When she died, I knew my step father would be lost. He was. He barely knew how to run the washing machine let alone how to pay the bills. She took care of everything for him and suddenly he was alone. At 66 he had to learn how to cook and clean and all the other things she did.
Thankfully, my sister lives about 20 minutes away and she took up where Ma left off on a lot of things. He came to dinner. Often. He heartily drank whatever booze was at K's house in an attempt to drown his pain and emptiness. We all did that. My sister nursed him back to stability. She and her husband and children filled that void.
Beacause I live nearly 6 hours away all I could do was be an ear on the other end of the phone. He'd call me after he got home from K's all spicy and warm from the night's libation. He cried about how he missed my mother. How lost he felt. I cried too. I can't imagine his pain; so different from mine. But equally disabling.
It didn't take long for his phone to start ringing. He's always been a bit of a flirt - even when Ma was alive. How she tollerated it I'll never know. So now, under veiled excuses of offering sympathy, the divorcees and widows came to call. He bit - hook, line and sinker. He's one of that generation that can't stand to be alone. He went to dinner parties and other social gatherings; trying to find his way alone in this new world. He had his pick of beautiful, charming, interesting and often weathly women.
He chose to be with someone not even 10 years older than me. Her "issues" run deep. There's the needy son out west somewhere who she's constantly going to bail out of some mess; The Ex who she somehow can't let go. The sketchy skiing trips with the "friend".
My stepfather really doesn't have much to say about her but when he does he doesn't have much nice to say. "She's troubled" and "She has some things to work out". He spends all his money on her and then whines to me that he's broke. They actually got "engaged" last summer. He bought her a very expensive ring. They have since called it off - broke up and are now back together.
I still haven't met her.
And really, I don't want to. The day my sister met her the first thing she said was, "I'm sure you're wondering how old I am". Um. Yeah. No. My Aunt asked me if I was interested in meeting "her". I said no. Not especially. I'm kind of hoping she dries up and goes away. Aunt G, in her wonderfully sarcastic tone agreed and said, "Yes. She seems utterly uninteresting." Indeed.
Deep down, I want him to be happy. I do. Really. I just hate the fact that this woman is sleeping in my mother's bed and taking advantage of his generosity. It would be one thing if she was "good" for him (will anyone be good enough for him? No one can replace my mother). But I think she's a cancer that's slowly eating him alive. This is not a healthy relationship for him.
I'm tired of his empty promises to come visit. Every time I talk to him now he says he's planning a trip to see us. It's been 18 months since we've seen eachother. I sent him a picture of the boys for his birthday and he was astounded how big they've gotten. Hmm. Imagine that. These kids. They actually grow!
Even though he is "only" my step-father, he's been so much more than that in my life. I'm blessed that our relationship has been so strong and close. But now it seems hollow. I miss him.