We all grieve in our own way as there are no set guidelines for how to cope with a loss, but one widower sparked debate after revealing he wants his ex-wife to move in with him as his live-in carer, just three months after his second wife died.
The 85-year-old, who wrote an anonymous letter to The Denver Post’s advice column, Ask Amy, said he currently lives with a live-in assistant who cooks his meals and helps with day to day tasks. However he now wants the job to go to his former partner.
He revealed that his ex-wife, who is 82, is happy to move in with him but said his three adult stepchildren are not onboard with the idea, believing it’d be too soon after their mum’s death, leading him to ask the agony aunt if there’s a “normal grieving period” he should adhere to.
“I want to ask my ex-wife to move in with me to provide 24/7 care. She is 82, and is in favour of moving in with me. We’ve been divorced for 36 years,” he explained.
“The children are split: my two agree with this idea, and the three stepchildren disagree. The disagreement comes from concern over too short a period for bereavement, and also distribution of an inheritance after my passing.”
The widower, who also has two grown children from the previous marriage, revealed that his stepchildren also think his ex-wife is too old to provide effective caregiving.
“Is there a “normal” grieving period? I am torn between my original family and my family through marriage. Is a compromise possible?” The widower asked.
Amy Dickinson assured the man that the grieving period is different for everyone, before suggesting that everything about his situation seems accelerated.
“This could be because you are panicking, or simply feel like you don’t have a lot of time to spend figuring out this next phase of your life. Your experience witnessing your late wife’s needs and caregiving requirements could be influencing you now,” she wrote.
She also encouraged the man to consider the feelings of his wife’s children, who are still grieving the loss of their mother. Before telling the troubled man to “do what is right for himself”.
“Please understand that, no matter what you are going through (grief or no), your late wife’s children are grieving. Treat them with understanding and compassion. But you must ultimately do what you believe is best for you.”