DEAR ABBY: For the last eight years, my widowed mother-in-law has been practically living with a man whose wife had been in a nursing home in the late stages of Alzheimer's disease. Recently his wife died. My mother-in-law, who is in her early 70s, would like to marry this man.
Since he has not broached the subject of marriage, she hesitates to mention it; however, she's impatient with the status quo of their relationship. As she puts it, "We aren't getting any younger."
Both are financially independent and own their own homes. She would like to combine their two households into one. The other day at lunch, she jokingly asked me, "OK, Dear Abby, what would you do?"
I did not tell her this, but if I were in her shoes, I would come right out and ask him if he wants to get married.
What would you suggest she do? I'm sure she would appreciate your advice. -- NO DEAR ABBY SUBSTITUTE
DEAR NO SUBSTITUTE: You have my permission to suggest that your mother-in-law come right out and ask the gentleman if he wants to get married.
If I were you, however, I'd remind her that although his wife had Alzheimer's, he will experience some grief over her death.
Your mother-in-law should not push for an immediate wedding date. She should allow him time to grieve. When he has worked through his grief, he will then be better able to devote himself to her.