See It Coming

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

My father’s on his third wife. My mother died twenty years ago.
Number two was a brief mistake who didn’t make him happy and died
of cancer two years after they married. Number Three is a hardnosed,
possessive, mean and very controlling B-word. It’s not just that we
don’t like one another. More she has separated my father from me and
my children. He spends all the holidays with her children and
grandchildren. Getting them to be with us is like pulling teeth That’s
the last fifteen years of my life.


Now at 91 he has a very intense debilitating disease. They are either in denial
or ignorant of how bad this will be. But I’m in health care and know he isn’t
coming back from this one . He’s about to go from hospital to long-term care.
Evil Wife has been scouting places for him to “recuperate” that are not just
on the other side of the metro area but another half hour into the burbs.
So far it would be three plus hours travel time per visit. I lost it. I told
him that this is much more serious than he or she are willing to
understand and that if he wants a relationship with his daughter and
natural grandchildren before he dies, he has to move to a place that’s
closer to me and not let the B keep running his life. Now they’re both
angry at me.

See It Coming

Dear See It Coming:

Your years of anger and frustration clearly boiled over at the worst
possible moment. No one wants to be told they’re going to die, that
they’re not going to make it back to their home, or that his wife of
decades is a B. She may not like you but they clearly have a strong
relationship, and you have to accept that he’s increasingly dependent
on her even if you don’t like it. But she should accept that you have a
right to be in his life.

If this were a just world you’d have another relative who’d meditate
and help your father/his wife accept a placement closer to you. You
should certainly plead your case again in less ominous and threatening
sounding ways. But if you lose this argument, the only thing you can
do is to organize your life around at least a weekly visit. If these are
your last years, or even months, with your father, make them as
pleasant as you can. Tell him what a good dad he has been and how
much you love him. You can be as honest as you want with the
grieving widow later, though some compassion would be appropriate.