As you know, I became a motherless daughter when I lost my mom to cancer. However, I still have my daddy around. He has had a rough time ever since my mom died. You would too, after losing your wife of 51 years. But he’s been blessed to find his new wife, Naomi.
Naomi is about the same age as my Dad. She is a widow and had four children that are around the same ages as my siblings. Naomi and my Dad are a good team together. They have been there for each other during some health issues and I am very thankful Dad has her. They live in a different state, so I think in the three years they have been married I have seen her about 3-4 times.
My Dad had surgery Wednesday on a pinched nerve in his neck. Everything seemed to go well and he was released to go home. He had gotten a cold before the surgery and had just finished his antibiotic before he was operated on. The surgeon had to operate through the front of his neck to get to the pinched nerve. So his throat and neck are currently sore, but he was discharged to recover at home.
On Saturday he was having trouble breathing, so Naomi took him to Urgent Care. He was given a breathing treatment and then sent home again. Later Saturday night, Naomi had to take my dad to the ER because he seemed to have too much mucus and was struggling to breath.
So at 1:30 am Sunday morning, I get the dreaded call. It’s my sister on the phone, telling me that Naomi called to tell us that Dad had to be put on a breathing tube and was being admitted into the ICU. As of this moment, we do not know the severity of the situation. I spoke to Naomi briefly and she said that they had not given her the results of the chest x-ray yet. There is a big possibility that my Dad could have pneumonia, since he’s already had it a couple of times. I pray that it’s nothing life threatening, because I’m not ready to be an orphan yet. I still need my Daddy. So any prayers you can send his way, I’d appreciate it.
I didn’t write this post to cry about my dad or even beg for prayer requests. But I am not proud or stupid, so I will be glad to get any sympathy and prayers you would like to give me. No, I wanted to make this post for Naomi. Because this might be the only way I can convey my gratitude.
You see, as I was speaking to my sister on the phone Sunday morning, it all was put into perspective. I was able to put myself in Naomi’s shoes for a change. My sister said that when Naomi spoke to her, she had said, “The doctor’s said to tell you he is in stable, but critical condition.”
My sister then translated that to mean, I only know this much and that’s all I can tell you. It was around then that I joked, “Naomi is thinking…Crap, I don’t want to call his kids and tell them that their dad is broken.” LOL It was then that I saw things through Naomi’s eyes.
It’s not easy for a mother to tell her adult kids that their dad is hurt and in the hospital. So imagine how terrible it has to be for a second wife to have to call her husband’s adult children and report that he is in the hospital. She has to feel nervous that we would blame her. Not because she had anything to do about the injury, but because she was on “Dad-patrol” when he got sick.
Let’s face it, we are all “On-duty” for someone. We all have been assigned or volunteered to keep watch over someone on this earth. I was assigned to watch over my children and I volunteered to watch over my spouse. As life changes, our patrol area changes. When my Mom died, I was given a part-time assignment to watch over my Dad. (I shared that responsibility with my siblings) But when my Dad was remarried, my duty was passed over to Naomi.
But even though Naomi volunteered to take over the responsibility to watch over my Dad, she surely feels an obligation to “answer” to his kids. But what right do we have to intercede or judge her decisions. There are only two things we have that give us “claim” over our father, our blood-right and the length of time that we have loved him. Those things should not give us the authority over the person that volunteered to watch over him. If anything, we owe Naomi a big amount of gratitude for relieving us of our Dad-patrol duties.
But in this day and age, society doesn’t look at it that way. Instead, we look at a hierarchy to decide who has the authority. We reason in our mind: (blood-relative + years associated) will trump over (newly married wife + little history with family). I’m afraid it’s not just the kids that do this, it’s the second wives/husbands of this world doing this more than the kids. But the kids seem to follow the parents lead.
It should not be this way for widowed parents with adult children. If there are little children involved, then things are different. But if all the children are adults, like my family situation is, then there should be no question of authority. Basically, if your widowed parent has been blessed to have found a new companion in their golden years, then you should be very grateful. Not only because they are making your parent happy, but because they are taking the responsibility off of you. They are volunteering to be “On-duty”, to watch over your parent.
If it has not been explained well enough, I will try to state it as plainly as I can. I am very grateful that my Dad has found Naomi to watch over him. If he had not found her, I would be there to do my part, but I feel he is much happier with her in his life. I hope that when Naomi calls us in times like this, we don’t make her feel like she has to explain herself to us. I don’t want her feeling like she is the child, explaining to the adult why she broke our dad. LOL I hope our phone conversations don’t leave her to feel discouraged in the times she needs support. If they do, I am sorry and I will try harder to convey my gratitude for all she has done for us.
When I spoke to her Saturday night, I told her to “Hang in there and we’d be praying for them.”. I even said the traditional goodbye that I tell my dad, “I love you”. That was a new step in my relationship with Naomi, because I still haven’t been able to refer to her as my step-mom. It’s easier to call her my Dad’s new wife. So maybe with this new revelation, I’ll be able to start calling her my step-mom. But until then, I’ll call her Naomi…the volunteer Dad-patroller.
P. S. Say some prayers for Naomi too. She obviously can use some right now.