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Follow up on advice


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Thank you all so much for the insight and advice. I really have taken a lot of it to heart - some of it I already knew but needed affirmation, and some of it gave me new insight. I appreciate everyone sharing their thoughts and experiences.

The last few days since I wrote the post have been tough - my dad has been on about five dates with someone, and my beloved sister Deb just had a baby girl 12 days ago. She's having a hard recovery physically, so that makes things more emotional with missing Mom at this special time. However, my brave and blunt little sister (Deb) pretty much opened up the floodgates last night on the phone with Dad when he started talking about this woman, etc. He asked if he could bring this woman to Deb's house that night, b/c she just "loves babies". My sister was shocked - she hasn't even taken her baby to the cemetery yet. My sister said no, she was not ready for that, then she took the reins and told Dad that when Mom was sick in the hospital, she told Deb she knew Dad would find someone else quickly b/c he couldn't be alone and take care of himself. My mom also said that she wanted Debbie to make sure nothing happened to our family like what happened in my husband's family (with heirlooms, etc). (Please keep in mind, my parents did not have the best marriage, and my dad was kind of helpless and yes, cruel at times when she was sick.) Dad said, oh no, he wasn't giving anything away. Who says that's the only way it can leave the house?

Deb also mentioned to Dad that he should be careful about jumping into things so fast with someone he met on the internet and knows nothing about, etc. And many other upfront things - like that he never liked the lake house when Mom was alive, always gave her a hard time about spending the summer there...yet now it's the greatest place on earth, and if he took someone else up there and acted like it was this great resort, it would be a slap in the face to us three girls.

As usual, not much of a reaction from Dad - he filtered out what he wanted to hear and turned it to his liking. Ex- "Mom said she knew you'd find someone else b/c you couldn't be alone and take care of yourself." Normal person's reaction, based on their marital history: maybe a little guilt, shame, sadness, self-examination, introspection. Dad's mental interpretation: green light! Permission from Mom to find someone else and quickly - off the hook from guilt.

How do I know this? Because after Deb told him all this, he appeared on her doorstep the next night to return her dogs he'd been babysitting, and proceeded to sit down, have many drinks and talk for FOUR hours about this new person - how they salsa danced in my parents' kitchen, how she cooked him dinner with all those (formerly useless, but now great) pans Mom had. Despite my sister's poor physical condition, precarious emotional state, and what she had said the night before, he just plowed right on in.

I know I sound like a big b-tchy downer. But there are so many other mitigating circumstances here, it just kills me, it's not just about older guy finds new love. I guess it's about how he treated his OLD love. I need to realize truly that he just DOESN'T GET IT. And no matter what you say, he refuses to GET IT. However, it doesn't stop me from being physically ill over this on a daily basis - my stress level is through the roof, and the grief is back with a vengeance. And I just can't let him off the hook because he "doesn't get it". And now that I know this person my dad barely knows is in the house among all of Mom's things...I'm just completely freaked.

My older sister and I are going to talk to him this weekend about heirlooms and the lake house. I will take a lot of the advice I got from you guys to heart. Thanks so much....

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I so understand the anger. And I so understand him just not getting it. It was a very different situation, but honestly.... I've recently spent some long hours in counseling realizing how much his just not getting it has affected me (boy I feel like an Oprah case!).

When my husband's Daddy died and his Mom remarried, they decided to 'downsize' too. Their way of 'downsizing' was having an auction of all of my husband's families' stuff--especially his Dad's. His Mom and step-dad (not maliciously) put many things on the auction flyer that were precious family heirlooms that by contract had to STAY in the auction, and they lost a lot. The siblings have all since discovered that many of the precious family items that were left over were actually sold on E-bay.

All this to say that I'm glad you guys are talking about it and dealing with it.

I hurt for your family and your sister with this new little baby and difficult recovery and your oblivious Daddy.

And for the record... I am ALWAYS here to be a sounding board about all of this. I know it can feel so lonely. I know how complicated these situations can make grieving. Just hang in there, ok?

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I have been reading all your posts, and I have to say, I don't have words. I just shake my head in disbelief. How old is your Dad? Just curious - I am wondering if he is dealing with the guilt of the way he treated your Mom by acting like she never existed?? I don't know, just pulling at straws here... I give you credit for keeping yourself "together" through all this... Just know I am thinking of you and praying for some strength for you and some COMMON SENSE for your Dad!!!

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Val, thank you, I always think of you when I go through this stuff. Sadly, you are a step ahead in the process each time. Reading what happened with your mother-in-law sounds so familiar, I've heard it time and time again. My father-in-law and his new wife (like yours, not maliciously) had a yard sale. (One of the neighbors actually rescued some of the things that the grandchildren had given my husband's mom, bless her heart.) After the yard sale, they went through drawers and threw out precious family papers that his mom had saved for years, including his parents' 55-year-old handwritten wedding program, very old handwritten poetry from his grandmother and saddest of all, a loving Mother's Day letter from my husband's 23-year-old uncle written right before he died in a tank explosion in World War II. Precious, precious family heirlooms. My heart aches just thinking about the loss of that WWII letter.

Sharon - my dad is 75. I don't know what to say about guilt. My dad did the song and dance about feeling a little guilty when he took his ring off (oh wait, it wouldn't come off so he had my cousin saw it off). But as far as guilt over anything he said to my mom, etc...nope. That's the kicker, he is oblivious to all of this and thinks he is the noble widower. The bad things he said to her were mostly related to my mom losing it over him refusing to build the porch she wanted on her lake house (or should I say ignoring her pleading requests and continuing to read the newspaper). I still find it inexcusable. It was so bad that I honestly believe if my mom wasn't so sick, she would have left him. But he has conveniently edited all of that out, like he always does.

The hardest part of all of this is that he was/is a great dad, he loves my kids and they love him, he just came over yesterday to watch the older ones while I took my sister to the doctor. It would be so much easier if he were crappy all around, but he's not. Yet if we have this conversation with him, I'm convinced it will go in one ear and out the other. My sister and I agreed though, even if he retains 10% of it, it would be worth having the conversation.

Like I said, I just don't know what to do...

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Michele: I'm with KatieB and I'll go a step further. Not only have a plan, at least as far as your mother's belongings go, but have it go into effect the day of "the talk." I believe people behave (outrageously) the way they do because other people allow them to. Also, if this woman has an adjenda related to getting your mother's things, their monetary value, or even getting them out of your dad's life and memory, don't doubt she'll put it into action the minute your dad tells her what the meeting was about--and don't doubt that he will tell her. The lake property may require a little more time and effort but don't let what happened to other's who have shared here happen to you and your sibling(s).

My heart goes out to you. The loss of your mother is enough to deal with.

Judy in Key West

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"I believe people behave (outrageously) the way they do because other people allow them to."

YES! I agree 100%. That is just what I said to my sister last night. As long as Dad doesn't have accountability, or is at least put on notice, he will continue on to new levels.

Katie and Judy, I really like your idea of a plan. The way his brain works really requires something that is entirely UN-ambiguous.

Thank you!

PS - Katie, I remember all that you went through and continue to go through with your family, and it amazes me you are still standing. You are inspiring, that's for sure...

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I guess even if he only does retain 10% of what you say.. it is definetely worth having the conversation if, for no other reason, than to get it off you and your sisters chests. I was surprised to read he is 75 years old... i expected him to be in his mid-60's... don't know why, but I did.

I guess at the end of the day, after all is said and done, it comes down to the fact that he is your Dad, you do love him, and he is good to your children. And after you say what you need too... you have to get passed all this in order for YOUR life to move forward in a positive direction. Please let us know how you make out !!! Love,Sharon

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Michele, may I suggest you and your sisster have the 'talk' at his house, and then immediately after put your plan into action since you will already be there. Ten percent retention at the time of the talk anywhere else sounds like it would translate down to zero percent retention by the time he got home. Let us know how it goes


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Make a clean break and force your

father to part NOW with all the things

you would like from your mother.

You could be smooth doing it and it will

give you satisfaction to have it done


The longer you wait the worst the family

situation will get.

Sorry for what you are going through.


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