Background: I'm 24 years old and my younger sister is 11. My mom is 59 (she had my sister at 48... very unusual I know!). She suffers from Frontotemporal Dementia, diagnosis 3.5 years ago. She has been in full-time care for the past year and a half. My sister lives with our dad, I live further away but visit a lot and we are all very close.
The situation: The three of us are obviously heartbroken over losing our mother/wife to this disease. Discussing our feelings about mom usually dominates the conversation when we're together. My dad goes to see her about 3 times per week, in between going to work and raising my sister. I join him when I can. We're working together to try and process everything that has happened and it's very much still a work in progress.
My dad has started seeing somebody new, she is amazing and I love to see how happy she makes him. She knows the whole situation and is very understanding and supportive. She plays a bigger role in my sister's life than she does mine, obviously because she's still a child. I think it's a good thing, my sister gets to experience a bit of normality after all the drama of the last few years. For example, she can have friends over again without worrying about my mom walking around naked or soiling herself. That is not stuff any 11 year old should be dealing with.
The problem is that old friends of my mom found out about my dad's relationship and have behaved atrociously ever since, accusing my dad of "replacing" my mom, saying aggressive things to him like "[sister's name] only has ONE MOTHER and that's [mother's name]!!!". They've also made comments about her care and have insinuated that my dad isn't doing enough for her. I feel that they have built up a narrative in their heads, where my dad doesn't care about my mom anymore because he's with someone new. He was her primary caregiver while she was still at home, and in my opinion he deserves to relax and be happy now. These friends of my mom clearly don't agree. What do they want from us? To be miserable forever? Aren't we allowed to grieve our mother and also try to get back to normality?
This has been going on since Christmas, so almost a year now. It's on my mind again because when we were in with my mom yesterday, a nurse stopped us to tell us that "two friends" came by asking questions about shoe size and clothes sizes etc because my mom "needs new clothes". This might seem like a kind gesture, but I know that coming from them it's not. It's them wanting to feel like they're coming to her rescue.
I'd also like to point out that these people are doing a lot more "helping out" now than when we were minding our mom at home for the first few years after diagnosis. They have no idea how awful it is trying to care for someone at home. They have no idea how finally getting someone into full-time care is the best and worst day of your life at the same time. The past few years have been a very emotional time for us all, it continues to be emotional and these people are being extremely judgemental and unhelpful during this difficult time. I'm nervous to talk to them about it as I barely know them, and I have a habit of breaking down when talking about my mom. Any advice?