The other day, my husband mentioned that his dad has a new girlfriend.
Harry was widowed last May when my mother-in-law was hit by a car in front of their house. She had dementia – probably Alzheimer’s – but her husband didn’t fight her when she wanted to walk their neighborhood (in tights and a turtle neck but no skirt) or cross the street to get their mail. Their house is situated on a truck route in New York State, with a speed limit of 45 miles per hour.
To be honest (and fair), I don’t know that Harry and his lady friend are actually an item, but this was my husband’s take, and he knows his dad pretty well.
In this moment, the news is killing me. It brings up all the pain of losing Faith, which was my mother-in-law’s name. It brings up my anger that Harry didn’t take steps to keep her safe as her dementia progressed. It makes me judgemental as all hell, wanting to shout to the world – and especially to my father-in-law, that he is truly faith-less. As in, not only living life without his wife of 63 years, but faithless to HER, her memory, and to us, her surviving family.
I am so fucking pissed off, I can barely stand it. I feel so bad and sad I could scream. How could he do this? How could he move on so quickly? What about the woman he recently professed to have loved the most out of anyone in the whole world?
The cynical side of me whispers reasons. He’s self-absorbed, and always has been. He’s self-centered and never will change. He’s of the generation of men that need a woman to care for them. He’s a man, like your own husband, who has physical needs that he/they will not deny, no matter who it hurts.
I am glad I am infrequently in touch with my father-in-law, because then I can feign acceptance of his life choices. This space gives me time to do the work of allowing my feelings in the hope that true acceptance and compassion follow.
After all, he deserves this, as does any human being walking the sometimes–painful path of life.