Question: My mother passed away just short of 4 months ago from breast cancer. She was only 60 years old. My father and her were married for 43 years. Shortly after my mom passed (2 weeks), a lady whom both of my parents knew from over 20 years ago (she took care of my grandmother when she was ill with cancer)started calling and dropping by the house. As far as I know, my parents were not in contact with this women over the years and she has now just showed up out of nowhere. My Dad has spent time with this woman going on drives and out to eat. When my sister asked him about her he has said that he enjoys her company but it is nothing serious. He is still grieving for my mom and that this woman is just someone to spend time with and do things with. Both my sister and I have concerns with her intentions. 1) She comes out of nowhere right after our mother passes away. 2) It appears that she wants more than just a friendship. 3) Both my sister and I feel it is too soon and disrespectful of this woman to be coming around so soon after my mother passed. 4) The way this has all played out really leaves us with a bitter taste and at this point I don’t like the woman even though I have not met her and I am not sure that I can like her even if her intentions are in good taste. 5) We feel like she is preying on my father when he is vulnerable and is still grieving for his wife. Both my sister and I just don’t know what to do in this case. I know my Dad is lonely and if he feels he needs a lady friend then I can come to terms with that. However, I just have a really bad feeling about this woman. Also, the other day my sister and Dad were getting ready to go to breakfast and this woman happens to just be driving by the house when they were outside and stops by. My Dad invited her to eat with them. This lady does not live anywhere near the house and there is really no reason she would be driving down our street. Is she a stalker and a predator? I am at a loss here. S.
Answer: Dear S.: I think you have every reason to be concerned. Your father doesn’t see her as a threat because he doesn’t have a clue. Most widowers are married within a year because they just don’t know how to go it alone. The first warm body that shows up often wins the prize no matter what anyone else says or does.
I would make an appointment to see her; you and your sister together. Tell her that you are going to be overprotective for a while because of your father’s vulnerability. Ask her to please back off and keep her distance out of respect for your mother, (since she wasn’t around for the last 20 years when your mother was alive.) Let her know that after a year or so your dad may be interested in a friendship but it’s too easy right now for him to misinterpret his neediness.
My guess is that this will do no good whatsoever but I would still try because his judgment may be seriously impaired. (Beware; it might bring them closer.) Your father will probably take exception to your “interference” and I further predict that “just being friends” will quickly morph into “she’s the one.”
And she may be; that’s always a remote possibility. It happened to me. I was 62 and my husband was 78 and had just lost his wife. A friend introduced us and after five (5) lunches, we married. That was 20 years ago and now his once justifiably resentful and frightened kids thank their lucky stars for me every day. I’m serious; even though there’s a runaway train…there’s not always a disaster. Blessings, Luise