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Devestated Both Adult Children + only grandchild Going to Live Abroad

(72 Posts)
trueblue22 Mon 21-Dec-15 12:17:12

I'm 63, based in Brighton & my children live in London.

My daughter has just told me she, her DH and GS are moving to Canada near to her in-laws. My single son (28) has just told me he's thinking of moving to South America. They both think London is overpriced, over populated and not a good place to bring up a family.

I'm happy for them to move on in their lives and find the best lifestyle for them. But I'm devestated for me. I have a DH and a comfortable home, but what's the point unless you've got family near you.

My only sister has mental health issues. She divorced after 34 years and caused me and her family a lot of problems because of her labile mental hcondition. I've tried contacting her, but she doesn't respond and just sends me cards to signify birthdays etc. No one- not even her adult chlldren- know where she lives. Probably somewhere near London.

Most of my friends are bound up with their families & grandchildren,who live near them. I work PT, have hobbles & friends I can rely on, but I just feel so abandoned. It's a time in my life where I want to see my grandchildren & family more. What happens when we're much older and the children are half way across the world?

I very rarely feel sorry for myself, but this situation just makes me feel so sad for what might have been.

Leticia Mon 21-Dec-15 13:19:23

You are bound to feel sad but there is never any guarantee that our children will live around the corner. At least with Skype and FaceTime they are not lost and you can have regular contact.
It is a bit like a bereavement for the life you envisaged - be kind to yourself.

J52 Mon 21-Dec-15 13:25:16

So sorry for you to feel this way, at this time. Many GNs have faced this and will no doubt be along with good advice.

We were lucky, ours came back, but could go again. Like you it would make me sad again.



Luckygirl Mon 21-Dec-15 13:33:13

Sorry that this is making you sad - I can certainly understand that. How very difficult for you.

I would agree that London is not a good place to bring up a family - but there are lovely places nearer than S America! Perhaps you could gently point your DS in the direction of some of the lovely places in Britain!

I know that many GNetters have faced the same problem and will be along with good advice soon; and I send all my good wishes to you.

tanith Mon 21-Dec-15 13:34:40

I can't imagine how sad you are feeling but you never know it might not happen and if it does they may come back at some point. As the others have said lots of grans face this and will have good advice for you..

Synonymous Mon 21-Dec-15 15:36:49

So sorry true

Just after I married my parents retired back to Scotland and I was devastated and felt abandoned. I was not as good a letter writer in those days and had no telephone. It was a long walk to the telephone box and it cost more than I could afford to ring often. The cost of trains was prohibitive and we had no car. The bus fare was still expensive and the nearest we could get was still not that close. I often think of what my mother would think of the mobiles, internet and Skype and the fact that we can talk for up to an hour for no additional charge to the phone package. We also have 'free' calls to about 50 different countries included in our package. All of these technologies would have made the separation much easier and I wouldn't feel the sadness I feel now when I think of how cut off she felt.
Perhaps you could work out an action plan and see what you can put in place to ensure regular communication. You could start saving for air fares now! It might not actually happen anyway but if it does and you are organised it may not be as bad as you think.

rockgran Mon 21-Dec-15 15:56:20

It is hard at first but you do get used to it - especially if they are happy. My son and family have been away 2 years now and have another year to go but may not come back to the UK anyway. I'm bracing myself for the next move. I couldn't manage without Facebook photos and FaceTime contact occasionally. In some ways I talk to them more now than when they were here!

trueblue22 Mon 21-Dec-15 16:22:43

Thanks all for your supportive messages.

I know there's an outside chance it won't happen, but I'm bracing myself for the negative. I understand there are lots of ways to communicate now and maybe we'll all speak to eachother more often than we do now. Usually once a week...less often with DS.

I think I'm grieving the loss how things were when they were younger and we were all living in Lonodn. I've been in Brighton 10 years now. I also feel guilty for 'leaving' them there and making a life for ourselves on the coast. My son was just 18 and at uni in London. He got glandular fever and was ill for nearly 2 years. He said he felt 'abandoned' then -he has some educational special needs- and maybe the illness was a type of breakdown.

Anyway, that's all in the past and I suppose I have to look forward. and be positive and count my blessings. Things could be much worse.

Coolgran65 Mon 21-Dec-15 16:24:04

I fully understand. Telephone calls are now free or very cheap...2p per minute.

Skype is free.

All we can do is wish them well and hope they have a good life.

Technology is my saviour when my heart is aching but I am smiling.

ninathenana Mon 21-Dec-15 16:48:24

I know DD moving from Kent to Edinburgh 6mths ago doesn't compare to your family being on another continent but I do feel for you.
DD works 12-14 hr days and I miss just talking to her. I'm lucky if we talk about once a fortnight. Instead of the three, four times a week when she needed me.
flowers trueblue

granjura Mon 21-Dec-15 16:56:50

Ouch and I really feel for you. We actually moved away ourselves, discussing it all with our DDs- but we are just a short flight away or a day's drive - no further than Edinburgh would be.

I ever they moved to the other side of the world- like OZ or NZ- I would be devastated as we get older, going regularly would be out of the question. Canada is not toooo far- but even so. I suppose we would seriously consider moving out there ourselves, near to the one with granchildren. my heart goes out to you. But at the end of the day- give them your blessing and don't make them feel guilty- as it will only turn against you. (((hugs)))

loopylou Mon 21-Dec-15 17:10:28

I do sympathise, DS with DDIL and DGS, was intent on moving to Germany where DDIL had been offered a post and I put on a brave face but was totally gutted. I was surprised at how it felt because I'd always said that the world was their oyster and to get on and grasp any opportunity.

Dd spends six months of the year abroad for her job but Skype, emails etc are a Godsend, thank heavens for modern technology!

Clearly one wishes them well but secretly you are sorry, even if you don't see them that often here.

trueblue22 Mon 21-Dec-15 17:44:31

Thanks granjura. If they do permanently settle there, down the line I would seriously consider going to Canada or wherever to live nearby. I can't imagine the same close relationship with my DS. Then again, maybe not. Depends on health & personal circumstances.

My SIL is used to close families and can't understand why DD and I aren't even closer. Apparently he'd love me to be with them more often. He was effectively brought up by his GPs, as his parents had to work. His DM used to phone him from Canada every day when he moved to London to work and when they all get together in Canada it's very warm & encompassing. They were Russian refugees, so I suppose it made their unit very tight-knit. We're a bit more independent and self-sufficient.

As they say..."a daughter is a daughter for the rest of your life (if you're lucky!), the son is a son till he gets him a wife".

Francophile Mon 21-Dec-15 17:52:49

Hi, I can sympathise with your situation because my only son lives halfway across the world.? Skype is great.

harrigran Mon 21-Dec-15 17:54:31

Sorry trueblue but that is tosh, sons remain sons even when married.
Why would you follow your DD to another continent ? live your own life instead of trying to mimic their life.

trueblue22 Mon 21-Dec-15 18:01:39

harrigran Do your children/GC live nearby?

I have a full life with DH and friends. I'm just thinking in a few years when our health & circumstances aren't so good. You can't have seen my earlier post that said my DS will be moving to South America in the near future.

annemac101 Mon 21-Dec-15 18:19:42

I don't think your comment is helpful harrigran. I'm sure trueblue has no intention of mimicking her daughter's life and it's wrong of you to suggest it.
Trueblue I do feel for you and understand how you feel. I would love to be the kind of gran who see her grandchildren more than at weekends. The thought that they might move to another country would have me feeling the same as you do. Your daughter might even be homesick herself if she goes. You will like I would I expect put a smile on your face and wave them goodbye . If things work out for them and they are happy for you to move there then go for it and enjoy your grandchildren. I wish you well.

Bellasnana Mon 21-Dec-15 18:20:34

Two of our daughters married Americans and decamped from home (Malta) to the other side of the Alantic. At first I did find it hard and of course missed them. However, we raised them to be be independent and to follow their dreams, so we're quite happy that they had the guts to go and give it a shot.
We also had some very lovely and memorable holidays in the States which, I am quite sure, we would not have had if not for visiting our children.

When our only DGD was born, I was fortunate enough to go and see her enter the world, and we did a lot of skyping between visits so she always knew who we were.

Time has moved on,both daughters divorced, one still in the US, the other has returned to Malta with DGD ( aged 4). Although delighted to have her here, especially since DH's death eight months ago, I would far rather she was still in the US with two happy parents, but it was not to be.sad

Be happy for your children, trueblue. We only get one shot at life and if they have the opportunity to experience living in another country they should do so without having to be made to feel guilty. I do sympathise, believe me, but lots of us have had to deal with it and you do get used to it.

I wish you all the best smile

Maddcow Mon 21-Dec-15 18:28:08

Really feel for you-my DD lived in Japan for three years with her boyfriend, now her husband & I was told I would be a long distance Grandma; however mt story has a happy ending as they and my GS now live only 40 minutes away and I have GS one day s week. I still fear that they may emigrate in the future but for now we relish having them near. Enjoy the times you have with them, save up your air miles/airfares and support them all the way-good luck!

pauline42 Mon 21-Dec-15 18:41:40

So sorry to hear you're feeling miserable about this - your message brought me up with a jolt because we made the same announcement to my parents about our planned moved to Canada when our children were 3 and 6, and I realize now - all these years later - that it definitely broke my mum's heart as well as her spirit when we moved so far away with her beloved grandchildren - but she didn't ever did tell us that or made us feel guilty about it. She also knew that initially I really didn't want to make this big move, but my husband had a job offer that was too good to refuse and I instinctively knew that my first loyalty was to my husband.

All this happened about 40 years ago - and in the early years we travelled back and forth often, and mum and dad would spent summers with us as the children grew up. But overall it was hard raising children without having the influence of grandparents living close by......I recognize that now as I have young grandchildren who live close to us and are so much an integral part of our lives. But Canada has giving us and our grown children so many more opportunities than we could ever have dreamed of if we had stayed in England. It's a choice we made all those years ago and benefitted greatly because of it - but it saddens me still that I wasn't around as my parents aged and needed more and more help in their daily lives.

TerriS Mon 21-Dec-15 18:51:10

I have a saying: Count your blessings, not your miseries. A little trite perhaps, but indulging one's miseries too often can lead to having mental health issues of your own. What do I know? Well, DH works in Dubai and travels across north Africa, the middle east and Asia for work - we have just had two weeks together (only one week of which we were both off work) and were last together in July (luckily we have a rock solid marriage going back over 34 years). I need to stay here to work on my pension and care for his ailing mother. Also, due to his traveling I would spend a large amount of time on my own if I lived out there.
Our eldest has settled in New Zealand and is about to have No. 2 grandchild. I shall travel out to be there for the birth and help out, but can only get 3 weeks off work. I'm unlikely to be able to afford to go again for a couple of years and they are also feeling the pinch due to the cost of raising a young family.
The youngest lives in London and is coming home for Christmas, but because I have only Christmas day off work (yay for another blessing!) and have to work the rest of the holiday, already is planning to go home a couple of days after.
My son (who reluctantly lives at home at 27) can't wait to have saved enough to move out (I know, the natural order of things, but I'll miss him!).
Eventually, it will be me and the cat. I'm already stopping myself from putting on any emotional pressure and constantly have to play the 'I'm so busy kids - really' card to not let them feel any responsibility for me or their dad.
But.... if I allow myself... if I start to analyse how I really feel...No, I won't do it.
Anyway, excuse me, I have a heap of things to do this evening!

Welshwife Mon 21-Dec-15 19:02:49

My DS and family have lived in USA for 12 years. I was not pleased that they were going but understood why and DD was the same. We never let him know how sad we were but supported his move. We all visit so not too bad and we use messaging and Skype etc. I believe that we should bring up our children to stand on their own feet and let them fly where their dreams take them. The ties are never really broken and they come back from time to time. To me how they feel is of far more importance to me than how I feel - I just get on with it and am able to stay positive. I speak to DS every week and if he has a day off he will give me an extra call.
It is DD I feel for as her only sibling is far away and they were very close. They too speak often. I think it is also very important not to try and make the child feel guilty for moving away - people who do that only cause distress and hurt for everyone but it solves nothing.

granjura Mon 21-Dec-15 19:24:41

I was just 19 when I came to work in London for 6 months ... that lasted 39 years and a bit. In those days (1970) Switzerland was 'as far' as Canada is now- in as much as fligths were hugely expensive, and train travel was so long and so complicated, no TGV, no Tunnel, etc.

I shall always be so graeful that my parents never, ever, made me feel guilty - ever. They would come every Christmas well into their 80s, and we would bisit in the Summer or they would come to England- alernate years.

They always said that knowing me happy with the nicest ever man, with our children, in England - was the best they could ask for. As they got into late 80s and 90s- I was able to fly regulalry with EasyJet and be there for them as much as I possibly could.

JessM Mon 21-Dec-15 20:14:33

Bah and Humbug to emigration trueblue22 My sons are in NZ and AUS, with 2 lovely grandchildren in AUS. You will learn to cope with this because feeling sorry for yourself all the time is no way to live your life. Lots of people do migrate to Canada - I assume there is a firm job offer involved? The culture is not too different but, in parts, the weather is. Don't worry about the future because they may not like it and they may come back. Migration is not the picnic that many people expect it to be. Trying to raise a family far from all your friends and relatives is tough. As is suddenly realising that you are the foreigners - and not feeling you belong. One son said "it's very beautiful but I don't think it will ever feel like mine*.
Have they been there on holiday to get an idea what it is like?
The single son who is contemplating S America - does he speak fluent Spanish/Portugese (depending on where) and has he got a job in mind? Has he been there on holiday? Much bigger culture change.

loopylou Mon 21-Dec-15 20:57:07

Reading these posts really brings home the fact that we should not live our lives through our children.

I like to think that you raise children to free them to live their own lives as much as possible but you remain as a sounding board and a safety net.

I really do count my blessings especially when I read of the difficulties some GNs have with no contact at all.

DGS (aged 28 months) has just sung 'Happy birthday to Nonna' on FaceTime, and golly, am I a lucky Nonna! tchgrin.