Grandparents Denied Access to their Grandchildren

Sacred Peace

Sacred Peace

This year, for the first time in my life, I chose to spend Christmas Eve alone. It was a bit strange at first, (probably because of old habits and precedents set over the years), but somehow it felt right.

On Christmas Eves past, I celebrated by giving or attending parties, dinners or holiday gatherings. We opened presents, ate too much, drank too much, and drove on highways clogged with other compromised drivers. I often felt a vague anxiety – worrying, comparing and dealing with family dysfunction.

Christmas Eve is a mystical night, abounding in godliness and love. I decided to spend it alone this year because I wanted to be quiet, to go deeper and create a loving space within for holiness and sacred peace.

Tonight, as the moon was rising, I soaked in a luxurious bath, grateful for the benefaction of water. Later, I played the piano, then cooked a simple meal. I took a short walk after dinner and enjoyed the lustrous light of the full moon. I prayed for my son and grandchildren and sent them my love on the wings of Christmas angels.

When I went back inside, I put on some soft music and lit a candle. I sat quietly, enjoying the richness of the moment. While beholding the candle’s flame, I became enchanted and inspired. A thrill of joy touched my soul. It was the most exquisite peace I think I’ve ever experienced. I was suddenly overcome with reverence for this beautiful, haunting, earthly odyssey. At that moment, as tears filled my eyes, I felt, ever so briefly, ever so lightly, the tender caress of divinity.



18 thoughts on “Sacred Peace”

  • Sorry I didn’t let you know sooner but I had a great time at the New Year’s Eve party. One of the other ladies is having some relationship issues with her oldest son as well, we only talked briefly about this and proceeded just to enjoy the evening. I am so glad I went! I have considered contacting my son again to see if there is any way to reconcile but I just can’t bring myself to do that for fear of rejection, I can not bear to be hurt more than I hurt already. I do get to see pics of my grandson on social media, I don’t think Nick knows this otherwise I am sure he would put an end to that as well. It is good to see Ben growing and that he is healthy but sad to know he doesn’t know me and he may not ever. I have considered setting up an email account for my grandsons and send them letters from me on special events etc., that way if ever one day they decide to get to know me I can give them the password so that they can see that they were always on my mind and in my heart.

    • Hi – glad your New Years Eve was a success!

      I understand your reluctance to get in touch with your son in order to avoid more hurt. Good idea! As for the email accounts, this my be a bit tricky, so make sure that however you set it all up that the kids aren’t somehow put in the middle.

      Good luck and I’m glad you’re making healthy choices for your self!

  • Dear Dawn – I’m glad you wrote and shared your dilemna. Am I correct in surmising that your estrangement is fairly recent? If so, I know how raw you must be feeling, and it’s natural to feel down. Have you read my blog post from August of this year, called ‘Emotional Triggers’? I have some ideas there that might help.
    So, what are your options for this New Year’s Eve? 1. You could stay home and avoid the torture of listening to and dodging questions about grandkids. You might comfort yourself by relaxing, taking a bath, eating comfort food, watching a funny movie etc. As for courage and being brave – it might be a bit too soon. Maybe gather your strength right now and allow yourself time to process the situation with your son. Why exhaust yourself by putting up a good front for the others at the party? 2. You could invite a few friends over – friends you trust and who know your situation. 3. You could go to the party and prepare yourself for the onslaught of questions and stories about other’s kids and grandkids. It would be a good idea to prepare some polite answers, for example, “Thanks for asking – my grandson is doing great” and leave it at that. If you feel yourself weakening, then excuse yourself – refresh your drink, get a bite, or whatever. Also, you are free to leave whenever you want to. 4. You could go somewhere else for New Year’s, like a movie or to dinner with friends. or just take a walk with a loved one. The most important person this New Year’s is YOU. Being alienated is heartbreaking, and it might be too soon to put on a brave face for others. Be kind to yourself and do what feels right to you.
    Let me know how it goes!
    Sending blessings and wishes for healing in the New Year.

    • I see that your name is Patrice, not Patricia as I first thought…my bad. I have been estranged from my son since early June, the baby (Ben) was born May the 4th and I was able to visit once when he was about a week old. For some reason my son didn’t think that I needed to visit him any more after that and threw at me the fact that I haven’t seen my 1st grandson, his 1st born (Noah) in years, that was after I had begged him to get some kind of visitation rights after the mother and him separated and he refused. The mother has since married, moved out west and had 2 more children. So no I don’t see Noah and haven’t seen him in years but that is not my fault. I don’t know why he shut me out of his life but I kind of have a clue, he hates my partner but I don’t think that should have any bearing on what relationship I have with him or the baby. I appreciate your suggestions and I think that even though it may be tough to hear about other people’s great kids and grandkids I am sure that I can get through it and just enjoy the party after all it is about me and I want to have fun!

      • Yes, my name is Patrice – for some reason the former avatar kept putting ‘Patricia’ with it, so I just recently got around to changing it 😉 Thanks for noticing!
        So glad you decided to attend the party – you sound like you’re in a better place and up for some fun!
        Happy New Year!

        • Sorry, Patrice, I have been calling you Patricia as well. When I got posts, it appeared to always say Patricia, but now I have learned that it should be Patrice.

  • Patricia, I recently subscribed to the weekly digest of your blog, Family Estrangement. I am constantly reminded of my estrangement from my son and my baby grandson. I wasn’t so sure I could take being reminded with a weekly email as well but I am glad to have a positive reminder that life goes on and it can be peaceful and happy even when you are feeling the pain and confusion of estrangement. I have been invited to a New Year’s celebration and know that 2 of the women attending will talk and share stories about their grandchildren and I am dreading this. How do I respond if asked about my new grandson who I only saw once since he was born this past May? How can I keep my tears from flowing freely when hearing of the joy and happiness they share with their grandchildren and I only have heartache? I hope to be brave and face this event with courage but as the date looms near I only feel fear. Feeling down, Dawn.

  • Patricia, I feel the same way you do. I do not really want to be around a lot of people at this time for some reason. I think it makes me feel somewhat worse than I already do. I am trying to work through this first Christmas without my 2 small grandchildren being part of it and am grieving in my own way but guess this is the way it has to be for now. I still can’t figure out how my daughter and her husband can be so evil and mean to do this to not only me but my precious grandchildren who love me and enjoyed spending so much quality time with me until the carpet was pulled from under them and myself.

    I am glad you chose to be alone for Christmas eve, as it seemed like you really wanted to do that and it’s funny but I never wanted to be alone but lately I am trying to spend more quality time my myself, which is difficult at times but I am working at it.

    I wish you a very blessed and peaceful Christmas and hopefully the new year will be better for all of us who are estranged from their children and grandchildren and that their hearts may soften and realize how short life really is.

    • I wish you every blessing, Angela, for the new year and beyond. Let me know how you’re doing from time to time and if there is any change in your circumstances. Peace.

      • Patricia, I just wanted to let you know that it got so stressful for me that I withdrew my Petition for Grandparent’s Rights. My lawyer turned out to be a real jerk, and didn’t help me at all once he got the money. My daughter kept on writing e-mails letting me know that I was not going to win since her lawyer did a motion to dismiss since in PA there are no grandparent’s rights. I filed the lawsuit as a last ditch attempt to see my grandkids because I really thought my daughter and her husband may not have wanted to pursue going to court since my daughter is abusing prescription pain meds and suffers from borderline personality disorder. This, however, was not the case. The hearing was scheduled for Feb. 4 but the hearing for her lawyer to present motions was on January 25. I was getting too sick over this and it was not worth putting myself through any more physical or emotional stress. My minister and doctor recommended that I forget about it, although it wasn’t easy. My daughter’s attorney was going to call her this past Monday and try to talk some sense into her and let her know that she would like to mediate the case and that it is important for my grandchildren to see me. I guess my daughter probably didn’t want any parts of it because I never heard back from her attorney.
        I am so disgusted right now of the whole ordeal that I feel numb and as if I don’t even care, which I know is not the case but usually I will fight to the bitter end but at this point in time I think my battery is slowly dying.
        I spent money I didn’t have to pursue this lawsuit and got nothing but empty promises from my lawyer and things seemed to have gotten worse instead of better but I had no other alternative since I could not reason with my daughter and she always used the children as pawns against me, which I made clear to her attorney.
        What are your thoughts since you obviously have been grieving and going through the estrangement much longer than I have?

        Thanks for listening.

        • Angela, I’m so sorry to hear about the progression of painful events with the lawyer and your daughter. I’m not surprised – unfortunately, grandparents still have no rights and very weak voices in this hell of alienation and estrangement.
          I hear you when you say you tried everything. You fought so hard that it has made you sick and tired. I did the same thing, (without attorneys). I got to a point where I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.
          We can’t control our adult children. Our grandchildren are not ours, they are the children of our children. We are powerless. I wish I could tell you that your daughter will come to her senses and all will be healed. I can’t. But what I can tell you, and which you’ve probably picked up from my writings, is that you have power within you – the power to transcend your circumstances and move forward in your life.
          Yes, I have grieved a long time, and still do. However, when I fully realized that I couldn’t change my DIL or son or any of the craziness they put me through, I reclaimed my life, my goodness and my spirit. It was the only path I could find through this nightmare.
          My thoughts are these: Let go now. You’ve done all you can. Stop fighting this – you’re not going to win. The only battle worth fighting now is the one raging within you, which is your resistence to reality, your need to control and your need to have things your way. You can’t.
          Start loving yourself, send them love, energetically, and start working on surrendering. You didn’t cause this, you can’t control it and you can’t cure it – remember that saying? It’s so true.
          You have a lot of work to do: get your health back, get your sanity back, get your life back – WITHOUT them, at least for now. It’s the only way. I can’t say that you will ever heal from all this trauma, but if you do the inner work, you will be stronger and forever changed. And that’s the good news, love.

          • Thanks again for responding. I feel so much better after I read your insightful responses and posts. I will continue to work on myself and have learned you can only change yourself and no one else’s behavior. It is a difficult situation to deal with but somehow I know we will find the strength to get through it, although it is not easy.

            I wish you a very happy and healthy new year!

          • Patrice, I had touched base with you before but I wanted to ask you opinion of something. I had a court case scheduled for Monday, January 25, 2016 but cancelled it because my daughter’s attorney had submitted a motion to withdraw the lawsuit since I did not have standing. I withdrew my petition after that because I felt I was only going to get more stressed out and worried what my 2 small grandchildren may have gone through. I had been touch with my daughter and her husband’s attorney and she suggested mediating the case. She kept promising she was going to talk to my daughter and her husband about this but I keep on getting a run around and don’t think she is really doing anything. In the meantime, I had prepared a short e-mail to my daughter asking her to reconsider her position and that possibly we can become a family again. I have mixed feelings about sending the e-mail but think it may be one last ditch effort on my part. I know you have more experience in this situation than I do and I respect your opinion. Do you think it is a good idea to send the e-mail or forget about it. I know my daughter will never willingly contact me so even though I don’t feel I did anything wrong I think I have to be the one to move forward.

            Angela

          • Hi Angela,

            If you have mixed feelings about sending the email to your daughter, then why not wait until you feel sure, either way? Be strong and grounded if and when you send the email and do your best not to be attached to outcome.

            As for mediation, that’s a great idea if done right. I’m not a mediator, but I can recommend someone: Joshua Coleman. He has written a book and is articulate and informed as a mediator in family alienation and estrangement, especially parents and grandparents. Google him and see what you think. He might also be able to help you with the email.

            Good luck and let me know how it all goes.

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