Dear Annie: My mum died quite suddenly a little over a year ago. She and Dad had been very happily married for 40 years – they’d been together since their early 20s. I’m still not over it and not sure I ever will be.
Last week, Dad announced that he’s got close to a good friend of mum’s and they are moving in together. I feel betrayed by both of them – it’s so soon. Am I wrong to feel so angry? – DG
Annie says: The short answer is no. It’s entirely understandable you’d feel angry, even if it were several years after your mum’s death. The loyalty we feel to our parents, whether they are still alive or not, is incomparable to any other.
And so, whilst I am sure a part of you also wants your dad to be happy, another part feels deeply protective of your mum and uncomfortable with what this new relationship means. If you can find a way to accept this anger in yourself, it is far more likely that it will be accepted by your father and your mum’s friend.
Try and find a way to let them know that, for now, you feel angry about it and will need time to come to terms with the news. I am sure they too will be having conflicting feelings about their relationship, and it won’t do any harm to take things slowly.
And don’t forget that no matter what happens between your father and your mum’s friend, it will never diminish the relationship he had with your mum, or indeed your sense of family and belonging you had with the two of them. Humans are capable of great and complex love and relationships.
If you have a question for Annie to answer in this column, you can write to her at DearAnnie@funeralguide.com
Annie Broadbent is a trained psychosynthesis counsellor, with specialist experience working with the bereaved. As a therapist she explores the mind, body, feelings and spirit, working with individuals in a way that is most appropriate for them.
She is the author of bestselling self-help book We Need to Talk About Grief, inspired by personal experiences of living through bereavement, including her own. Whilst writing her book, Annie volunteered at St Christopher's Hospice and has given a number of talks on issues around grief, bereavement and mental health.