Dad replaced mum after 5 months

I’m struggling after the loss of my mum in traumatic circumstances, but my father has barely shown any grief, despite being married for 56 years. It was like he was having a party. At first I thought ‘everyone grieves in their own way’. Then I had a phone call from him dropping a bombshell. We had just interred mum’s ashes and had rallied round my dad - the grieving widower, to find out that, all the time, he had embarked on a full-on relationship with a new woman close to my age and 20 years younger than him. It was so soon after her passing I feel like he couldn’t have cared less about our mum. He was planning to introduce the new woman at a garden party at their home, which was supposed to be a celebration of mum’s life - it was her last wish. All of mum’s family would be there and it was to be held on a day that would have been their wedding anniversary. It was just months after her passing. Dad moved her into their home 6 months after mum died, in the house where we grew up, which is full of memories of our childhood. He sent Christmas cards signed from him and her to mum’s brothers and nieces, who were very close to my mum - a big statement that they are an established couple, which I feel was completely insensitive - just one year after her death. Christmas was when she passed so it was a very raw time for everyone. I cannot believe how insensitive he has been and I have barely spoken to him since. He doesn’t bother to call me from one month to the next and I feel like I have lost two parents instead of just one. I have written a letter saying how I feel which I know won’t be well received and will probably end any chance of building bridges, and I don’t know whether I should post it. When I do speak to him, I am in an emotional state for days and my husband thinks it would be better if I cut off what little contact I have with him, for the foreseeable future, out of self preservation. The woman recently held a surprise party for my Dad, and sent a message to my sister through a 3rd party asking her if she would like to attend. I was not invited. It feels strange that I am not part of his life but at the same time I cannot welcome this woman into my life either. Sorry, bit of a ramble…

Hi Lou,
I can understand how you feel.and can only agree with you. What a sad time for you so very
difficult and upsetting. Sadme.

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Goodness Lou, I really don’t know what to say to you. What a terrible time. I lost my husband in June 2017 and I couldn’t even contemplate finding another man. I understand that we all grieve differently and our needs are different too but this is too much too soon for your dad. Has he even allowed himself to grieve? This could all end disastrously for him and you may be needed to help pick up the pieces. Don’t cut him out of your life completely but perhaps and for your sanity it might help you if you took a back seat for a while. I’m a strong believer in writing things down, it always helps me offload a little. You’ve written your letter but maybe delay in posting it. Hopefully, just by writing down your feelings will have helped you a tiny bit. I’m truly sorry for the loss of your mum and the situation you now find yourself in.
Sending you love and hugs xx

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Oh my god. Literally I think this is my worst nightmare. I lost mum 6 months ago. You have every right to feeling the way you do. I would be more inclined to say it’s all very well and good that you have some company. And that is his perogative, his life. But to rub it in everyone’s faces. Is not on. Moving her in. Signing her name on cards. Throwing a party on the anniversary. My only conclusion is that he has gone into full on denial and is trying to escape the pain and hurt and replacing it with a distraction with this woman. Trying to pretend it’s not happened. And in the back of his mind this woman is your mum. Grief does strange things.
However you need to protect yourself too. Have some time out and away. Tell him you will always be there for him and love him but this is not a situation you can handle and will be having some time to yourself away from this situation.

Be prepared for one day his grief will surface and he will probably then need you all and will be very remorseful.


Thank you for your replies - its helps to tell people that understand what it feels like to be in the middle of grief. I keep questioning whether I should try to be forgiving and remember he is an old man but I can’t get past feeling angry and bitter. I don’t think he believes he is in the wrong in any way. I feel incredibly sad that he has treated his adult children with such disregard and I don’t think I will ever get past it. Mum would be so upset to see how our family has been ripped apart. I can’t even go to our childhood home to remember her - she loved her garden, and that woman is eradicating every last trace of my mum. My father is an artist and has even put up a portrait of this woman on the wall. My mum worked hard to create that home and I’m sure that pictures of us as children and memories of my mum are being removed, which breaks my heart. I’m expecting him to announce getting married next - he is rushing forward at such lightning speed. I think it will crush me if he does.

I am very sorry for your loss too. I hope you find this site helpful in processing your grief - it is such a rollercoaster, isn’t it?

That is absolutely crushing. I can literally feel the pain in your heart. As I said. Ok he’s an adult. Entitled to companionship. Doesn’t want to be lonely. But he’s rubbing it all in your faces. I thought my dad had met someone. He sent a text to me by mistake. But it turned out innocent. In that moment. I thought. I don’t want to know. If you have company because your lonely. Fine. but I do not want to know anything. It’s too much to ask of you, it’s actually so hurtful He is not considering your feelings whatsoever. I hope he comes to his senses soon.

My friends mum died. Her dad did something similar. They are not close anymore. Because of how he pushed this woman into their lives before everyone was ready. So you are not being selfish. You just need more time. Much more time

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I’m sorry. It must be hard for you. Your father does not want to hurt you, but maybe he’s concentrating on his feelings. I met someone very soon after loosing my partner of 10 years. I also did not appear to ‘mourn’ Mark although I still really miss him. It’s just the way I reacted. Not right or wrong. Fortunately my son’s and all of the families involved are very supportive and have welcomed my new partner into the family.

He’s not thinking of you, and whilst that’s a shame, it would also be a shame to miss out on wonderful opportunities that come his way. As for his woman, it can’t be easy , almost feeling like she’s moved into someone else’s life. She must feel your father is worth it.
Mark’s sudden and unexpected death has taught me to value life as you never know what’s around the corner.

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My father did the same when I was 17, he was married within the year and expected everyone to treat her like a “mum” took years to forgive him, I recently lost my husband, I could never do that to my son.


Hi @Zenda, I see this is your first post, and I just wanted to say welcome to the Sue Ryder Online Community and I’m so sorry to hear that you have recently lost your husband.

When you feel ready, you may wish to start a new conversation in the Losing a Partner category to tell people a little more about your husband and how you are feeling. You should then get some supportive replies from others who have lost their husband or wife.

Here are some instructions for How to Start a New Conversation - or if you need more help, you can contact me at

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Hi Lou,
I know this post is from a year ago but after typing in something similar to your situation your post came up on google. My mum and dad were together for 33 years happily married one big family. Unfortunately my mum was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2016 and deteriorated. We looked after her with the help of carers and my dad took on the carer role over husband as she become bed bound and needed help with day to day tasks. After finishing uni I put everything on hold for 2 years to help look after until my mum sadly passed in December which broke us all. It’s just me and my dad living in the house, my sister doesn’t live far away and my brother lives round the corner with his family. Me and my dad really leaned on each other through the grieving process and me and my sister put him before ourselves because we were so worried he had lost his soul mate. I started to notice he wouldn’t speak to me about mum anymore and was drifting, never in the house anymore and always wanting to visit the caravan he has. It all came out he told me he has been on a date with another woman, I was in shock as it had been 7 months since my mums passing and we were yet/ still haven’t reached the big sad milestones (her birthday/ passing/ their wedding anniversary etc). It turns out he hasn’t been on a date he’s in a relationship with this woman. She used to work with my mum as a nurse and they were close my sister (a hairdresser) had been to her house multiple times to do her hair which my mum had set up. She was at my mums funeral and gave us all hugs. I feel so weird over the whole situation. The woman broke up with her long term boyfriend in May and began speaking to my dad soon after. He stays in the caravan him and my mum bought together every time he finishes his work shift and she has began posting pictures in there on her social media. It has now gotten to the point where I have had to reach out telling her how it is making me feel seeing her get so much use out of a place where my mum was too sick to visit. She has taken down all of her posts but things are now so tense with my dad in the house. I’m at a loss at what to do I’m so upset about how much he is hurting me, my older sister and brother. There’s a lot more details to the situation but this post is already so long. I don’t want to cut my dad out but I don’t know what to do anymore and was wondering seen as you have been through the same situation if you have any words of wisdom 1 year on.

I’m so sorry, I left this group a while ago as I needed to move on. But I’ve just seen your post and rejoined so I can answer. I’m so sorry as I know how hurtful this feels. I’m afraid things escalated and I took the decision to cut my father out of my life. I’m not suggesting you do too. However, I was taking flowers to my mum’s grave on her birthday and dad got very insistent that I should come to the house and meet up. I told him that I was in a emotional state and couldn’t come to the house with another woman sitting in mum’s chair on the day of her birthday when I’d just been to her grave, but we could meet for a coffee somewhere else. He turned up to the cafe shouting and raging at me that I “must accept this woman in my life” and said he didn’t care if he didn’t see me for a very long time. I responded by giving him his wish. It feels like a relief - like lancing a boil. Apparently this woman also has mental health issues and has turned the house into a horder’s tip, which means our family home has been turned into a complete mess. I suspect dad is autistic but I can’t take anymore of his aggressive outbursts over this woman and his insensitivity. He has made his choice and I’m looking forward instead of back. My sister has maintained contact but sees him on neutral ground. I’m afraid there really isn’t a solution to your situation. It doesn’t get any less painful but you have to focus on yourself and your immediate family’s happiness and accept that the relationship you had with your father may have changed permanently and will always be on a different footing. I don’t have any words of wisdom, but you will reach a state of acceptance and find comfort from other family members and friends. Xxx

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My family are devastated. After losing Mum within two weeks of becoming ill my father has moved a close friend of my mums into their home after 4mths telling us they are in a relationship and she is now living with him. She is 30years his junior and in financial difficulty… go figure!!! He mentioned getting a ‘companion’ only 3weeks after Mum died to which we said that it was not something we could cope with short term but we didnt want him to be lonely, after time to grieve our mum we could accept that he should be happy and not alone. From the conversations I had with him prior to the woman moving in it is clear that he has removed every scrap of our mum from the house, now we know why. We are devastated I don’t ever want to speak to him again and 8 grandchildren are beyond upset and feel that they can never visit their grandmothers home again having spent every school holiday there for the last 20years. Because of Covid none of the grandchildren have been able to visit the house and say their own goodbyes and now just feel shattered.
Our Dad is a grown man and will do whatever he wants, just don’t know how to heal our already broken hearts . Thanks for giving me a place to rant x

Hi, so sorry to hear about your story and what you’ve been through but it has made me realise I’m not wrong for thinking and feeling the way I do… my dad died suddenly 2 years ago and he had been with my mum for 40 years. She was broken when he first passed but then 4 months later was dating people. She has now become a person I do not recognise, she looks like my mum but doesn’t act like my mum anymore?! I feel too like I’ve lost 2 parents. She treats me more as a friend than a daughter. When my dad was alive she was the most family orientated person ever, now she doesn’t give a s***. How did you manage to cut them off?

There seem to be a lot of us about!! When I had the conversation with my Dad a few weeks after my mum died I did say to him that if he got a ‘companion’ quickly that he better make sure that she makes him happy enough to lose his whole family as no-one would be able to cope and also what he was feeling was part of grief and he needed time to let the grief do its job and come out the other side. Anyway when he told me he had moved this women in (this was on facetime) I said ‘I have nothing to say to you’ and put the phone down and have not spoken or contacted him since. My sister did pretty much the same thing. The eight grandchildren haven’t said that they will never speak to him again but as yet none of them have accepted his calls as they are so upset. The eldest grandchild did speak to him and my father said ‘its up to me what I do its my life’ to which grandson said ‘yes your right but you can’t expect everyone to accept what you do with your life’. Of course he does expect everyone to agree with what he has done and is now frantically phoning all the grandchildren but they wont answer and apparently in the last couple of days he has sent text messages to them saying he is sending them letters.
I just can’t have anything to do with him, having a relationship with someone would be hard to get my head round but to move someone into my mums home which was such a ‘family’ home that no-one feels they can now visit is just a step too far.
I spoke to my mum every day and am still at the stage where at some point daily I think ‘I must ring mum’ I just need to try and get over the lose of my mum I can’t be dealing with my Dads drama and him expecting us to be ok with his decision and knowing him as we do he will also expect us to fully accept the other women.
I’m sorry you are going through similar wish I had words of wisdom for you but I’m as baffled as you are. Much Love x

Hi Lou, just read yr story. I know it’s been awhile since you wrote it and things have probably changed. Just wanted to contact and say. Yr story is almost identical to mine. Only my Dad see his ‘lady friend’ 6 months after my mum Passed and it’s been 14 years. I still do not talk to her or even look at her. I’ve had very little contact with him over the years. If you call him she will put you on loud speaker, so she can hear the conversation and if you visit him, she will not leave the room. If you ask him a question, she will not let him answer. Very strange behaviour.
My poor Dad is now in hosp being treated for bone and lymph cancer. He is palliative care. He has requested she, my sister and me be nok. She has asked the consultants and drs to only update her. None of the drs will now talk to me. So I can’t see him, talk to him or find out how he is doing
Was just wondering how things are with your Dad?

Hello Lou. I feel your pain. I could of written this myself, word for word. The feeling of losing both parents is exactly how I feel. I’m so sorry this is happened to you. Has time healed this? Sorry if me commenting so much later on has dug up past hurt.

Hi Lou I know it’s been a while since you wrote this.

My neighbour wife passed away 1 year and a half ago and he lives with his daughter. I go over sometimes just to check if he is ok. I asked him if his daughter is ok with me comming over sometimes as I have respect for her and I know boundaries. He’s invited me into his house and I refuse to go In out of respect., I’m thinking how will his daughter feels if things were to progress on as her mom only passed away not long ago and it would not be fair on her. The daughter got upset with me going over outside his door and said she doesn’t want me back there and I have to respect that because it is hard for her. And seeing these posts I understand what a grieving child is going through.

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I have seen this happen myself with a close family member and by the time of his wife’s death had already moved on with other women. Its a sad display of selfishnes on your Dad’s behalf, but maybe this was your Dad all along and you never noticed. No need to fall out about this, I think nothing you do will matter because your Dad as already moved on. Self preservation on your behalf and kind words will win the day. Take care

What a lovely thing you are doing though. My mum died and dad has female friends checking on him. I’m just glad he has company. Yes if it’s something more then take it could take a while for me to accept. Bit. I also do not want my dad to be alone