Sunday, May 27, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

After death, daughter and father are moving on at different speeds

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Widowed father moving on more quickly than daughter

Q: Four months ago, my mother died unexpectedly and suddenly at 53. She had been ill (with my dad as caretaker) but was expected to make a full recovery. Two months later my dad was going out on "dates" with a few women — bike rides and coffee. He acknowledged it was too early but was asked and wanted to get out of the house. I was supportive.

Now he has started to call a couple by their first names, and the dates are less casual. He seems to be seeing these women several times per week.

I understand my dad is lonely and is an adult without minor children. But I can't help but feel perturbed; it feels like too much too quickly.

Additionally, he has completely eschewed any grief counseling (I haven't pushed it — he complains that his doctors keep bringing it up). I haven't said anything negative, though I do try to change the subject after I say something like, "Well that sounds fun."

Is this something I need to come to terms with on my own, or is there a nonhurtful way to ask him to stop mentioning any women unless it gets serious? I don't want to cut myself off emotionally, but his talking about "Kathy" baking him cake is surprisingly upsetting.

Quiet Daughter?

Carolyn: I'm sorry about your mom — what an awful shock.

Your dad is dating "too much too quickly" for you — and that makes it something you can't ask your father to fix, no matter how understandable your discomfort is. You're both still grieving and you're both doing so in your own ways, which is fine. The problem is only that your ways conflict.

You don't say whether you've gotten any grief counseling yourself, but if you haven't, then please do. A support group is ideal for talking about your discomfort openly, and might remove the pressure you feel to say something to your dad.

As you'll probably hear from others at such a session (readers mention it just about every time this subject comes up), widow(er)s who jump into dating often are the ones who most enjoyed their marriages; they're motivated to find that kind of happiness again.

No one can replace what your father shared with your mother, of course, but I suspect most aren't in it for that. It's more the feeling of loving and being loved that they seek. Plus, even survivors of the happiest of marriages aren't immune to the head-rush of new love; our humanity trumps all. Embracing that might sweeten your disposition toward cake-bearing Kathies.

Anonymous: Is it possible just to be open and honest with your dad? "You+Mom has been all I've known all my life, and dealing with losing Mom and then having You+Other People at the same time is a lot for me. I love you and I just want you to understand what's going on for me, instead of hiding it from you. Please don't take this as my asking you to stop doing anything, just understand if sometimes I can't be enthusiastic about it right then or seem kind of reserved."

Carolyn: This is an excellent Plan B, thanks — best saved for when a sincere effort at Plan A, acceptance, falls short.

Comments
With makeover, ZooTampa at Lowry Park takes a page from the theme parks

With makeover, ZooTampa at Lowry Park takes a page from the theme parks

TAMPA — Behind the construction walls near the carousel at ZooTampa at Lowry Park, hammers, saws and power drills made a racket in the blazing Friday heat. A raft full of 100-pound water jugs took test trips on the new Roaring Springs ride set ...
Published: 05/25/18

Tell Me About It: Half sister worries about wedding drama

Half sister worries about wedding drama"target="_blank">Half sister worries about wedding dramaQ: I really want to go to my half-sisterís wedding, but I donít want to start trouble with her dad, who hates me. He might cause a scene if I go.My mom ch...
Published: 05/25/18
An all-ages playlist of the summer songs of 2018? It can be done

An all-ages playlist of the summer songs of 2018? It can be done

Recently I was asked to create a playlist for a summer beach party. An opportunity to procrastinate and mess around on Spotify for a few hours? Yeah, totally, when can I start?I like playlists that are diverse, not just in terms of genre (pop, hip-ho...
Published: 05/24/18
9 things to do indoors on this rainy Memorial Day weekend

9 things to do indoors on this rainy Memorial Day weekend

We've got you covered. Get it?
Published: 05/24/18

Tell Me About It: Busy mom wants to check her priorities

Q: As a mother of three young kids holding a full-time job and with a husband who frequently works late evenings and some weekends, I feel my priorities change according to what is in front of me at the time, then Iím reconsidering my choices later.H...
Published: 05/24/18
Top things to do for the week of May 28-June 3.

Top things to do for the week of May 28-June 3.

Shania Twain: Canadian country pop princess makes a comeback at the Amalie Arena in Tampa on Saturday ($36.20-$156.20).Memorial Day: Thereís plenty of ways to celebrate today, including the Treasure Island Memorial Day Parade that steps off at 9 a.m....
Updated: 11 hours ago
Top things to do for Memorial Day weekend in Tampa Bay: Concerts, festivals and memorials

Top things to do for Memorial Day weekend in Tampa Bay: Concerts, festivals and memorials

Our editors' picks for things to do this weekend.
Published: 05/25/18
Top things to do this weekend: Margarita Festival, Rays’ Kiermaier as Star Wars figure, Nintinder

Top things to do this weekend: Margarita Festival, Rays’ Kiermaier as Star Wars figure, Nintinder

LIME TIME: Tampa Bay Margarita Festival This year, there are twice the bartenders and a new RFID wristband system for less waiting at the two-day Tampa Bay Margarita Festival with a margarita flavor for every taste. Music headliners are the Wallflow...
Published: 05/23/18
John Fogerty, coming to Clearwater, isn’t backing down on protest songs, Parkland and #MeToo

John Fogerty, coming to Clearwater, isn’t backing down on protest songs, Parkland and #MeToo

It’s been 50 years since John Fogerty wrote Fortunate Son, one of the most scathing protest songs from the Vietnam War era. Writing another one with that kind of impact has been a challenge ever since. "Back in the ’80s, I had a couple o...
Published: 05/23/18
What's in theaters this week: 'Solo: A Star Wars Story,' Art and Short Film Mini-Fest

What's in theaters this week: 'Solo: A Star Wars Story,' Art and Short Film Mini-Fest

OPENING FRIDAY: SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY Alden Ehrenreich stars as a young Han Solo navigating the underworld and meeting his forever wingman Chewbacca and his scoundrel buddy Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover). With Emilia Clarke, Thandie Newton, Woo...
Published: 05/23/18