dad issue, because I'd feel the same way as you (I'm sorry I can't be more objective) but I can comment on how you're handling it.

You're handling it very very well! Remember all the things you DO have control of- your feelings, your reactions, the way you live your life, the care of your child, your personal day to day. Concentrating on those things will get you thru this time until your own life "re-starts" so to speak.

People do handle grief differently. Try to communicate with your dad as much as you can. You two may handle things differently and maybe even see things differently, but as long as you talk, try to understand each other, respect the others feelings (and this means him too) and love each other thru it all- you'll both be ok.

I think the pastor idea is a great one. Keep posting, keep venting, keep talking.

Hugs,

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So did I. A kazillion times in my life. And probably that many more before all is said and done.

You did what you thought best, as you'll continue to do. Beating yourself up only gives you a black eye and can't go back and undo a thing -- no one can.

You have that sweet, darling baby, your own future, and some challenges. You'll get through it all, I promise.

For now, just hang in there. It sounds like you're handling things quite well -- I think I would have bailed long ago!

My best wishes to you.

Di

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I haven't posted but I lurked back to check my post and saw yours and it really grabbed me.

This is all too common with men. Especially older men. they seem pretty lost without their wives, even with their daughter and granddaughter in the house.

My cousin died of breast cancer when she was 38. Her 40 year old husband, that she had been married to for 15 years, and had been with since freshman year of college, started dating a gal he met in a bar maybe two months after she died (they had three little kids, too). He "came out" and told us, her family, maybe six months later. a few months later they were married. for some strange reason I understood this, at least, I decided it was better to be supportive of something that was going to happen whether we liked it or not and I remain that way, in fact, since Dave died, I understand it even better. But one of her brothers still won't talk to him, three years later, thus cutting himself off from his newphews and niece, one of which is his godson.

If going back to WA is just not do-able for you (but listen carefully to me - I found out after Dave died tons of things I thought I couldn't do alone, I could and did indeed do quite alone) - then I suggest you just sort of resign yourself to what is happening, know you have no control over it, and try to be friends with this woman, especially since she sounds so nice. Maybe SHE can help you with Caroline, maybe there are some benefits for you here if you can deal with them.

it sounds like you're doing better with it, but counseling just to learn to cope with this new situation is probably a good idea.

Back to my cousin: we all thought it strange that a 40 year old woman would even be interested in a brand new widower with three small children, but hey, who's to say how long is appropriate. I hope no one judges my time line if/when it ever comes.

p.s. despite everything I said above, yes, I think it a bit odd he jumped into this so soon especially with you there, but like I said, older men are pretty lost without their wife.

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I know you all aren't suggesting otherwise, but I do want to assure you that I'm not judging Daddy. I can understand why he wants to date. Though it is tempting to feel otherwise, I think perhaps it's a testament to how much he enjoyed being married to Mom. He just wants that feeling back. I'm not going to tell him what to do, and I am being supportive. I've even been the giver of 'dating advice' several times (let me tell you... that's WEIRD).

But even with me being supportive. Even with me TRYING to like this lady, it's HARD FOR ME. As far as I'm concerned, Daddy can do what he needs to do... but that doesn't mean it's going to be easy for me to get through the emotions that come along with that. And I have chosen, largely, to keep those emotions to myself. I don't know how to be both supportive and completely forthright, right now. And I don't want to hurt my Dad any worse than he is already hurting.

This woman, through no fault of her own, just happens to be a living symbol of the fact that my life looks nothing like what I would expect it to today. She is a constant reminder that my Mom is gone... and that she will never be Dad's wife, or Carolyn's Grandmother again. If I was a little further along in my own grief I think it would be less difficult for me. But I'm still at a really raw place. I suppose I could thank her because she helps me to see that many days.

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I was just ready to put in my 2 cents, when I see you posted a new post. So I read your other post. Which is more like your are counting your blessings... that I like so much better and it made me feel better as I am so sad that you are hurting so.

This situation would be so much better if you had your own place (that you could afford) and you dad had his life that you would not know as much as you know now.

But this is the situation with him. Like Karen said a man needs a women to look after him. That is just the way it is. Yes, this has happened much too fast. He really did not seem to go through the mourning period. He seems to have just closed himself off to the fact that she is gone.

He feels lost and certainly does not want his daughter to take care of him. He wants to take care of you. He is your Dad and dad's take care of their children. That is why he is letting you stay there, to save money and for you and Carolyn not to be alone.

He also does not want to be a burden to you. He wants to move on with his life and does not want to be alone or to put any added responsibilty on you.

He probably does not realize how much this hurts you. Maybe you could have a talk with him about how you are feeling. Not to chastise him but just to let him know that you are still hurting and not ready to accept his new found freedom as your mom is still very much alive to you.

Maybe this will help him understand your feelings.

One thing that may help you with your time there, (because you must remember this is temporary, you do have a life and this will all change in the future when your hubby comes home). You may want to ask your dad if you could fix up the room you are staying in. You would like to decorate it your way with your taste and to make it cheery and bright for Carolyn.

I hope you start to feel better, as this is not so bad. He is not marrying this women just spending time with her for companionship. Also, he may feel this is less of a burden on you, as far as cooking etc. And he also knows that you being a new mother you need time with Carolyn alone without him around all the time.

Take care sweetie, this it temporary situation, please just relax and try not to stress too much.

Maryanne :wink:

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Well, I just happened to see this post also and decided to put in MY 2 cents (soon you'll have a dollar!! 8) )!

The one thing that jumped out from your post for me is that you are so miserable right now. I think no matter where you are, this is just something that you have to get through, your husband is overseas, you are missing him and mourning your mother's loss at the same time. Your dad with the new woman isn't helping anything of course, but you can't change what he is doing, even if you want to. I'm not even going to venture in that area- men..who can figure them?

I understand your keeping your emotions to yourself and being supportive of your dad. But remember, you need support too, your dad lost his wife, but YOU lost your mother. Your dad is not the only one who suffered a loss. I'm not saying to be unsupportive of your dad, but you need to take some of all THAT support your giving him, and give it to yourself. Do what YOU need to do to feel better, treat yourself like you would treat your best friend, there doesn't seem to be anyone there to give you support right now, so it's all up to you!! You need to stop concentrating so hard on making your dad feel better, and instead, find things that will make YOU better.

And the other thing that hit me when I read your post was that you need to remember that your living arrangement is temporary. You are in a strange spot right now but you are not going to be living there forever. (I know that I can pretty much get through anything uncomfortable if I remind myself that it won't last).

I hope that things start workign out better for you.

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Wow, I really liked what Maryanne had to say (as usual).

Debi - love your new photo. and I agree, keep in mind it's temporary. in fact that is how I have gotten through every uncomfortable situation in my life - by remembering it would have an end.

I know you must be miserable. but try not to focus on what's making you miserable, but try to make some lemonade out of the lemons. and of course you're not judging your Dad, it's just making the whole loss harder for you. we understand that, but maybe trying to understand where he's coming from might help you deal with it a little bit better.

hang in there, it will get better. I promise you.

Karen

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One thing I haven't seen anyone mention is that the widow or widower of a Lung Cancer patient (or any other serious chronic illness) has usually been dealing with the idea of "loss" for a period of time already. This isn't a "sudden" loss for them. They started the grieving process at the point of diagnosis, and they have lived it and the separation inherit to it for months and sometimes years. It doesn't mean that the sense of loss isn't acute when death occurs. It just means that they've been in mourning for a long time. And those who reach out to another so soon after losing a loved spouse are usually the ones who had a very good and loving partnership. Or are fortunate enough to have found the right someone relatively soon after having entered widowhood.

I don't know if you folks remember how upset I was about my Uncle and "Aunt" who were displaced during and after Hurricane Katrina? Well, my Uncle was married to my Mother's sister. The sister who died of Lung Cancer; my favorite Aunt and the one I was named for. Well, my Uncle almost destroyed himself after my Aunt Fay died. Thank God he began to date the woman I now call Aunt Helen just a few months after my Aunt Fay died. Because Helen saved him. And all of us who love him will forever be grateful to her for that. Plus, she's a wonderful person.

Val, it is so hard. I know how you are hurting. But I ask that you try to keep an open heart towards this woman. I pray every day that when I die my husband meets a wondeful woman who will be as good to my children and family members as my Aunt Helen has been all these years.

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Wow, Fay, very well said.

I have to say, that for at least a few months before Dave died, I started grieving. I worked on this with my psychologist. I knew he wasn't going to beat this SCLC, that it was highly unlikely, I watched him suffer and the cancer take over his spine and his brain, all the while he fought like hell and I stood right there fighting with him. Not only did I grieve by knowing I would lose my husband, I was grieving the husband that I no longer had. I was grieving the already non-existence of what we had together. Hard to articulate that one so I won't try too much.

some of my friends tell me I should wait one year before making any decisions about my life. before thinking about adopting another child. before going out alone on a date with a man. they probably want me to wait before I get a new hairdo. I say, hey, wait, can I get some credit for "time already served"? Not trying to be flip here, but I had a head start on alot of folks because no one was closer to the situation than I. My grief started way before June 15, 2005 at 6:10 pm.

Another thing you are right on about, Fay, is that folks who have had a good marriage often want another good marriage. I do. Dave and I had rough spots to be sure, but we learned and grew through those rough spots. I don't want to be alone and I want to carry what I learned about marriage and relationships and apply it to the next one.

And all of this is hard for a child (adult children included) who lost their parent to understand - understandably so. their grief is different

I really feel for you Val. I am not looking forward to losing my own mother who is fighting Stage IV colon cancer. I am not looking forward to the time when she's not able to drive or spend an hour or two playing with Faith. I dread the day when I no longer have her to talk to. I even dread not having her worry me to death over everything! but I think about my dad, who is a pretty darn good looking, healthy and active 75 year old, and I think, you know, I'd want him to meet some nice lady to go out to dinner with and maybe even to marry. then I wouldn't have to worry so much about him!

Just hang in there. time is healer. or it should be, anyway.

Karen

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I probably need to get a tougher skin... And I DO appreciate your gracious comments and thoughts. You have given me a lot of support, and many things to think about and I thank you one and all.

But I also want you to PLEASE know that I'm not sitting here wishing Dad would sit around and mope. I don't begrudge him having a girlfriend. Of course I want him to be happy! Crappy situation aside, I like his lady friend. I don't take Carolyn out of her arms when she holds her, I don't say "STOP THAT!" when she makes her giggle, or practices waving with her. I'm thinking about what to give her for Christmas, and we already have inside jokes about Dad's total lack of food preparation understanding.

I was grieving for a while before Mom died too. Dad wasn't the only one who stood by her side as she fought. I was in WA for the first 5 months or so, but I was fighting with her then. And then I was here in IL for the last 3 fighting by her side. And, just as you said Karen, I lost my Mom quite a while before the cancer took her life. I saw pieces of her fall away bit my bit and I felt her absence in the roles she had always filled before a little more each day. I know Dad had a jump in the grief process, because I did too.

I also know that even WITH that jump, the intensity of my grief isn't any less. It's much greater than I expected given that I'd already started before she died. Though I do know that it's a different sort of animal with the head-start. My "shock and denial" phases were nothing like those my husband experienced when he lost his Daddy suddenly.

I don't want Daddy not to be happy, and I don't even think he or anyone else should wait some text-book amount of time before jumping into anything new. Above all, as I have told him, I want him to do what he needs to do to get through this.

And be assured that each day I try to understand my Dad's point of view. And what I see is that he *is* still grieving. I worry about him because I fear he is trying to rush through the process (even though I know he had a head start)... when the rogue "What about Mom" thoughts pop up I tell myself that he wants to feel again what he did with her because he loved her so much and he so cherished their life together.

All that as it is, it's still hard. In my heart of hearts, I still resent this very nice woman--but I fight that resentment, and try to let her know that I welcome her into my Dad's life--and even mine to the extent that I am able. I still have those rogue thoughts now and then and think--What about Mom, Dad? But I have a grip on the fact that Dad being involved with another woman doesn't negate the power of the love and life he shared with Mom.

It was pointed out to me very wisely in a PM that my living situation outside of the grief I am also processing through would be difficult under normal circumstances. My husband is gone, and for these months, limited though they may be, so is the rest of "my life." (Not that this season isn't a part of my life that I celebrate, and wish to experience to the fullest...). I'm displaced and struggling with the role confusion that comes when an adult child is living with a parent again no matter what the reason. That would be hard anyway. We're getting through that. We really are.

That part IS temporary. I know this. I celebrate this. I count down the days until "the R family's new normal" can begin again.

But I have these days--or hours--of momentary flashes of really, really, really hurting. That is the thin slice that you got here.

I am grateful for my life now, as it is, even with the hard parts. I have immense joy that comes from being a mother. I am so blessed by ALL of my family. I'm thoroughly enjoying fall. I try to make it a point to remember each day those things that I am grateful for, those things that make me smile... and I walk most of my days with my head held high and my heart cherishing the beautiful things around me.

I guess what it boils down to is I'm TRYING. And most of the time I think I'm doing a pretty darn good job.

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Val, I finally just told my dad this:

Look Dad, it's not that I'm not happy for you, I am VERY happy, but it's going to take a little time for me to get used to the idea that you have someone new in your life. I know you loved mom and still do, and I really like your fiance, but it's hard for me to see you with someone besides mom. That isn't a bad thing, just different. I will get used to it, just give me time. Above all I really love you very much and just want you to be happy, and I am so happy to see you happy again. :D

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