Posted: Thursday, August 13, 2009 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: My mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer three years ago, and she recently passed away. She was a wonderful woman, and she and my father had a loving 31-year marriage.
It hasn’t even been a month since Mom died, and my dad has already signed up for online dating networks. He is very co-dependent and wants to find someone to be intimate with, who will also clean his house and take care of him like our mother did.
My sister and I think it would be good for Dad to meet someone in a few months, but right now it feels like he’s jumping into the dating pool too soon. We’re concerned someone might take advantage of him financially because he’s not thinking clearly. He hasn’t grieved much since her death, and we believe he might be trying to fill the void instead of dealing with his feelings. Should we approach him about this or let him do what he wants regardless of the consequences? — Missing Mom in Missouri
Dear Missouri: You sound like you have a level head on your shoulders. Widowers, in particular, often look for companionship immediately after their spouse dies because they do not like being alone and have always had someone to take care of them. It’s also possible your father has been quietly grieving for three years and is ready to get out there again.
Talk to him about your concerns. Tell him you understand why he wants to meet someone and you are all in favor, but unfortunately, there are women who prey upon vulnerable, lonely men and you want to be sure he is protected. Ask him not to rush into anything and to let you get to know the women he is dating. Then keep a close eye on the situation.
Dear Annie: Please tell the rest of the world that not everyone has the same technology. I got a phone call this morning from a friend who didn’t give her name, and I couldn’t identify her voice. I have a regular landline without caller ID. I had to ask who she was. It was embarrassing for both of us.
People also communicate by e-mail these days, and you can see who is sending the message. When they phone my house, they forget that I have no clue who is on the other end of the line. When I call someone, I identify myself right away. — Frustrated in Massachusetts
Dear Frustrated: It is good manners, with or without caller ID, to identify yourself when you phone, and people should not make assumptions about what gizmos others have in their homes. Thanks for the reminder.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “N,” who has multiple sclerosis and her family is not very understanding. Her mother accused her of faking it and said it was a punishment from God. She finally broke off her relationship with her verbally abusive mother and finds that her siblings have stopped inviting her to family functions if Mom will be present.
I had to wait 23 years to have Thanksgiving with my siblings. While I waited, I wrote each one a letter expressing my feelings about their abandonment. When my mother died, I gave them their letters. (If I had died first, my mother would have received one, as well.)
My advice is for “N” to keep sending everyone birthday and Christmas cards (and include a little something in the envelopes for nieces and nephews). Keep your faith. But know this — they will regret what they have done. When that happens, be the bigger person and forgive them. Life truly is too short to waste. — Been There in Memphis, Tenn.
Dear Memphis: You sound like a class act. Thanks for writing.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 8.13.09