Annie’s Mailbox for April 8, 2011: Children won’t let widow move on
April 8, 2011
Dear Annie: My sister-in-law, “Cathy,” has been a widow for more than 18 months. Before her husband passed, they lost a young son in a tragic accident.
Cathy recently met a divorced man through a church site for singles and is the happiest I’ve seen in a long time. The problem is her adult children. They are attacking her on Facebook with snide remarks, calling her crazy and saying she needs to be committed. We have told them their mother is happy and they should let her move on with her life, but it falls on deaf ears.
I feel it is no one’s business (including these children) what Cathy chooses to do. She is anxious for the family to meet this gentleman, and he is so taken with her that he is ready to get married after six months of church preparations.
When her husband died, Cathy was in a sad situation, financially and emotionally. She is heartbroken about her children’s attitude and disrespect. What do you think?
— Hoping She Finds Happiness and a Companion
Dear Hoping: Unfortunately, it is not unusual for adult children to object to a parent remarrying. Children can grieve for a deceased parent forever and still go on with their lives. But it is horrendously unfair to expect the surviving spouse to remain locked in a mourning period that does not allow future happiness with someone else. Cathy’s children are being particularly nasty by publicly deriding her.
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However, please urge Cathy not to rush into anything. She is lonely and vulnerable to marrying for the wrong reasons. She should take her time to get to know this man better, allow her children and family members to understand his character, and make every effort to let all of them accept him. Of course, the final decision about marriage should be hers.
Dear Annie: My brother recently retired. For months, I planned to surprise him at his office with a special cake I designed for the occasion. However, I ended up having major emergency surgery. I called a friend, a professional cake designer, who made the cake and delivered it to “Bennie” on his special day.
That evening, Bennie called to tell me how much he appreciated the cake. I mentioned that I would love to have a piece to commemorate his special day. He replied, “There was a bit left, so I will be able to enjoy it for a few days.”
Bennie has never come to see me in the weeks since surgery although he lives only 15 minutes away. He did not even think to share a small piece of cake with my husband and me to commemorate this major turning point in his life. Am I wrong to feel hurt?
— Not All About the Cake
Dear Not: It would have been nice for Bennie to share a piece of cake with you, but it was his to do with as he pleased. More important is why he hasn’t been inclined to see his sister, who recently recovered from major surgery. Men often respond to a more direct approach. Instead of being resentful, tell Bennie you miss him and wonder why he hasn’t come to see you.
Dear Annie: You should tell “Ms. Frustrated” that the reason her parents are dressed the way they are is not only because they are comfortable in their “old” clothes, but because for women there are no clothes on the market that we old folks would be seen in.
I am 72 years old and wear a size 8. The things that fit me are too young by 40 years and don’t go with my gray hair. I would look silly in that stuff. If my daughter doesn’t like it, it’s her problem, not mine.
— Skinny Old Lady
Dear Skinny: We think you should dress as you please, but an occasional update can do wonders for attitude. There are appropriate clothes for older shoppers, but you might need to look a little further afield.