I had a chance to skim some out-of-town newspaper advice columns recently and was surprised at the widowed person-based problems discussed. Mostly it was children of the widowed who were asking for advice. One of the common problems was one we’ve discussed before: Mom/Dad has a new mate and now she/he doesn’t treat me or my children with respect. Or: Dad/Mom has a new girlfriend/boyfriend and they are living it up and traveling all over and I think he/she is just taking Dad/Mom for all his/her money (there won’t be any left for me!).
There were also a couple of: Mom/Dad insists on living alone in the old family house and she/he can’t take care of it and the house is getting shabby and won’t be worth as much when we try to sell it. My sister and I want her/him to move into a senior facility for her/his own safety and so the old house will be worth more when it’s sold (see above).
None of the columnists answered by saying, “What does Mom/Dad say about this?” Apparently the children writing the letters were hesitant to ask Dad/Mom personally; they would rather go through a media mediator. How this solves the problem is a mystery to me. Does the child go to the parent with the newspaper and say, “Mom, ‘Ask Wanda,’ says that your new boyfriend is taking you for a ride”? Or do they hope their parent opens the paper to the advice column and says, “Oh, my gosh. That sounds like me; I’d better check with junior.”
Chances of either of these happening are slim to none, so I think the children are just doing it out of frustration or guilt. Probably some of the question/complaints are legitimate and children are really worried. On the other hand, I wonder how many are revenge. “When I was 16, Dad wouldn’t let me go out with Romeo, and now he’s mixed up with that gold digger; what’s fair about that.”
(Maybe I read too much into advice columns.)
Next week contains Independence Day, also known as the Fourth of July. I hope you have time to have a little Patriotic Party with your friends and family. It’s an important birthday for us all and we should take a little time to celebrate and contemplate. Be sure to fly your flag on the fourth. God bless America!
After re-reading my last column, I was afraid that someone might think I was asking for sympathy. I hope you didn’t get that idea because I really don’t expect sympathy. I’ve accepted my situation as part of how things work. I am not saying that I still don’t have some jealousy when I see married couples together, but that’s just me.
Something we have to keep in mind (so I keep telling you) is that not all widowed folks are senior citizens. There are many young and middle-aged widowed men and women in our midst. If you know any, please be understanding with them; they certainly don’t have it any easier than we do.
I walked in the Team Vogel Against Cancer one-mile walk yesterday. It’s a great cause. firstname.lastname@example.org