It Isn’t Black or White

It Isn’t Black or White

Why is it so difficult to let go? How do I make peace with being a virtual stranger to my grandkids? Why, even in the face of indefensible abuse, can’t I make a clean break?

Recently, I vowed to ‘walk away’ from the insanity of my son’s and his wife’s unreasonable and offensive demands. I’ve been working on letting go cognitively, emotionally and spiritually. Some days I feel strong and I’m able to put my son and his family out of my thoughts. Other days, without warning, grief will suddenly puncture my heart.

This situation isn’t black or white. For example, I’m told that I may communicate electronically with the kids. This makes no sense to me, since I’m not allowed to see them in person, but I do it because it’s all I’ve got. I occasionally receive texts from my son and/or a grandchild. When that happens, I am heartened by their communication and cautiously optimistic that things might be changing. Inevitably, though, I realize that my optimism is misguided, because I find myself accepting only bittersweet crumbs.

This is an intermittent reinforcement system. Like playing a slot machine, I’m allowing myself to be manipulated..

When my son contacted me in the past, it wasn’t with the intention of healing our fractured relationship, but to satisfy some other agenda. I used to knock myself out analyzing his and his wife’s behaviors and possible motives, but, ultimately, I gave up trying to read their minds or rationalize their actions. It was a pointless exercise and only made me crazy.

It would never have occurred to me to treat my parents or any elders with the disrespect that I have received from my son and daughter-in-law. What the hell happened to my son? Where did I fail him when teaching the importance of respect and kindness?

Taking my grandchildren away from me was an appalling and unholy act. There are no winners in this dysfunctional dynamic. Even though my daughter-in-law got what she wanted by rendering me powerless, she also loses because she has been unkind and unforgiving. I’m convinced that, in his heart of hearts, my son isn’t proud of his part in all this and is upset by it. And, the kids are being cheated out of a relationship with their grandmother. No one wins, everyone loses.

I believe that it would be best to detach, let go and walk away, but it’s difficult because there is no closure on this sort of thing. Estrangement just keeps going on and on, with no funeral, no eulogy, no burial. It’s so damned ambiguous and heart-rending.