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After mom's death, daughter helps dad find new joy

While I'm away, readers give the advice.

Daughter helps dad find new life after wife's death

On resenting a surviving parent who chooses to date again: When my mother died in 1988 of a heart attack, after almost 50 years of marriage, my father was devastated.

He told me he wanted to die; he had lost his reason to get up in the morning. I was in the middle of a difficult divorce and, as ludicrous as it sounds, told him he couldn't die because I didn't have the strength to deal with another loss. In the middle of his grief, he smiled and said he would wait for my permission.

Having witnessed the death of my grandmother barely six months after losing my grandfather, I was determined to find a reason for my father to get up in the mornings. No book clubs, though he loved to read; no volunteer work — he had worked hard all his life. Grandchildren couldn't be expected to fill up all his lonely hours; so I did something better, I found him a girlfriend.

And not only did I find a wonderful and beautiful companion for my father, but, when he was ready to ask her to marry him, he asked me to propose, said he was too shy. He was 74, and she was 66.

My father died in February of 2008, almost 20 years after my mother's death, and one year after the death of his second sweetheart. This second chapter of my father's life was once again full of love and happiness. They shared in all family gatherings, birthdays and holidays, and my father lived to see the birth of his five great-grandchildren. The family joke was that I was probably the only daughter who had ever asked for her stepmother's hand in marriage.

My father and I had dinner two weeks before his death. He brought up our conversation of many years before and asked if I was ready to give him permission. We both smiled.


Before entering relationship, know thyself

On making a list of traits you want in a mate: Having been divorced twice, I can tell you from experience that creating a "list" is essential to understanding what you want and need in a relationship.

I'm not talking about a long list of superficial attributes, like eye color. I'm talking about a list of crucial character and personality traits, moral values, belief systems and behaviors that align with one's own.

Not knowing myself or what I really wanted directly contributed to my two divorces. Because I never took the time to really assess what I value most in a life partner, or what I could and couldn't contribute to a lifelong relationship, I was unable to see the warning flags before making bad decisions. I learned my lesson (finally) and made my "list."

This provided an enormous amount of clarity and identified what I absolutely would not compromise on. My current marriage is all I dreamed it could be because of that list.

Fan of "Lists"

After mom's death, daughter helps dad find new joy 12/30/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 8:45am]
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