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!
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