Thank you to grandparents who have given their permission for me to share their stories.
“ It was an ordinary Sunday afternoon.
I had been making daisy chains with my Granddaughter in the field when my son said that he didn’t want anymore contact with us and we would not be seeing our Granddaughter again. He said he didn’t like his upbringing, we were too controlling and he didn’t want us controlling his daughter in the same way.
As far as we were concerned, he had had a normal upbringing. We were his parents who had taught him good manners and respect for others, he went to bed at a reasonable time and because of that he did very well at school and now has a good job in management – interestingly in the caring profession. He had the usual birthday parties, friends to stay, family holidays and outings. He loves animals and always had an array of animals and creatures as his hobby.
Where had we gone wrong ?
I was absolutely devastated, confused and ashamed. I couldn’t talk to my family or my husband. The anguish, the pain and desperation, nothing could fill the void of losing my Granddaughter.
Birthdays and Christmas are difficult times. Presents and cards are refused, I am not allowed to send a Christmas present from ” Santa”. My son told me that if I sent anything, it would not be given to my Granddaughter, it would be sent to the charity shop.
He said, “She is not aware of you and that is how we want it to be.”
My GD was 22 months when we were denied contact with her, she is now 5 years old and has started school. All those special first moments lost. It is described as a ‘living bereavement’ as I know she lives just 10 miles away, I might see her or pass her – although I may not know her now.
There is no closure to this.
After about 2 years of wandering alone and desperate, I found Bristol Grandparents Support Group.
The support and encouragement given by the group was and still is invaluable. they understood what I was going through and I found that ( sadly) I was not alone.
I started the Lincolnshire support group in May 2016 to help others as I know what they are going through. I understand the pain and despair and I understand the panic.
To date I have had four contacts. I know that there are many more grandparents who are suffering as I did. We have to get the word out to encourage others to come forward and find comfort and support.
Success stories happen, within the group some Grandparents have had contact with grandchildren. It is an wonderful time for us all when that happens and we all share the excitement together. We always live in hope and we all say ” Never say never” ! “
“My situation started in 2011 when my son met this woman that already had 2 children ( 3yrs old and 18months old) from a previous marriage. Unfortunately she wasn’t easy to get on with and she didn’t really want me to bond with her girls. I tried but it was really hard work.
In 2012 they got married and on their wedding day my son told me his, now wife, was pregnant, well I was over the moon, to say the least, as this was my first grandchild. (On their wedding day my new DIL never spoke to me at all) I thought it a bit odd. Never did I imagine this was just the beginning of a very hostile relationship between us all. I was never included in anything that was going on, always kept at arms length. Always had to ask to visit them.
In 2013 my grandson was born and things went from bad to worse. I made him a lovely shawl and blanket which was left in it’s box and never used, the hostility just cemented itself. After a couple of months and no visit from my son and family I suggested we got together to try to find out what was going on and why! She didn’t want to talk ,”she doesn’t do chats”! Things were never going to get sorted and I really hated her for denying me seeing my GS in his early months, hubby and I were allowed to go see him before his first xmas only for her to stand and iron for the whole 1hour we were there, so we left. She did lot’s of equally nasty things, a form of bullying, my son just went along with it for a quiet life. I asked him so many times “did he think this behaviour was acceptable” he couldn’t answer.
On my 65th Birthday we had family visiting from Canada and Southampton, a family lunch at the pub, GS was 6months old and strapped to her chest and that is where he stayed, she never spoke to anyone, left after she and her girls had eaten, went to the park near the pub, came back as were leaving, what sort of person behaves like that? That is engraved in my head and heart forever.
So in Feb 2014 just before my GS first birthday I threw the towel in because I was getting beside myself with despair because it was obvious it didn’t matter what I said or did, she was manipulative and controlling my son.
I haven’t seen my GS since, I had to treat it like a living bereavement, not easy!
My son and this awful woman split up over 2years ago, she had an affair, she came into our lives caused all this destruction then walked away!
The good news is that my eldest son got married in August and that started a “building a bridge” with my estranged son, however that wedding was very difficult as my GS ( now 3 and a half) was there as was the other 2 children, they were bridesmaids, and awful ex DIL too, so a very difficult day for me.
This is the reason I started my self help support groups, to help grandparents like me in unbearable situations. “