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Even more than the symbolism of the thing, it was just an awful bed: thin, hard mattress, and so narrow; horrible metal rails on both sides. It’s not like I want him to sit home and mourn Mom for the rest of his days.

And of course their good sheets didn’t fit on it, so we had to use some old half-polyester ones dredged up from the back of the linen closet. Or even a minute longer than he “needs” to (however one figures such a thing). My auntie and my sister-in-law and I took the things we wanted, and could use; the rest…can go away. And we’ve kept plenty of mementos to tangibly remember her with.

At a mere 63 when she died — ten years younger than my mom — he was far too young to be a widower.“Don’t do anything drastic for a year,” we all told him. He’s his own person, and he gets to be the boss of his own life. And, as I think about it more deeply, it occurs to me that there’s another angle to look at this all from: the amazing man who is my stepdad is not going to fall in love with an unremarkable woman. He’s not going to leave us; he’ll be bringing a new person into our family. I already have plenty of room in my heart for four parents.

“Have fun, date, whatever you like; just don’t make any commitments till at least a year has gone by.”They had been so happily married. He grieved, honestly and thoroughly; and he’ll miss Mom for the rest of his days; but he’s now ready to open his heart to someone else now — or at least, he’s ready to give it a try.

While money might not be the root of all evil, it is not at all uncommon for it to cause irrational behavior.

My brother and I were more hollowed-out; teary, at times, but more empty, disbelieving. Not to deny the loss; but to remember that he’s still living. It’s not her possession, no matter how much she cherished him (and she did).

Their concerns can center also on their mother’s possessions, such as jewelry or furs, and any other items they may consider valuable.

“That woman is just interested in your money,” or” Why do you want to spend all of your money on her? I’m sure you can think of other zingers that can be thrown at the widower.

While one might expect that grown children would be happy that their Dad has started to move beyond his grief, surprisingly they often behave with animosity instead.

Both sons and daughters are equally prone to react negatively to the introduction of a new woman in their father’s life. A number of reasons come to mind and all of them have to do with fear on the part of the children that they will lose something they hold dear.

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