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When Michel’s reignited relationship with his ex-wife fizzled after a few months, Walton was relieved.Yet her dad was now lonelier than ever, mired in deep depression.Learn more about how to understand your aging parent’s needs and what to do when they begin to date someone new.After Ashlie Walton’s mother died from lung cancer in 2015, grief erased the zest for life that her dad, Michel, 65, had always possessed.His well-known sense of humor was gone and he seemed lost without his wife of 33 years.On top of processing her own grief, Walton carried the weight of witnessing her dad’s pain.“The benefits of being accepted, cared for, loved and valued, are immeasurable,” says Borg.
Now Michel travels with his girlfriend frequently, hitting the road in her gargantuan RV. “Of course, as a daughter, I want to protect my father and am worried about the ‘what if’ scenario,” says Walton.
“We created a prenuptial agreement and shared it with them, so they would understand that neither of us was after the other’s money.” Adult children can also benefit from self-examination.
Often, the child who doesn’t want to accept the loss of a deceased parent is actually afraid that he or she will replace the missing parent.
For the aging parent dating or planning to remarry, it helps to include your children in your new life to ease concerns.
“To reassure our kids, we included them in many of our decisions, such as helping us find a new place to live, helping plan our wedding and participating in it,” says Miller Parr.
Now I look at him and see that it brings him so much joy.” Deb Hipp is a Kansas City, Mo.-based freelance writer who covers elder and caregiving issues and has more than 20 years' experience as a journalist and writer.