- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hello Ms. Vicki,

My father died eight months ago and my mother has already moved another man into her home. My father worked hard and retired from the Army and he is not cold in his grave and my mother has let another man climb into her bed.

Instead of waiting for him to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery like he always wanted, she wanted to have my father cremated so she could hurry and move on with her life. My siblings and I vehemently objected to this, which is the only reason she waited to have him buried.

This new man is a jerk who has nothing to offer my mother. He’s been married three times and doesn’t even have a relationship with his own children. He is disgusting. He preys on the widows at church and my mother is his next victim. She is an old lady who is acting like a sex-crazed teenager. She is walking around all giddy like this is the first time she has ever been in love. How can she just ignore her love for my father?

I am so angry with her over this. She has already started spending life insurance money from my father. She has taken two vacations with her new beau - one was an Alaskan cruise. If this keeps up, she is going to be penniless and this man will leave her high and dry.

Ms. Vicki, I am angry, but how can I talk some sense into my mother’s head? I don’t want any money or anything, I just want her to be OK. My brother wants to hire a private detective to try and find out more about this man, but I hope this doesn’t backfire.

- My Mother in Mitchellville

Dear Mitchellville,

You have every right to be concerned about your mother. She appears to be moving very fast, but this could be a part of her grieving. It’s important that you not come across angry because it will only make her defensive and isolated from you. You don’t want that to happen.

Right now she needs to have as much interaction with the family as she possibly can, as often as possible. I think you and your siblings should talk with your mother about her finances, encouraging her to save as much as possible. Let her know you want her to have a good time, but she has to be able to care for herself financially.

I regret having to tell you this, but you also should try and get along with this gentleman when he is around. If his intentions are foul, he would love it if he doesn’t get along with you and your siblings. That way, he gets to tell your mother you are being mean toward him and that he doesn’t want to be around you. You need just the opposite - to be in his company often so you can come to your mom’s aid if necessary.

Solicit help from other family members and close friends, who may be able to impart some wisdom, advising her to take it slow or to see a counselor who specializes in grief therapy. I can’t tell your brother not to hire a private detective. Just know that even if adverse things are discovered, that doesn’t mean your mother will stop dating this man. She may be willing to accept him no matter what.

Stay in touch.

Reader responses:

I’m the wife of a Vietnam vet. When my husband was serving we didn’t have a Ms. Vicki. We were on our own to tough it out. My husband did three tours in Vietnam and believe it or not we couldn’t even remain on base when he was gone. Like so many other spouses, I always took the kids and moved back home with my parents. I want you to know I like the work you do and I am very proud of you. Keep up the good work because there are so many who need you!

- Always an Army Spouse

I don’t like the advice you gave the lady who wrote you talking about her 60-year-old mother who is acting like a teenager. (April 30) I think what her mother is doing is very unhealthy and dangerous. She could end up dead or with some type of venereal disease. The world has changed so much since this woman was a teenager. She needs to stay at home with her husband and be a good grandmother. This daughter, her siblings and her father definitely should do something quick to get this woman off the streets.

- Concerned for 60

You were too nice to the woman who left her husband for a rotten Army major and now she wants her first husband back (May 7). He absolutely should never take her back. As a matter of fact, he shouldn’t even speak to her again. She is not trustworthy and would only do the same thing to him again. This is a selfish woman who only thinks about herself. She is a power hungry woman who wants to conquer and find a man who can make her look good!

- Run Forest Run

I always get a copy of the newspaper just to read your column. I’m online with a lot of other military Web sites and chat rooms, but your column keeps it real and people talk to you about what is really going on. I think you give good advice mixed with humor and truth.

Please let me give some advice, too. Far too many women call you and complain about this and that. They act like Uncle Sam owes them something. Uncle Sam doesn’t owe us anything. These spouses should understand that our husbands and wives are not doing this for free. They get paid on the first and 15th of every month. That’s all we are owed is our pay.

Everyone wants to tell a sob story to you about how they are being used, abused or taken advantage of, and how much they can’t cope with another deployment. What did they think their spouse signed up for? This comes with the territory. These people need to swallow a reality pill and toughen up!

• Vicki Johnson is a licensed clinical social worker, military spouse and mother of three. Her column runs in The Washington Times on Thursdays and Sundays. Contact her at [email protected]

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