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i am so mad and sad


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My step father of 23 years has moved on. He is and has been dating for over a month now. He is taking her camping in MY MOMS CAMPER this weekend.

It sickens me.

I wish he didn't insist on sharing this information, I have asked him not to but he tells my husband and he slipped and told me.

How on earth can it feel good to take this woman to the same camping spots in my moms camper.

I mean it is such close quarters and everything drips of my mom. Those are my moms things, her food and candypecial pots and pans and lotion and her side of the bed and her throw blankets and her candles and pitures on the walls. Oh I just feel so sad sad sad sad and sick. It feels worse than when I know she has been at the house.

How can he replace her like that in such a short amount of time?

I don't want him to be unhappy but I am sick of his happiness making me more miserable. I talked to him one day and he actually said to me "I am living and loving life, I am having a blast" It makes my blood boil and breaks what is left of my heart all at once.

23 years. Maybe a husband who lost his wife can explain this to me? As a motherless daughter, really a parentless daughter, I don't get it. I just feel like I am losing my step father too.

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Dear Kim,

Because you are your mom's daughter, I can understand very much the way you feel about this. I must say, however, that even though I was married to my husband for 38 years, and I have absolutely no interest in dating - EVER, I would have fully expected my husband to be dating very soon after my death if I had died instead of him. I would have given him probably two months and he would have been searching or dating, or maybe even had someone living with him by that time.

Why do I think that? He would have done it for companionship, someone to support him, love him, do the things I always did. I know some will disagree with me, but I think some men just have to have female companionship, and trust me, I'm not talking about sex. I don't think Don ever would have re-married - maybe, but probably not. I do think, though, that he would want someone just to be there, support him, love him, and someone to go out to dinner with him, to movies, etc.

I just think it is probably much more common for the husband to start dating early than it is for the wife -- but I truly do understand your heartbreak over this.

Love and hugs to you, Kim,


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Dear Kim,

I've been without Bill for almost 10 months now. I am incredibly lonely for my husband and sometimes no matter how many people surround me with love and support, there is nobody that fills that void. I gave everything I had to my husband while he was alive and during our fight for his life. Several times during his illness we had very frank discussions about what my life would be like without him. Bill was very brave, or atleast he put up a very brave front; the few times he did break down were during these tender moments of soul searching and trying to imagine what the future would hold for me alone. It tore him up to think of me lonely and sad and he asked me to promise that I wouldn't mourn him forever, that I would get back to the business of living. I tried to explain to him that I couldn't vision myself in any kind of personal or intimate relationship with anyone else and he asked me to envision myself up in Heaven and looking down on him as a widower. How would I feel if I looked down and saw him lonely, sad, grieving endlessly and never finding any joy in life? I understood. Though I made him that promise over a year ago, I have not had the opportunity to keep it, but I fully intend to, if and when the time is right.

My point...you don't really know what private and intimate discussions your parents had about their respective futures. Your step-father may be keeping a promise he made to your Mom. As long as he did everything he could for her and loved her while she was living and breathing on this earth, she is gone now and nothing is going to bring her back to him, or to you. It may be that enough time has not passed for you, and I understand that your wounds are deep; but after 23 years of marriage, I'm betting his are deep too and he is just doing whatever it takes to get him thru every hour, every day and every week.

This is just the perspective of a widow; not a child who has lost a parent. I hope my words will help you in some way find it in your heart to understand your step-father a little better.


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Well, I have been on both ends of this one Kim, so my perscpective is strange I guess. On one hand, I have been a widow and understand the loneliness of not having someone to love me. I understand the fear of being alone for the rest of my life while everyone else has someone.

On the other hand, when I think of my Sf being ith someone else, well my initial thought is "You poor sucker", but deep down it hurts. I had thoughts that my SF was already with someone while mom was alive bc he wanted to stay out all night, etc.

I guess if I look at it from an overall prespective, your SF has to be able to move on and love again if that is what he wants. I so understand how it hurts you though. I am sure I will probably lose my mind to see my SF dating someone else, kind of sickens me already...I am sending my love to you girl, I am. You are deep in your grief, while mine has probably not even touched the surface. Love and prayers as always...

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I have lost both parents and the only parent figure I have left is my stepdad. I would feel exactly the same way you do if he took someone camping in their motorhome.

I know it sounds selfish and maybe time will change my opinion but I think that after such a short time your Mom has been gone, it is just too soon. I know others have expressed their opinions and they really do make sense. I think it is just too soon for us to think that way though.

I feel for you and I'm so sorry you are going through this right now.

I don't want to offend anyone with my opinion so please remember it is only that......my selfish opinion.

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I did not have to wrestle with this issue, since my dad passed just 3 months before my mom, but I tend to agree with Beth, that many men do get back to "living again" sooner than women. Some men are just geared to need that female companionship. I am certain that my dad would have dated soon after mom's death, had it worked out that way, but my mom would not have done so.

But your feelings are normal. I hope that deep down you can feel good that he has some peace about your mom's life with him and her death, but he is not disrespecting her memory by seeing someone now. People are not replaceable, yet a person can marry again; however, you only get one mom and one dad. so your wounds and grief are very different from his.

I expect your relationship with him will change - how could it not? But without your mom there to bind you together, you may evolve toward more of a friendship with your stepfather. I hope that you can maintain some sort of good relationship with him. Just give it time.

It is very, very hard to lose your last parent. I feel adrift right now, though I do have siblings and my in-laws to rely on for guidance. But they are not my parents, and are not able to give that special "thing" that only a parent can give. I feel for you.

PM me or e-mail me any time. I lost my mom on April 24 of this year. It's still all so fresh and painful, but I can try to help or just commiserate with you! :wink:


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Hi Kim,

Another point from a widow. I know things are different for men and women, and things are different from person to person. But I wanted to let you know that no two people grieve the same way and for the same length of time. What might seem like too soon to you and your grief may be ok for your step father.

I also want to say some things from my point of view too. I have only been without my Keith for 3 short months. But they have been the longest most painful months of my life. But when I think about it, I actually started mourning the loss of Keith over 3 years ago when he was diagnosed. I cried endless hours over the fear and thought of life without him. So where some people may think I'm so ahead of things because I had to go back to work or I had to attend events without him, in actuality I've been mourning for so long already. Your step father probably had to start processing and dealing with your mom's loss from the day of her diagnosis as well.

Now I am not personally ready to get into a relationship with someone else. I honestly can't believe it could happen for me again because I had the greatest love of all time. But, at the same time I'm hopeful that maybe some day it can happen. Granted, I'm younger than the average widow/widower, but the idea of spending the next 40-60 years without anyone to care for, to love me back, to talk to and share with is so very frightening to me. What kind of life is that? I wouldn't wish this loneliness that I feel on my worst enemy. And to think that your step father should endure this loneliness for the rest of his years is something you shouldn't wish for either. It is so very very hard and very painful.

This woman, she will NEVER replace your mother. Not in your heart, and most likely not in your step fathers heart either. Love does not die, and it doesn't get swapped out. But maybe this woman can be someone different than that love, alongside that love. The heart is an amazing thing it is capable of infinite amounts of love. Take for example your love for your kids. You have the first child and you think you love them so much you will burst and could never love anyone or anything more. Then you have another, and you don't love the first one any less, but you love the second just as greatly. Your heart expands to hold ever more increasing amounts of love and more and more people to love.

Love is the most honorable, noble and worthwile thing this world has to offer. It is the only true reason to accomplish great works, and strive to thrive, survive, and live. I live my life and do all that I do only for those people I love. If you love your step father, you will want him to have love in his life.

I know it is very painful for you as the daughter to see this from your perspective because the only other woman you long to have in your family is your mom, and this woman can never be your mom. The only person you want to see next to your step father is your mother. But try and remember she is always there with him in his heart. This might not mean he is forgetting her; he is not moving on and away from her, he is taking her and all she taught him about love into the rest of his life. Your mom taught this man how to love, and what love is, and if he gets the opportunity in life to spread her love to others, it should be something you pray for.

You know your mom, you know how loving she was and how much she wanted the best for all of you. Would she want you to suffer forever? Or would she want you to find ways to have joy in your lives while still holding her in your hearts? Would she want you to share all the gifts and lessons she taught you with others? Would she want you to be loved and cared for?

None of this makes it any easier. None of this makes your heart stop aching and your tears stop flowing. But please don't let your anger and hatred for the situation that her loss has put upon your life be directed at your step father. He is doing the best he can to get through each day of his life without her too. She can never be replaced in his heart. That is one of life's biggest myths I think.

Sorry for being preachy. I just believe so strongly in the power and importance of love.

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My Dad started looking on the internet for ladies to date about a month after Mom died. Two months after she'd died, he'd found someone he felt good about... Shortly after that (like weeks), they were serious.

She has just recently moved in with my Dad. They are completely changing the house. They are redecorating. They are getting rid of special things that were always there--special things that were my Mom's. And while they aren't going to get officially 'married' Dad has made it known that to them, this step means that they are going to live as though they are.

And am I happy about it? Heck no. It hurts... And it is one of the reasons that I have not been back to visit since we moved out here again. It was excruciating living in the same house with him and trying to support him as he moved on, but feeling so very terrible about this woman (who is very, very nice). On top of that, I felt like I was losing my Daddy too. Here I was living with him--mainly because I felt he needed some support and all he seemed to want to do was spend time with this new woman. It was just so hard...

Just recently (and I think the distance helps), I have come to the place where I can say, "Ok. I can welcome this woman into my life." I'm still working on welcoming her into my childhood home... but I know that will come--at least to an extent--in time.

It took me a long time to make peace with the fact that Dad could move on so quickly. It felt like maybe he didn't really care about Mom's death... But he does. I think a part of him really wanted to focus on something hopeful and enjoyable. And lately, almost every conversation we have we come back to Mom and we get quiet and both of us get teary. And that has bizarrely comforted me because it helps me to KNOW that he DID love her so very much. This is just his way...

This is where I'm at right now: I miss my Mom so very badly... but I know I can't ever have her back. I want my family to look like the family that I recognize. With Mom at home with Dad... them doing their special things together. That's who I want to come 'home' too. And without her... and with my home changed and rearranged and with another woman living in it, I struggle to call it 'home' anymore.

But... I can't have that anymore. So someway, I HAVE to make peace with what IS. That doesn't mean I understand where Dad is coming from... but I do love him and I DON'T want to lose him, so I must choose to support him anyway.

Slowly, I'm getting there. And I have days where I want to slug this woman. I have days where I just want to go home and curl up on my Mom's bed, with Mom's blankets and comforter, and Mom sitting right there too... I want HER and not this new person. That is the simple truth.

But this is life now. So I try to make peace with it.

Regarding the issue of feeling like I'm losing my Daddy too... Well I had to realize that in a way I AM. My parents were always partly defined in light of the other. Mom helped me understand Dad when he was doing or saying something that I couldn't understand. She's not here to do that anymore. They were always... Mom and Dad--two lively adults who loved one another passionately even after 28 years of marriage. But, I lost the Dad that was when there was a Mom too. He is different. And I KNOW this is true because I AM different. Grief causes us all to re-invent ourselves. So... In a way I lost the Daddy I always knew.

BUT--He IS still Dad--even with this new woman. Even without Mom. And I still love him. I still need him. I still worry over him. And I still want to have him in my life. So... I try to welcome this new lady--and sometimes I have to do it through gritted teeth, and sometimes after I've spent time with her and Daddy I go back into my bedroom and cry, and cry, and cry... But... This is now. And if I'm ever going to be able to live and not be miserable, I have to make peace with it in some way.

I don't know if that speaks to where you are at all. It is only how I have tried to make sense of things and live with them... But I hope in some ways it helps.

It hurts... And it can bring the anger out so quickly and furiously. It does. I am not negating that. But I hope some way, you will find some peace.



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And I also wanted to add--Feelings take time. I was angry and hurt and sad for a long time, though I tried very hard to hide that from my Dad. Give yourself space to feel your way through it. It is ok to be angry... but try not to stay in the anger any longer than you have to.

For me--At two monthhs out, when Dad started dating and being serious with this woman, I was only just starting to really be in the throes of grieving... So it was so complicated to feel that AND try to process this. I'm sure you are struggling with this too. Be gentle with yourself. (And also try to be gentle with SF).

And one more thing--It hurt me so much when I would vent about this... And I so NEEDED to vent because I felt so many things... But often the message I heard from others, whether they meant it that way or not was, "It sounds like you resent your Dad being happy." Know that I KNOW you don't resent your SF being happy. I know you WANT him to be happy... But that it hard to want THIS right now.

It will take time... And you will feel all sorts of things about it...

((((hugs)))) to you. Please PM me anytime. I know how lonely this part of things feels.

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Ok, I feel perfectly about chiming in on this one since I lived it too.

My bio dad died when I was 9, my mom remarried 3 years later and I had a great step dad for 21 years. mom died august of 2003 and my father fell off the earth in the hole of depression. I could not bear seeing his pain so I encouraged him to find someone to spend time with, have dinner with, converse with, share pain with, It made me feel like I could have a life as well if my step father was not alone. I fealt comfort knowing he may someday smile again. sadly my step dad was dx'd with lung cancer 3 months after moms death and died 6 months later. I lost them both in 9 months. at dads funeral a woman approached me who dad met at a grief group. she cried over him quitely and I knew that she was the one dad connected with even for a little bit over their mutual grief. I was glad he had someone to open up with about his pain.

without sounding mean. i think its cruel to expect someone to stay alone for a acceptable amount of time just so it looks good. your step dad lived hell over your moms illness and death. let him ease his pain with someone who can make him smile. it will never be the smile your mom gave him, but none the less, he is not crying.

live and let live.


just my opinion

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Several years ago one of my husband's co-workers lost his wife to cancer after a courageous battle. I took food to their house and after several days, he returned my dishes and asked "if I had a sister". I wasn't sure if he was just complimenting my cooking or if he was serious...but I was speechless. I told my husband he had just buried his wife...how could he be looking for a girlfriend! My husband felt close enough to his co-worker that he asked him. His answer help me to understand....he said he lost the love of his life long ago during the battle of this horrid disease...(not in body, but in so many other ways) and had already grieved many times over. I became a lot more sympathic after that.


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All right, I think I am the first widowER on this one, and this is strictly my opinion from a guys point of view. I have thought and thought a lot about this and it sometimes really scares me. I feel some days like moving forward and other days not moving and some days wish I could move backward because I miss Deb so much.

Ours was a young love much like Carleen and Keith,in many ways. I sometimes miss what is called "Skin Contact" Hugs and smooches and just physical bonding that Deb and I did, and I think this is a big part of my situation.

I think personally, that this may be having an impact on you stepfather along with a fear of being alone. It is scary coming home and having to cook, clean, lundry, yard work and everything else. you have to do all of this yourself now. There is no one around to help you with all the work around the house. no one to talk to when you come home from work. no good night kisses or hugs. JUST A BIG EMPTY HOUSE TO CAME HOME TO!! and all his wifes stuff is in the house, No?

This is hard for guys to deal with I think. Men do not have the emtional bonds which SOME WOMEN share with women friends. Women share secrets together over Lunch more so than Guys sharing emotions over beers, Ya' know what I mean. I think it is different when Hubbies lose wives than when Wives lose husbands. either way IT JUST SUCKS LOSING THE ONE YOU LOVE THE MOST!!!!!!!! :x:x:x

I hop ethis may shed a little insight into a guys Psyche about losing a wife. These are just my thoughts. 8) I am ok today :)

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I hope you don't mind my putting my 2 cents in even though I have never experienced this first hand.

I do know from being on this board 3 1/2 years, that for the most part, like what has been said before, most men start dating earlier than women do after they lose their spouse. I also have seen that people grieve very differently, doesn't mean any one person grieves 'right' or 'wrong' - just everyone is different.

I don't want this to sound wrong but perhaps your stepfather has a new appreciation of life. Living with your mom, and going through her illness with her may have taught him how fragile life actually is. I know as a cancer survivor, I have different outlooks on things than before I had cancer. He may know that he needs to find happiness when he finds it, and participate in life rather than watch it go by him. You are younger and have time to grieve- he may feel that he needs to move on, being older the days seem to be so much shorter. By him telling you that he is living and loving life - I feel like this may be the case for him. Although his wife is gone, he refuses to be another victim. I applaud him for that, this disease already has enough of them, as you so sadly know.

Of course this is all so easy for other people to analyze, I know how painful it must be for you, when it really hasn't been that long ago that you lost your mom. I wish you the best.

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Well, I thought I would add my thoughts on this subject. Ten years ago when my husbands father died of cancer, my mother-in-law started dating a man she met in her grieve group. It had only been 4 months since her husband had passed away. It sent my husband and I into a tail spin. We could not understand how she could move on so quickly. My husband questioned his parents love for each and marriage. Rumors were flying all over the small town she lived in, everyone thought is was terrible. They dated for two years, and then got married. At their wedding his four grown daughter and her two grown sons all cried, not out of happieness for these two, but out of grieve and realization that there mother and father were truely gone. Together these two have found happieness again, they share each others grandchildren and truely are in love. They were ready to move on sooner than any of their children were, but thank goodness they didn't listen to everyone else. They would have missed out on so much happieness.

As hard as it will be to see my Mom move on and start dating, it is even harder to see the saddness in her eyes everyday. She is so lonely and sad without my Dad. She has been grieving my Dad for the past 2 years. Two years of sadness is a terrible way to live life.

I grieve for my Dad everyday. Life is just not the same without him here with us. I also miss my Mom and her zest for life. She is a wonderful woman with so much love and joy to give to others. I hope she will someday feel that love of life again. I know my Dad would want her to move on and enjoy life. That is what he loved so much about her.

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Let me just kind of reply to the repliers here...

The thing about something like this is, it like grief is handled differently by everyone. Additionally, you don't know how you are going to respond until you are faced with it... and I think, at least, that that response can vary depending on WHEN you are presented with the situation and also HOW. It feels different (though still hard) to have a parent date or marry 2 years after a death, than it does two months or six months after.

When my Dad started seriously dating, it ramped up my grief considerably AND gave me a whole slew of new emotions to wade through. It ABSOLUTELY WAS NOT THAT I DIDN'T WANT MY DAD TO MOVE ON AND BE HAPPY. I DID!!!! I emphatically DID and DO. I want him to continue living his life, and I want him to have someone to share it with. I know I would want that if faced with a similar situation.

And I did realize quickly that his moving on to date so quickly was likely in some way a testament to the love he shared with my Mom. He wanted to have that feeling again as quickly as he could... It was his safety and his joy.

The complication comes in with the fact that this new person is for the child and the siblings and other family members--by NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN--a physical embodiment of the fact that their family member is ALL THE WAY GONE and that life will never look like it did and like you desperately want it to still. And THAT is a slap in the face. I can remember many mornings standing at my Mom's grave... looking at that headstone with both of their names on it, thinking--how in the world did my life get to looking like this...? now Mom is gone and someone else is here.... I didn't ask for this!

I tried very hard to remember all the way through that my Dad wasn't doing this to hurt me... That indeed he needed to do this for whatever reason to make it through this huge blow. I tried very hard to remember that it wasn't his new friend's fault that she represented this huge, dark, black, sad feeling for me. And in fact--near as I can tell, my Dad has no clue what a struggle it was for me. He just knows I'm happy for him. He's even come to me for dating advice and to help steer him through their first few bumps along the way. And his friend? She has said more than once how grateful she was that I was welcoming to her.

But with all that trying--even with being kind, and courteous, and welcoming and supportive, it still HURT. It HURT a lot. HURTING--especially when involved in GRIEVING is NOT rational. As such the feelings you feel don't fit into the "Try to see it from your Dad's perspective," box or the "Would you want him to be alone forever?" box. It's just not as easy as that. At least it wasn't for me.

As for me... I wanted Daddy to go on... but I didn't want to have to deal with it immediately. Now I can get more of my emotions out of the way and simply be happy that he is happy, but some days I still hurt... and it is still hard for me to accept that someone who is not my Mom is with my Dad and in 'my house.'

It really does help to be able to talk to others who have been through it as well... because a lot of the emotions carry over. I felt SO ALONE in what I was feeling over my Mom's death and my Dad's very quick dating until I was with my husband's family... His siblings and his cousins had all lost a parent and that parent had subsequently remarried... I remember one day a very honest conversation was had--more with the siblings and cousins than with me, about how they felt... About how men move on so much more quickly than women often do. They had a lot of the same emotions and for the first time I felt, "I am not an evil wench wanting to squelch her Dad's happiness. I'm just feeling feelings that are normal and doing the best that I can."

I can't speak for Kim on how she is handling this. I know that so many of these gracious replies will likely help her. So many different perspectives have been given. But I wanted to try to give the perspective of a child who's gone through this to those who sit in different seats as well. It's not as easy as just telling yourself to let your other parent be happy. It's messy. And hard. And difficult. And it takes time to let your heart catch up with your head.

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Dear Friends,

Personal grieving IS selfish - it's supposed to be that way. My personal grieving is selfish - it's all about ME! It's not about how our spouses or parents or whoever are in a better place, or that it was a blessing that he or she didn't suffer. It's not about the spouse being happy because they found someone else. It's about our own personal, yes selfish, grieving. It's normal and it's to be expected.

It's always hard to accept change, whether it be from a close death, divorce, disease, or permanent disabling accident. We grieve because we want everything to be as it was. We want our spouses, moms and dads, children, etc. back. We want our parents to get back together, the disease to go away, and a miracle to remove the paralysis, blindness, etc.

Kim, Val, Melissa, and anyone dealing with these feelings - IT'S OK!!! When I told you I knew Don would have found someone to replace me, and quickly, I also know that our son would have been very angry about it. It's easy to understand, but not easy to accept. I get it! Take the time you need to heal and accept the hundreds of changes that have come your way. Just keep on trying, get counseling if necessary, but most important, please know that your feelings right now are perfectly normal.

May God bless you all with peace.



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All of your thoughts and effort to help me understand I am so grateful for. It really is helpful to be able to come here and vent and not be judged.

I don't know how much of this I should really tell about family dynamics and struggles but I figure, again, you will not judge me, and maybe it will help you understand why I feel such betrayel and hurt.

A few things, this is my Step Dad, since I was 13... we do not share the unconditional love that a father and daughter have. We were pals unitl I moved out, then things were more strained. My mom always thought it was because of 2 things, one, he was no longer the MAN in my life and two, he left home when he was 18 and though he maintained long distance relationships with his family, he never looked or moved back.

My real dad was killed 3 years ago, on a motorcycle.

I know my mom had chemo brain and after whole brain rads and decadron I know her thoughts were not clear, sometimes not rational, and many times too emotionally charged to make any sense. She made it clear to him that she did not want him to move on, she told him mean things, that she would haunt him if he brought another woman into her home.

She would sit on my couch and cry because their relationship was no longer intimate and he was more her caregiver. She said he would get frusterated and angry with her (I can understand WHY he did, she could be a real pain) and they would fight. I know what Decadron does and I was on the recieving end many many times.

He would call her from work and tell her who he was going to lunch with and she was sitting home sick and miserable and lonely for him.

He told me when the time came he would take leave from work and he never did.

He said he would have friends but out of respect for moms wishes he would not marry.

Mom had a wierd feeling about this girl named Candy. She cried to me that she thought this woman was hitting on him right there in front of her in her house.

It wasn't 2 weeks after mom died that Candy was coming to visit. Things didn't click with them, he told me he was too old for her. But Candy set him up with this lady.

He had some health problems a month after she died and he even asked the doctor out that treated him.

I know that I cannot hold my step dad to what he said or what mom made him promise in all that emotional turmoil but what hurts so much is that it is in my face. One week he says he will wait 2 years to sell the house and make an make any decidions about marriage then 3 days later he said he will sell in the spring. I am barely keeping my head above water here and I feel like I keep getting knocked down with more and more and I feel very alone.

I know they loved each other. I hope in my heart that my mom would want him to be happy.

I DO WANT HIM TO BE HAPPY! I would never expect him to stay alone. He clearly was ready to move on and good for him, I am glad he can fill his hole.

I just feel it is way too soon to be taking women camping in her camper to the same places they went together. Why can't he go somewhere new? Why does he have to tell us? Why does he keep telling me one thing then doing another? This was the most honest, and self proclamed 'honorable' man.

What it comes down too really though is that it is out of my control. He is happy and I am not standing in his way, I try to say nothing or reveal nothing about mow I feel. I try to smile and turn away before the emotion takes over, but it will be awhile before I can rise above it all and just be happy for him. It is easier said than done.

In my world she is irreplaceable, in his world she is replaceable and he has said so and he has done so, in just a few months, when I am still reeling from the reality of it all.

To say just be happy for him, he is easing his pain and doing well, is a little like saying don't be sad, your mom is in heaven now. It is a nice thought but I'm just a failure at controlling my emotions.

Well there I went with another book revealing way too much in too many words, I think I better visit my journal pages and do some more writing, I seem to have alot to say.

Hugs to you all.

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