• All threads and posts regarding Coronavirus COVID-19 can now be found in our new area specifically for Coronavirus COVID-19 discussion.

    You can directly access this area >here<.

Losing my son

afghan

Registered User
Nov 2, 2005
10
72
Kent
I have not posted since losing my wife on 13the March 2007 aged 57. Ruth developed Alzheimers at 44. I cared for her until she developed epelepsy in 2002 and my health deteriorated. She went into an EMI home in Feb 2003 unable to communicate effectively and not knowing me. I visited every day and fed her lunch and dinner. I did everything possible to ensure her care was good. I loved her so much, even though she was not the Ruth I married in 1969.
In May 2003 I was invited out to dinner with friends and a lady that had lost her husband in 2001 at the age of 47. He had bowel cancer and had been ill for many years. We enjoyed each others company and she listened to my constant talking about Ruth and her terrible suffering. She gave me a focus, someone to cry with and the strength to carry on caring and loving Ruth. Ann did not come between Ruth and I, and was not a threat to her, far from it. She would buy her flowers and presents but never met Ruth in person. One of my sons was comfortable with this relationship understanding how Ann was keeping me alive, as were close freinds and most relations. My youngest son was not.
Ann knew Ruth as well as anyone. She had listened to constantly talking about her, had watched every video and looked at every photo.
When Ruth passed away Ann asked if she could come to the funeral to pay her respects and to support me. She also offered to open up my house for those that did not wish to go to the crematorium. My son informed me he did not want Ann at the funeral. I felt I needed her and do not regret that decision. However, he saw Ann in his 'mums house' later which he tells me upset him. I accept this may have been the wrong decision and have appologised several times. But these decisions were taken at a time of extreme emotion.
As time passed we decided to sell our houses and buy one together, to start afresh and hopefully have a little happiness. We have been unable to sell due to the property slump. We do not want to be alone any longer. We decded to rent Ann's house and she would move to mine, which would remain for sale. When we can we will but a new house, and look forward to that. Of course my son and his partner will not accept this situation and the matter has come to a head. I have been accused of disrespecting Ruth's memory and compounding that by 'moving her in'. It is so difficult to get them to understand what 13 years of hell has been like for me and the fact that all I want is a little happiness. I am accussed of not considering his feelings always turning to my feelings. Of course my other son does not share his brothers view.
After all I have been through I remain stressed and unhappy. I have lost my lovely wife to this insideous disease and it is continuing to claim its victims.
I have offerd to go to Relate with my son, but have been advised I am not welcome to visit my new grandaughter Millie-Ruth, until the issue is resolved. The assumption is that if it is not I will never be permitted to see her. I have two other grandaughters by my eldest son.
I do not expect any answers from the forum but feel a desperate need to share with those that I feel may understand.
I believe Brucie that you may have been in a similar situation.
 

christine_batch

Registered User
Jul 31, 2007
3,388
Buckinghamshire
Dear Afghan,

Having lost my own husband recently I can understand where you are coming from.

My Uncle lost his sole mate to Cancer but out of the blue he met a beautiful lady. My Uncle always said he would never remarry and his partner change her name by deed poll.

During the hell of Caring for someone with Alzheimer's, although we will always love that person at the end of the day I know my husband would not have wished for me to be lonely.

In my case it is early days for me but my children have told me it would be lovely if I could find someone who would love and care for me as I had done with my family.

I am so sorry that your son is putting you in this position and to use the Grandchild well I am sorry but in my view that is so unfair.

You do deserve to have a life after AD. I do hope your son has a change of mind. Perhaps and it is only a thought, putting everything down in a letter.

I do wish you well and whatever the outcome it reads that you have one special lady who was there when you needed someone.

Best wishes
Christine
 

Numberlock

Registered User
Feb 4, 2009
116
Manchester
Hi Afghan, I'm sorry to read this, as a mother of 3 sons myself it makes me feel really sad to think of possible family rifts in the future, especially when it is so clear that all you have done is be a loving husband and father.

Of course my other son does not share his brothers view.
I'm not suggesting you use your other son as a go-between, but I wondered if he had spoken to his brother about the situation and if that had helped at all?
 

Annoula

Registered User
Dec 4, 2008
155
Greece
hello afghan,

i think your younger son is very hurt by the loss of his mother. it may not actually be you and a possible new partner, but the loss of his mother and the fear to see you with a "replacement".

maybe if you tried to talk to him, and share your emotions, not for your new friend, but for your wife and for him as your son.
maybe if you reassured your son that no-one can take his mother's place in your heart.. she will always be his mother and you his father. no one can change that.
maybe tell him that you feel sorry and bad and that you hurt really deep because you lost your children's mother.. you would do anything to have your wife back and share a happy life together enjoying your sons and grandchildren.
but life had other thoughts for you and you ended up losing your wife. you had a difficult time and now you just need to bring the smile back to your face.
reassure him that you love him and that you feel lonely without him and his family in your life.

maybe such a talk will help.

i hope everything goes well for you.
 

Numberlock

Registered User
Feb 4, 2009
116
Manchester
Just another thought I had, Afghan, I'm sure you've already thought of it but has Ann tried talking to your son on her own? Just to back you up in the fact that she isn't trying to replace his mother in any way and isn't a threat to your relationship with your son and grandchild.

Also, could I ask what is the reaction of your daughter-in-law in all of this? If she's more amenable to things, you could also try approaching her?
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
70,702
Kent
Hello Afghan

I`m really sorry your son is unable to come to terms with your new relationship, I do understand how he feels but also feel he is being far too heavy handed with you.

When my father died my mother was comforted by a close family friend who had lost his wife a year previously. They eventually married.

I didn`t have the best relationship with either of my parents and yet I found it very difficult to visit my mother`s house, which was not the family home as I`d never lived there, and be welcomed by her new husband.

I had no problems with the second husband, in fact I got on better with him than I did with my own father, needless to say I still found it difficult.

Relationships are so complex and your son is probably still grieving for his mother. By seeing you with someone else, he probably feels you have stopped grieving and are happy again. He may not understand you can love more than one person or he may not be ready to accept someone in his mother`s place.

But he has no right to lay the law down with you. I`m sure if you had tried to interfere in any of his relationships when he was single, or his present relationship with his wife, he would not have tolerated it.

Give him time he might come round. If not, perhaps you could write to him explaining how you feel and how it has been difficult enough losing his mother without having to lose him and your grandchild as well.
 

Brucie

Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
12,413
near London
Hi Afghan

afghan said:
I believe Brucie that you may have been in a similar situation
Similar, yet different, as all these things go.

In my case, the only adverse comment has been on TP [via PM] and elsewhere with one or two carers. All of which I can understand because those concerned have not been in precisely the same situation and it is only then that understanding dawns.

I have so many times been very fortunate and this is no exception. My new family has been brilliant in accepting me in place of their husband/father/grandfather who passed on at the time Jan had entered the care home.

It helped that Jan and I and Nina and Geoff all met in the 1960s and had kept in touch. That gave me some provenance. Without that there would always be some ignorance of the past, and there are so many stories of people misleading others.

So, your situation.

You don't actually say what is the objection that your son has?
  • Is it that he sees someone he thinks is trying to replace his Mum?
  • Is it that he feels you will forget his Mum?
  • does he feel your love will be diverted in a new relationship
  • Is it that he thinks he will no longer be a main beneficiary in your Will?
  • does he feel you are being manipulated?
  • does he simply not like her?
My son informed me he did not want Ann at the funeral
basically, it was not his choice to make

However, he saw Ann in his 'mums house' later which he tells me upset him.
but it was your house, too. It is never going to be easy, a child of whatever age accepting someone new, but it is a two way thing; he has to give a little too.

I am accussed of not considering his feelings always turning to my feelings
there is one area where a child's feelings are a step behind, and that is when the parent needs to live as well. You deserve a life and he should respect that.

have been advised I am not welcome to visit my new grandaughter Millie-Ruth, until the issue is resolved
the question he needs to consider is whether his Mum would have wanted him to be like this to you, and also whether she would have wanted you to make the best of the rest of your life.

I wish you the best. Believe me, a new relationship does not compromise what has been, in fact in a way it helps it live on.

That doesn't mean it is easy, and your son should understand that
 

afghan

Registered User
Nov 2, 2005
10
72
Kent
Thank you all so much for sharing you thoughts and suggesting ways forward. Regretably I have tried most things. I have tried talking to him but his feelings seem to be so ingrained that it always comes to me not considering his feelings. I have been accussed of disrespecting his mothers memory. I have told him he could not have said anything worse to hurt me more. It meant my 38 years of marriage and 11 years of caring counted for nothing.
I and he have communicated our feelings by e mail and Yes, his brother has tried to talk to him. The danger is that brothers fall out and I do not want that.
My close friends and relatives keep asking,'Surely he doesn't want you to be on your own' and 'Ruth would be beside herself if she knew this was happening' for Ruth was the most gentle, caring and religious person you could wish to meet.
I have offered to go to Relate with him and have even provided the contact details and stated let me know the date and time and I will be there. I have not heard anything since. But who knows I may yet! I have also suggested to him that perhaps he should seek some berievement councelling with Cruse as I did. That may help but knowing him I doubt that will be an acceptable course.
At 61 I do feel I have earnt the right to live what I have left of my life in happiness, and so has Ann, whose daughters have totally accepted me. But any happiness will be short changed without both of my sons. Alzheimers claimed my wife in the most terrible way. It may now claim my son and my gorgeous grandaughter.
I guess time will tell but I do not have much energy left for this!!!
 

Bookworm

Registered User
Jan 30, 2009
2,581
Co. Derry
I'm not sure if my story may help - but when my mother died my father married the woman that my mother had thought maybe he had at least, & maybe more than, an eye on. He married secretly with none of his children present - fearing our concern - mum not having been dead even a year.

But i loved my dad and although I found the new wife had corners where other people have curves....she did have some strengths - not least she loved my dad & stopped him from being lonely. They had about 15 years together and I think at times they both made each others lives difficult - while at others - most of the time - they generated years of happy memories - for themselves and for us as children and grandchildren.

We were glad my dad lived on healthy & happy - with no-one to share his life with I doubt we would have had all those years and memories........basically the day he rang & said he had remarried I was faced with a choice and it took only seconds to know he was worth more than nurturing my sadness at a displaced mum........

Hope this helps a little
 

Softy

Registered User
Jan 25, 2008
97
West Yorkshire
I am maybe not the best placed to offer advice at this time but I had to answer having read these posts. May I suggest that your son reads these posts give him a link and let him read what he is doing to his dad, then tell him to be thankful that he has still got you. I hope things work out you deserve to be happy he will regret this later and will not get the time back. xx
 

bucko

Registered User
Jan 28, 2009
785
Widnes
Afghan, I feel so much for you and also for your son. To lose any parent is so hard. I can remember when I lost my Dad in 1975 and I was out with Mum one night and some chap tried to chat her up. I was mortified and told him to 'get lost' and leave my Mum alone. The thought of anyone replacing my Dad was horrendous. When I look back and look at my Mum now, aged 87, and she has had 34 years without a man in her life, I realise what a terribly selfish daughter I was. Don't get me wrong, some say my Mum has been very lucky in other ways, she had ten children who tried to replace her loss, but I question whether this was the right thing to do. Perhaps if Mum had had time to herself, enjoy the company of another man, go out dancing instead of only being around her family and caring for us. She is a wonderful Mum and we couldn't ask for anyone better, but I can now see it from another perspective. You deserve your happiness and Ann will help you to achieve this, she is not taking away your love and the memories you have of your wife, his Mum and she is certainly not trying to replace her. Your son needs to accept this and Softy is right, try to get him to read these links.
 

Vonny

Registered User
Feb 3, 2009
4,577
Telford
Dear Afghan, you don't say how old your son is although he's obviously old enough to have a partner and child. His behavior reminds me a little of my son's attitude when I remarried (not due to widowhood - that came later!) although son was only 9 at the time and had more reason to be blinkered. His biggest fear was that I loved Brian (new husband) more than him. He was too young to understand there are all sorts of love, not mutually exclusive. Of course your son's fears are more complex and centreing around the fact that you have "forgotten" his mum, but he does need to take your feelings and needs into consideration.

Is he worried about his inheritance being left to Ann and her family rather than himself and his brother? I know that possibility used to bother my mum in case dad remarried after her death. She actually got him to change their house to tenants in common so he couldn't bequeath her share to anyone other than us 2 girls, but eventually felt so guilty about not trusting him that they changed it back! Filthy lucre has a lot to answer for.

I can't begin to imagine how I'd feel if my dad finds someone else when mum goes (although at 81 his choice is more limited!) but I hope I'd accept it with a good grace in the hope that dad would find some happiness after the years he's worked his socks off for his family, and cared unstintingly and uncomplainingly for mum over the last couple of years.

Good luck with your son, it's very hard for you but you are a person in your own right, not just a dad and grand-dad.

Warmest wishes

Vonny xx
 

Bookworm

Registered User
Jan 30, 2009
2,581
Co. Derry
An interesting post Vonny and if you go back to my story - I was aware my mother had concerns before she died that there would be a remarriage and to an identified person and she was upset there would be nothing of the estate for me. This was indeed the case - but still - even knowing this did not mean I should deny him happiness.....you only have one Dad and accepting and loving them comes with the turf that sometimes they do things that hurt - just like we did for years when their dependents.....so yes - a financial inheritance was lost but being part of his ongoing unfolding life was worth far more than any portion of a house.
 

Vonny

Registered User
Feb 3, 2009
4,577
Telford
Dear Bookworm you are so right. Maybe when I was younger the thought of not inheriting may have bothered me. Now both my sister and I are doing our best to get them to spend their money on themselves. Eventually their savings will no doubt be all spent on care for mum and if dad did remarry, we may inherit the house, we may not. Who knows? Who cares? The fact that mum has excellent care during her last years and that dad might still find some happiness in his life are the important things.

Just goes to show that middle age may not be the best age to be, but it does bring with it the understanding of the important values in life. :D

Dear Afghan, I hope your son soon comes around to this way of thinking and in the meantime at least your other son is with you all the way. Fingers crossed for a happy outcome.


Vonny
xxx
 

Brucie

Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
12,413
near London
I have always felt privileged that neither Jan nor I ever had a cent from our families on either side, and knew we wouldn't. Makes life and relationships simpler.

Everything we had, we worked [hard] for ourselves, and somehow it takes a huge weight off one's shoulders not to be concerned about what someone else may leave, when they pass.

It is all easier when there are no children, of course, as it was in our case.

The main concern is generally there for those lucky enough to have something to leave. For those who may receive, it is best not to expect it. That way there may be a pleasant surprise, and no nasty one.
 

jenniferpa

Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
39,448
You know I'm not sure it's always about money though. As a child and in the teens, I think it's mostly about losing the affection of the remaining parent. As you get older it becomes more about imagining the feelings of the person supplanted. It's only when you reach middle age, as Vonny says, that you can take that step back and attempt to balance everyone's feelings.

I was the only child of a widow so I know how it goes.