Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Dad is gone, but stepmom issues remain

Q: My father married a woman 20 years younger than him. Since he passed away two years ago at 84, his widow hasn't invited us over to the house I grew up in. She sent my daughter a card for her birthday, but nothing else. When my brother came to town, she was too busy with her church to see him. When my nephew visited, she dropped off cookies and a gift for his kids, but left because she didn't want to drive in the rain. She accepts dinner invitations, always comes on Thanksgiving, and occasionally pays.

I always thought she married my dad for his money, and she insisted that he leave her everything; my dad told me that. My dad left my brother and me a small insurance policy.

She showed no affection toward my dad when he was dying of lung cancer, and she gave him so much morphine that he lost consciousness. I think she's evil, but she camouflages herself as a super-religious churchgoer.

I wonder if I am just biased against her. How does one handle a person like this?

Anonymous

A: The only answer is a general and rather sad one, that there's really nothing to "handle"; she apparently does not see herself as part of your family beyond a rather superficial sense of duty. Maybe she did use your father and maybe, too, there was more love between them than you were able to see, but, either way, I'm not sure how that's relevant now. Since you plainly dislike her, I'd say you're overdue to release her from the last few family obligations. And expectations.

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