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by Abigail Van Buren

Dating His Late Wife's Nurse Distresses Widower's Family

DEAR ABBY: My husband's darling mother died of cancer last summer. During the last month of her illness she was confined to bed, so we hired a nurse, "Lois," to cover the night shift.

The day after the funeral, my husband's father started calling Lois. Dad swore they were "just friends," but continued pursuing her despite our strong disapproval. Two months later, they were dating. Last Thanksgiving, our first holiday without Mom, he cancelled plans to be with us and the grandkids to spend it with "friends" -- guess who? On Christmas it was the same story.

This has hit my husband hard. Dad and Mom were married for 50 years. We have always had a close family, particularly at holiday time. Are we wrong to feel that Dad and Lois are disrespecting Mom's memory and to feel hurt and angry? -- GRIEVING IN MINNESOTA

DEAR GRIEVING: Please accept my sympathy for your family's loss. While it may appear your father-in-law jumped quickly into a relationship, it could be he grieved during the time his wife was ill and has concerns that his own time may be limited, so he wants to enjoy life while he can.

As to missing the holidays, being there with his wife of 50 years conspicuously missing may have been more than he could face. So please, try to be understanding because I'm sure your mother-in-law's death has been painful for all of you.