Years ago when I had a husband I also had a Mother-in-law.

We married young- I was twenty-two and Michael was twenty-four. Michael’s mother was also young (I may not have thoughts so at the time) 48 years old and very very beautiful.

When I say that my mother-in-law Audine or Dean as we called her was beautiful, I mean Ava Gardner stunning, show stopping gorgeous. She was six feet tall, dark hair, slate blue eyes, perfect features and creamy white skin. Dean did not shy away from the lime light. She would wear 3” heels and dressed every day as if it were a special occasion. She was always impeccably groomed and wore well-applied make-up. Dean loved attention, but did not particularly care for me, but that is another story.

After Michael’s father died, Dean had “boy” friends and eventually settled on an Italian man who lived with her until he died. Finally, she was alone and eighty and vulnerable. What happen to her affected us all, but especially Lynda, her daughter.

Lynda suffered having such fancy dancer mother. Lynda was also tall, blonde and blue-eyed, but not a beauty. She was plain and gawky. Dean (I will say in all fairness) loved my husband, Michael, best and was not a very emotionally generous person. Yes, Lynda had the short stick.

Well, eventually as the years piled on, Dean began to lose her sense of reality and show definite signs of dementia. When it came time to take charge of her affairs, Michael and Lynda found out that she had given most of her money and her condo to a younger man who had shown her a “good time” and convinced her only he had her best interests at heart.

In the end, they did get the condo back, but not the money. Lynda took charge and put her mother in a home nearby and visited that nasty woman every day until she died. Oh, Lynda, knowing your mother and your history…you were, indeed, noble and deserve every pound of good Karma you earned.

I have to say, I was shocked that Dean had secretly given all her worldly goods to a stranger…a man who seduced her and took her assets. I did not see how this could happen. Dean was quite intelligent. Didn’t she see through his promises?

What warning signs did she ignore?

I am in my seventies, and I just spent three years in a relationship with a man who was very disturbed and had a pattern of alienating all his ex-wives, his family and his friends. I simply concentrated on the lovely times, the affectionate times, his excessive generosity and forgave his mad ranting and disturbing behavior.

Red flags waved and his behavior worsen and worsen, yet, again and again I forgave him. I continued to talk to him, had him visit my home and shared my bed. Finally, it is over.    Yes, I still have my home, my business, and my funds. However, my heart is heavy and I do now understand. I am vulnerable.