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Estrangement – a grandson’s point of view

(32 Posts)
Grandson84 Wed 08-Jul-15 16:53:24

Firstly I must apologise for ‘gatecrashing’ the forums here. I am not a grandparent. I am however, a grandson, and so I have come here to relay my story in the hope that other people in similar situations might take some comfort, that even in the most unlikely cases, family ties can be made even years down the line.

I just wanted to say that recently I met up with my Grandmother after 26 years! We had not spoken since I was five years old and I had never been told why, one day, I had a grandmother, and the next, she was cut out of my life. I did gather over the years as I grew up (with four other siblings), that my mum’s childhood had been difficult. I knew that there had been tensions and disagreements, but nothing that (in my mind) could warrant being cut off from the rest of us for so long. I grew up unknowingly grieving for my Grandma, as if she had died – and was never able to get over it. I felt unable to ask my mum the whys, whats, and whens – and so in secret I grew up looking out for my gran in the street, hoping that I would not forget what she looked like and that I might see her in the streets in town (I never did, forget that is). My siblings and I would occasionally talk about it, but they seemed to be able to deal with this loss better than I – my two younger siblings were barely old enough to remember Gran, and the two older ones didn’t seem bothered. I’m sure they were, but like me, did not feel able to do anything about it. Fast forward twenty six years and I can still remember the last time I saw her, I can still remember her knocking at the door and not being allowed to answer, I can still remember the funny faces we would pull at each other in fits of giggles.

I had never thought it would be possible to find her again, until the beginning of this year, when I discovered that my Gran had remarried in the 90s. At the time I was compiling my family tree, so I was able to figure out her new surname based on some detective work and finding the marriage certificate! I just happened to randomly type her name into Facebook and – lo and behold, her picture appeared on my computer screen. I cannot tell you what I felt at that moment, but it was amazing. I finally plucked up the courage to send a message, and things have gone from there. We met up about a month later for a cup of tea and on the way to meet her I was an emotional wreck. I will treasure those moments for the rest of my life. When our eyes met each other we were both stunned. We were both in absolute shock that this was happening, and kept just staring at each other in disbelief –at the same time recognising each other as family in our smiles, laughs, and tears. There was so much to say, but so little needed to be said in that moment. We agreed not to talk about the past in terms of disagreements etc there and then, because (from my perspective) it was not relevant. There’s time for all of that. We’ve since met up a few times and established a regular email contact. We don’t live too far away from each other so that’s a relief!

Out of respect for my family’s privacy, I can’t go into huge details, but I have also considered my mum’s feelings and have told her all of the above. She was / is very understanding but I’m still not sure what will be of their relationship. I just felt it was important to share this with other people who may be in similar situations. Partly also because when I was searching for my Gran I couldn’t find anywhere online where there were other grandchildren looking for their grandparents! I’d be happy to talk about estrangement from a grandchild’s perspective if that would be useful to anyone, but at the same time fully understand that every situation is different. I just wanted to offer some hope, because I never gave up thinking that one day I would see my Gran again and now I’m 31!

Marelli Wed 08-Jul-15 16:58:39

What a wonderful outcome, Grandson84 smile. Did your mother know that you were looking for her?

TwiceAsNice Wed 08-Jul-15 17:46:35

Well done Grandson84. Whatever the reasons I cannot think about being separated from my grandchildren without being devastated. I bet your Gran is over the moon to have you back in her life. I wish you both joy in discovering each other again you sound really caring and I hope things continue to go well for you both.

soontobe Wed 08-Jul-15 17:47:52

What a brilliant post!
You are not gatecrashing by the way as the forum is an open forum.

Bellanonna Wed 08-Jul-15 17:52:54

Brought tears to me eyes. You sound a lovely grandson. I wish you happy times ahead with your Gran, which hopefully other family members can share too.

Bellanonna Wed 08-Jul-15 17:53:22

MY eyes. Sorry

rosesarered Wed 08-Jul-15 18:06:10

Nice story Grandson84, a happy ending for both of you.smile

NanSue Wed 08-Jul-15 18:09:27

Wow! What a great post. Good to hear a GC's take on this sad subject. I wish you and yours all the best for the future.

TerriBull Wed 08-Jul-15 18:10:19

I loved your story it gave a different perspective. I hope those who have spoken about their enforced estrangement with grandchildren read about your experiences, it may give them some hope for the future. A good idea to come on to GN and talk about your renewed relationship with your Grandma, I hope you continue to have many happy meetings.

J52 Wed 08-Jul-15 18:59:25

How wonderful for you both. I hope you both have years together to make happy memories.

x

Leticia Wed 08-Jul-15 19:04:47

A lovely story. I keep telling my friend that I am sure that her grandchildren will seek her out when adults. They spent so much time with her before they were 10 yrs and you can't just blot out happy memories because the mother decides to block her.

Judthepud2 Wed 08-Jul-15 21:31:10

Thank you for that heartwarming post Grandson I hope you and your Gran have many happy meetings with each other. There are so many estranged grandparents on this forum! I hope your message gives them hope!

Luckygirl Wed 08-Jul-15 22:05:06

A happy ending - well done.

numberplease Wed 08-Jul-15 23:55:52

What a lovely story, thank you Grandson84. I only hope that there is such a happy ending for the estranged grandparents on this forum as well. Wishing you, and your gran, a wonderful future.

Jane10 Thu 09-Jul-15 08:23:50

I just hope its genuine. Sorry for being so cynical but its so well written that its almost too good to be true and the answer to so many estranged Grans prayers. If genuine its lovely if not its very cruel.

Iam64 Thu 09-Jul-15 08:42:33

Indeed Jane10

annsixty Thu 09-Jul-15 08:50:13

I have not posted this before as I have never wanted to raise hopes for estranged families. I met someone at a friend's house two years ago and when I said where I lived she asked me if I knew someone living near. She then told me that the eldest daughter of this woman was her niece who she brought up from birth after her sister died during the birth. When the child was two the father took her away, remarried and cut off all contact. The family didn't know where they were. I think it all came to light when the father died and the " mother" helped her to find the family. GP's were dead by this time but the aunt was overjoyed. The child had residual memories but thought they were dreams. The moral- never give up hope but it may be a long time coming. Good luck GS I hope it all works out for all your family.

Smileless2012 Thu 09-Jul-15 13:43:14

Such a wonderful post Grandson, I cannot tell you how moved I was, thank you for sharing. I haven't seen my own GS since he was 8 months old, well I pass by him occasionally as he lives just down the road, so he wont remember me at all but I do hope that one day I'll be as lucky as your grandmother and like you he will look for and find me one day.

rosesarered Thu 09-Jul-15 14:07:25

I hope it's a true story too Jane, because it is moving and well written.I did have a thought that it may be someone who wanted us to tell our experiences of similar estrangements.
I think that may happen on here.Hopefully it's not but......

gammon Thu 09-Jul-15 16:58:47

Grandson84, thank you for sharing your (very moving) story. Ignore the doubters. I think there have been chancers on the site before which is why we are sometimes a bit cautious. I've found Gransnet a very welcoming and supportive site. Hope you do too. And I think it's great when we get another point of view. In the denied access stories, there is sadly so much despair, and a positive outcome like your own is just incredible to read. Wishing you and your family all the best. And dare I hope your mum and grandmother bury the hatchet too? smile

abnerbenjamin Fri 31-Jul-15 21:39:31

Message deleted by Gransnet for breaking our forum guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Jane10 Sat 01-Aug-15 09:51:06

Interesting that he's never posted again and you'd think he might.........

Leticia Sat 01-Aug-15 15:32:19

I expect that he came on as a one off.

Jane10 Sat 01-Aug-15 16:21:31

If indeed he actually was a he!

Grandma2213 Sun 02-Aug-15 01:04:23

I hope that Grandso84 is genuine but if he isn't at least he/she has made us all think!

I have looked after all my DGCs almost since birth (though there have been threats) and can only imagine how I would feel to lose them. However I hope that the happy memories they may have, would stick until they became old enough to ask questions and seek answers.

Memories are wonderful and powerful thingsl