Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

very difficult time with family and grandchild living abroad

(89 Posts)
sausages123 Mon 13-Mar-17 18:11:10

hi am new member and struggling with the above which has left me with depression. I cant seem to accept they are abroad and I'm so lonely and angry and no one really understands my situation as its not honestly a common one, would love to share experiences with others , thanks.

rosesarered Mon 13-Mar-17 18:19:56

Hi sausages ( great name) welcome to the forum, I have every sympathy with your situation, it must be so hard.Other forum members will be along soon am sure, to share their advice on this problem.๐Ÿ’

tanith Mon 13-Mar-17 18:27:33

Welcome sausages123 I understand how much of struggle it can be as I am in the same situation. Do all your family live abroad leaving you alone in the UK?

MargaretX Mon 13-Mar-17 18:33:58

Your situation is far more common than you imagine. I think we all can imagine what that would be like and understand your feeling angry. If you are really depressed then approach your GP at least until you have come to terms with the situation.
Evrything will become more manageable with time and perhaps there will be a visit to look foreward to. flowers

MargaretX Mon 13-Mar-17 18:34:41

Sorry i wanted to send flowers but got it wrong!

ffinnochio Mon 13-Mar-17 18:45:43

sausage . There are quite a few of us on GN who have family & grandchildren living abroad, so try not to feel too isolated - keep chatting.

It can be difficult to adjust to this situation, but I have found that through time, it becomes easier.

There are days when I can feel a little angry or low, but quickly remind myself that they are living a life they have chosen, and in my case, happily so.

There are quite a few threads on Long Distance Grandparenting, so you might like to dip into a few of those. It might provide you with some perspective.


Ilovecheese Mon 13-Mar-17 18:52:34

I am so sorry, if this has happened recently, then yes, it will get better with time.
At a time when I was lonely, what really helped me were my hobbies. Do you have any or is there anything you used to do that you could take up again? I don't mean to trivialise your situation it's just that it was what really helped me. Another thing I used to do was to arrange little treats, like a new magazine or something nice to eat. or small excursions to different parts of town. I know they sound like small things, but added together they did help. I expect it is extra hard if there is no one else you know that is in the same situation. I am sure there are plenty of others on Gransnet you can empathise with you. I would also like to send flowers but don't know how.

Rinouchka Mon 13-Mar-17 19:32:54

Hello sausages. Sorry that you feel so angry and lonely, especially if no one in your area is in the same situation.
I am a long-distance granny as well. As ffinnocchio has suggested, you will find several threads on this theme which may help you. I also endorse ilovecheese's suggestion that you try to extend your interests and activities. Joining a gym, enrolling in classes or in the U3A activities will extend you and may help reduce the anger and loneliness.

I understand the loneliness but why are you angry? How can we be angry that our children are living their lives as they wish and are happy?

Many of us in your situation embrace our children's life choices and we are constantly trying to make these choices work for us, as well.

If you can explain your situation further, then we may be able to offer more guidance based on our own experience.

But hugs to you andflowers. A long-distance granny can be happy and fulfilled...and become close to their grandchildren, despite the apparent contradiction in terms!

silverlining48 Mon 13-Mar-17 19:37:15

You are not alone, plenty of us have children who live in another country, my daughter and husband left the uk 10 years ago initially for a year, which has slowly extended. It was painful always holding on and hoping, but i now accept they have no intention of returning.

it is hard, but they have made their decision, right for them, and we have to accept it.
You will get more used to it, gradually, so try to keep busy, ensure you keep in touch via social media and visit regularly if you can. Much as most of us would like our children to be reasonably close by, many move away.
I do understand how you feel. Good luck.

nina1959 Mon 13-Mar-17 20:18:33

I too know how you feel Sausages. You need to start finding ways to fill the void. It's hard to do at first but with a determined spirit you will be surprised at how soon you can start building a new kind of life.
Being angry is part of a whole range of emotions and I think it's probably quite normal. Perhaps it's not so much anger but more sadness and hurt at what is really a huge loss.
You've got to try and start doing new things. Have you got any other family, friends, work, hobbies? What about a pet? I have a small dog and I can honestly say that she is just the best little friend I've ever had,
You'll make new friends and hopefully feel more connected here on Gransnet. x

Coolgran65 Mon 13-Mar-17 20:56:16

My son has been left home practically since he went to uni. When he finished uni he then worked 600 miles distant. This was followed by spells all over the world. He then married a girl from very far away, they live 8k miles distant, and I've met my grandson twice. Skype is not as often as I'd like, but we Skype about once a month. Skype is also not like having a proper chat but it's what is available.

We have to let them ago. I'll repeat a phrase I used several months ago.... along the lines of.... "they don't need us the way that we need them".

They are young, making a life, busy. When I was their age it didn't cross my mind how much my parents might miss me during the times I worked abroad. And there was no Skype or mobile phone in those days. We went to the City centre Telephone Exchange and booked a call to the UK which sometimes worked and sometimes didn't connect at all.

I think of my son many times each day. Sometimes it's easier than others. But there's nothing I can do about it. And it is many many years since he left. We exchange emails but they are not newsy with the munitia that us women like, the little things that matter.

OP - I fully understand how you are feeling, the sadness, feeling low. Are you likely to go visit anytime soon. Or could they have a trip home. could you help fund a trip if you don't want to go to them. I feel your sadness, I truly understand, I feel that way often. It's not something I talk about too much with my friends as I don't want to be a bore.

Perhaps find a little joy in choosing inexpensive gifts to send over to your grandson. Last week I posted a little book that cost only ยฃ1. It's the thought that counts. I made a poster using felt pens and glitter and sent that also.

We must let them go and make our own lives worthwhile.

nina1959 Mon 13-Mar-17 21:07:37

One lady I know knits blankets for premature babies. I think she sends them to the Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital. This has helped the awful nurture block we all get when we have so much love to give but no way of giving it to our own families. Helping others is a good way to feel involved though. There are many charities that would welcome your input.

sausages123 Mon 13-Mar-17 21:20:24

thanks all for the much needed messages that are very helpful indeed.
I think where ive gone wrong is that such a lot happened in last few years as well , lost my mum, step sister and a best friend all within 18 months so , so many losses and sadness and my family so far away when I needed them, never mind, I gave up doing most things that I enjoyed as I was just existing trying to cope, I need to rebuild my life.
I will then have some kind of life for me, no wonder I feel lost. thanks again, a fabulous site in which I only discovered today by accident when I picked up the daily mail there is an article inside about grandparents with familily abroad and this website address, was meant to be............

tiggypiro Mon 13-Mar-17 21:27:17

I too have both my DS and DD living abroad and all my 5 GS's were born abroad and I know exactly how you feel. We must remember however that we brought them up to be adventurous, independent and resourceful and must allow them to be what we hoped they would become when they were children. I do concede that it would be better for us if they didn't choose to do so so far away ! As well as skype (which from China is very iffy most of the time) we use WeChat on our smart phones. DD sends messages, photos, videos and the boys can also send verbal messages. Use anything you can to keep in touch and try some of the things that others have mentioned to occupy yourself. It really does get better with time.

SueDonim Mon 13-Mar-17 21:40:42

My oldest child moved to America fifteen years ago and I doubt will ever return to the UK as he has an American wife and children and they are well settled. We've had some amazing holidays with them and they come to us too. Their next visit is this summer and I'm busy planning that, and how to ensure they get to see as many family members possible. Our times together aren't frequent but they are intense and we keep in close touch via Skype etc.

My other son lives at the other end of the UK from us, as well, with our third grandchild and a fourth on the way. We manage to see them quite often and went on holiday with them last year.

I have one daughter a couple of hours away and another is still a student and is nearby which helps keep me busy, too.

Do you have any family close by at all, Sausages? If not, is moving closer to your family abroad a possibility?

fiorentina51 Mon 13-Mar-17 22:03:35

I was at the other end of the problem. I was the grandchild living here with granny living abroad. Back then we kept in touch through the odd letter written by my mother and later the occasional phone call. We actually met when I went to visit for holidays with my parents. The holidays were very infrequent but somehow we had a really good relationship.
Not perfect I know, but I wish you well and hope you build a good relationship with your grandchildren too.

absent Tue 14-Mar-17 05:48:09

My daughter went off to New Zealand when she was 17. She had broken up with her kiwi boyfriend who had flown home from the UK as a result, and then she had terribly regretted it. It was probably the hardest thing I have ever done in my life to watch her walk through the gate at Heathrow, knowing in my heart that she would never return to the UK to live and would probably make a young marriage that would go pear-shaped. I was, incidentally, right on both counts, but a lovely son, now 15. also happened.

In between times, I cared for an increasingly frail mother in my home who eventually died at the age of 92. I witnessed the final illnesses and deaths of many I loved and was abandoned by my sister (as was my daughter).

Meanwhile, absentdaughter divorced her husband โ€“ a process involving many late-at-night conversations with me โ€“ and later re-married. She had more babies and I visited or paid for her and some family members to visit me as often as practical.

Yes โ€“ I missed her. Did I regret letting her go? No, never. I taught her to fly so why would I clip her wings? She established a wonderful life which continues to be glorious. Did we stop being close? Did we hell? My friends used to joke that you couldn't push a cigarette paper between our closeness however many thousand miles apart we lived.

It happens that I have been able to emigrate to NZ, although only with the support of absentdaughter and my son-in-law. (I'm too old to be considered other than as a family member.) I love being here, but if I hadn't been able to move here โ€“ and it was touch and go because of Mr absent's boring health issues โ€“ I would still have been a major part of my daughter's life, my son-in-law's life and the lives of my grandchildren and they would all have been a major part of mine. The connections go back to when she was born, the ties are historical and the love is forever.

Always avoid self-pity.

BlueBelle Tue 14-Mar-17 06:33:48

Hello Sausages my son went to NZ 20 years ago and never came home he has two children who I love but don't know very well I ve only met them about 5 times so I can never 'really' know them or have a close relationship My youngest daughter lives in Europe and I see them about twice a year but it's always me going to her never the other way round I go and collect my three grandkids for a holiday with me every summer and then take them back after a couple of weeks and usually go over to them around December to give them presents so know them better I m lucky to have one daughter and two grandchildren nearby
I can relate to the down feeling too my Mum Dad and job all went the same year
I was in a huge black bubble that I have climbed out of with voluntary work, hobbies and friends
My only advice is be interested in others, do something for those that have less than you, try and join something and keep talking
Good luck and keep going you ll get there ๐Ÿ’

Stansgran Tue 14-Mar-17 09:45:51

Join the club Sausages. Dd1 lives abroad at a reachable ,affordable distance. At the moment she has Been made a job offer in the States. She did tell me when she moved from New York 12 years ago that I was to tell her never to move house across the Atlantic again.grin I'm not sure I agree with Absent - a little self pity is ok and then a pick me up dust me down gin and tonic does help. I have one daughter and family nearer in Yorkshire and she's a wonderful daughter but we give them roots and wings. That's our job.

glammanana Tue 14-Mar-17 10:30:37

Sausages Give yourself a pat on the back for raising a child who has the confidence to go out into the world and start a new life,keep posting and joining in other conversations here and you will make some lovely new friends to chat

Irenelily Tue 14-Mar-17 10:38:32

Hi there, it must be hard for you. Although my children and grandchildren are all in the UK, physical contact can be difficult if it involves long journeys. A step-daughter is abroad. We have a family What's App so can keep up with each other's events. There's Skype and FaceTime.
When I moved to a new area I asked at a primary school if they needed help listening to readers. I quickly became involved and eventually was asked to be a school governor, I'm still there12 years later! You can choose how much involvement you have. I think doing something positive helps. Hope it helps you. flowers

Angela1961 Tue 14-Mar-17 10:40:09

I live over 300 miles away from my daughter and grandchildren which is hard and for various reasons I've not been able to visit them for over a year. They have never visited me in 8 years due to them being busy.
I decided I could sit at home and feel sorry for myself or do something to meet people. I volunteered, joined the WI ( honestly not scary ) and go to a book group. I've made some good friends who I also see away from those things , it can get better, it's you that has to make the change to a less lonely life. You will be pleased you did - go out today .

granmod3 Tue 14-Mar-17 10:44:34

I too am in the same situation, daughter and son-in-law move to the States over 15 years ago. It's tough, we see them at the most twice a year. They have a fabulous lifestyle, but I do sympathise with you. We can't move there as I have health issues. It's the time zones I can't stand, as they are 8 hours behind us. As I wrote you have my sympathy, it's tough.

intotheblue Tue 14-Mar-17 10:47:33

I to am in this situation and realise how hard it is to be positive. My son and his wife moved to the USA 10 years ago and have since had 3 daughters, identical twins of 5 and a new baby born 2 weeks ago. When the new arrival was born it seemed so remote and we will not be seeing her until the summer. For me Skype is no substitute for physical contact. It is very hard not to be able to be part of their everyday lives. My other son lives in Scotland, 800 miles away. He only has one son of 6 who was brain damaged at birth and is very seriously disabled. They are not going to have any more children bacause of their bad experience with the birth of their son and the events since. My only daughter has now decided she is gay, so no chance of any Grandchildren there. So, yes I do find it very hard to keep ositive!

Persistentdonor Tue 14-Mar-17 10:51:43

I know it is very painful.... (though thinking about it, I am not angry at all). My older son and family are far too busy for me, and my younger son is in Oz. Australian missus, and 3 children whom I hardly know. Truly, I ache to meet the baby who is now 15 months old and walking, but my sons are happy, and that is the main thing.
In retrospect, obviously it was a big mistake to encourage them to be quite so self-reliant and independent.
On the positive side, I thank the Lord for face-time/skype and whatever other technology wonders, that allow me to speak to them all with an image on a screen.
And I fill my time so I avoid sitting around thinking about it much.