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(80 Posts)
debohunXL5 Thu 16-May-19 15:59:22

Today I have received a letter from my estranged SIL informing me that he has scattered my daughter's ashes in accordance with her Will.on 24th April. Our grandchildren aged 7 and 9 attended the ceremony reading their own Eulogy and choosing a song from Jess Glynne. He has sent photos and instructions of the location they have been scattered in our local woods. I know I should be grateful that he has informed me of this but as the letter was written as if from a Solicitor (very formal). I feel he has only informed me because I was an Executor of her Will and he is duty bound to inform me. Despite this I now feel she has come 'home' as he is now living some 3 hours away from us and it is some comfort to know she is nearby. There is a lot of animosity between us because of our separation from our grandchildren but I would think it may be a good idea to just say 'thank you and to ask him to pass on our love and thoughts to our grandchildren. It seems like closure to us and he has made a life with our grandchildren without us. Should we now just not try to contact him at all and leave them to get on with their lives and us with ours. It breaks our hearts every single day not to see or talk to them We have no contact with them, no address but we may be able to find out an e-mail address so that I could just say 'thank you and send our love. After all he could have left us in the dark and not tell us and we would have been none the wiser. I am asking GNs really should I just move on with our lives because it is causing us so much pain to hope we will ever see them again. Sorry for the long thread. Over to you please.sad

grannylyn65 Thu 16-May-19 16:05:20

So very sad, I’m sorry x

leyla Thu 16-May-19 16:22:08

I'm very sorry to read such a sad post. Did you know that your daughter was ill? Yes, I would try to make contact to say thank you for letting us know such sad news and to send love. Sometimes death makes people review their lives - it's worth making contact anyway, but don't expect anything to come of it.
My sincere condolences to you.

Tedber Thu 16-May-19 16:24:11

oh how sad. I don't know the background to all this but from what you have said, I would definitely say thank you. In fact, I would probably go a little further and add how grateful you are and that if HE and the children ever want to visit then the door will always be open.

It is probably galling you even thinking about it but it is probably your only hope of keeping lines of communication open in the hope that, in time, he may realise how selfish he is being to his children.

It is dreadful that grandparents don't have any 'rights' as such. I have read lots of sad tales. Take care

sodapop Thu 16-May-19 16:30:34

That is so sad debohun, heart breaking news, I feel for you.
I would try to get in touch and as you say send love and an offer to help where you can.
I hope you hear back from your son in law.

Nonnie Thu 16-May-19 16:40:15

So sorry to hear this. I do think you should respond, kindly, not formally. Who knows he could be tipping his toe in the water to see if you want to be friendly. Maybe ask how he and the children are as if you expect a reply. You could even say you would like to send birthday cards and ask for an address to send them to. Not his address specifically just 'an address'

humptydumpty Thu 16-May-19 16:48:41

I'm so sorry too to hear this and endorse the idea of thanking him and leaving the door open in case he changes his mind. As for the GC, don't give up, when they are adults they may well choose to seek you out.

notanan2 Thu 16-May-19 17:02:15

Whatever your personal issues with your SIL he is now the primary carer of the grieving children and as such I wouldnt cause him any extra stress as he needs to be strong for them, and he doesnt seem to want to hear from you. If there is a chance that hearing from you would cause him any extra stress or upset I would stay well away, for the sake of the children as he needs all his strength and energy focused on them right now and probably needs to only be in contact with people whom he considers his support system right now.

That small family just got smaller and right now their needs come first so that they have space to reform in their "new normal" . Maybe there will be a time down the line for your need for contact, but IMO this is not it. It is the very WORST time to contact a family you are estranged from.

notanan2 Thu 16-May-19 17:18:38

I guess what I'm saying is that right now it is a kindness to the GCs to be kind to their primary carer, as they grieve and adjust.

And contacting someone who doesnt want to be in contact with you is not kind.

It may change in the future. But IMO the needs of grieving children & their primary carers come first in the acute stages of grief

Sara65 Thu 16-May-19 17:33:17

I don’t know the background to your estrangement, or if you knew you daughter was ill, but I agree that your son in law could be testing the water, so if it was me, and I felt I could, I’d respond warmly
He may feel he’d like the children to know their mums family eventually
This is so sad for you all

debohunXL5 Thu 16-May-19 17:45:32

Thank you for all your kind messages. I am afraid you need to know the history to get a good picture Notanan2. Just briefly my DD died of cancer just 7 months after diagnosis. This was two years ago April 14th. She was 37. During her illness her H treated her very badly and unfortunately I could not stand by and see this happen. I challenged him about it and instead of talking he went off in a temper tantrum. He later became aggressive towards my DH. When my DD was admitted to hospital where she stayed for the last 8 weeks of her life he became the model H and we sort of made up. As soon as my DD passed he then ignored us not picking up the phone and he would not allow us to see our grandchildren. Before my DDs death we saw the children on a daily basis and were very involved in their lives, more so than him. He then upped sticks and moved 3 hours away. We saw them only twice after that. We have not seen them now for over 2 years. We do not know where they live or have a number. We have sent birthday cards via a mutual friend of theirs but we do not know if they have received them. We get very little information from her. We know that he has a girlfriend which he met only 5 months after my DD death. Although I feel it is a little soon I realise that life goes on and my granddaughter in particular needs that female contact. We are in so much pain but know there is nothing we can do. If I can find out an E-mail address I will write to him and thank him and send my love to the grandchildren and then that will be it because he has in a letter said he wants no contact from us directly. We will just hope they contact us in the future.sad

Sara65 Thu 16-May-19 17:53:44

This an awful situation, I can’t imagine what you’ve been through, and your grandchildren must miss you so much, on top of losing their mother

My instinct would be to try and mend fences for the sake is the children

leyla Thu 16-May-19 17:59:15

Do you think you serve as a reminder of behaviour that he is ashamed of? I would send a message - I would be warmly formal and perhaps say something like you hope moving forwards that he and the grandchildren are able to have happy lives and that your door is always open in the hope that he and/or the children would like to make contact.

debohunXL5 Thu 16-May-19 19:11:37

Well Leyla I think you have hit the nail on the head! I think he is feeling massively guilty and ashamed at how he treated my daughter and how he had treated us. But I would rather he felt guilty at the way he had deprived his children of our love and attention. As Sara65 says they lost their mother and lost us all at the same time. We were replaced with his mother, step father and brothers who all drink to excess and never paid the children any attention when my DD was alive. I am hopeful that at least this has changed as he was happy to dump his children on us or whoever was available so that he didn't have to look after them when my DD had to work. I am not in the right place to forgive him yet. At one point he actually accused my daughter of being a martyr because she was being so brave. He has written some really nasty letters to me accusing me of all sorts which are totally untrue but I haven't responded to any of his letters. He only thinks of his own 'grief' and does not consider we are also grieving for DD and our GC for surely it is like we have lost them too. sad

Sara65 Thu 16-May-19 19:22:40

Well it would obviously be really hard, if not impossible for you to forgive him, I can’t imagine what you’d have to overcome to reach out to him.
But you sound so brave and level headed, I’m sure the children need you, and you need them, Try not to give up

Tangerine Thu 16-May-19 23:25:15

Perhaps try once more - nothing ventured, nothing gained.

You could tell him that the door is always open if he wishes to come through it.

silverlining48 Fri 17-May-19 09:03:28

I am glad you have had contact from your son in law after so long and would agree with others to use this as an opportunity to respond.
Don’t expect too much from him because you have already had so much disappointment and distress but if there is a chance of seeing your grandchildren it’s worth a try.

polnan Fri 17-May-19 10:00:21

I agree with what Sarah 65 has said.

praying for you all...

Minshy Fri 17-May-19 10:00:37

How absolutely awful for you.
It’s cruel and unnecessary.
The children will need a mother figure in their young lives more than ever now. And you could help them, and yourselves, through the grief.
I hope you find a way to contact them. The children need to know they are loved by their maternal grandparents.
Much love to you xx

Laurensnan Fri 17-May-19 10:01:28

I can't just read this post and scroll through but I have no real advise. I have grandchildren myself who I see everyday and I can't imagine them being taken from me. I lost my son to cancer after just 6 months age 26 so I know your pain exactly over losing your daughter. It is the most horrendous thing to ever happen to me and my grandchildren save me. I am crying here as I write this thinking of you and send you so much love. In time he may realise and contact you. Just say to him in an email simply that you hope one day he'll let you see them and you wish him well with his new life. This is the saddest thing I have read in a long time.

Venus Fri 17-May-19 10:02:29

So sorry for you loss. I would thank your son in law and request contact with the grandchildren. They have lost their mother and grandparents are so important. When my husband passed away, my grandchildren were so upset and still ask me about him, especially the five year old.

Now is the time to make every effort to heal the wounds and be there for them. You will be no worse off for trying.

mrsnonsmoker Fri 17-May-19 10:14:16

I am so sorry for your terrible loss OP. You say that you were an executor - is there a solicitor involved as well? I am just thinking that you could send a formal letter through them? Saying thank you for getting in touch, door is always open, if we can help etc - then its logged with a third party and it might just be another string to your bow for getting touch with the children at a later date. If he's as bad as you say then I think its significant that he has sent you this letter (and thank god he did so you know where your daughter rests) - you might find that you get another letter like this some time in the future.

Do you have any other children or family that he might respond better to at some point?

jaylucy Fri 17-May-19 10:17:11

In a way I can understand why his letter seemed so cold - like you he will be grieving and it must have been difficult for him to put it all into words. Likewise the way that he has moved right away from you with the grandchildren.
I don't know the circumstances of your daughter's passing, but maybe he feels that by leaving the immediate area, it will help him and his children to move on in their lives?
Please write back to him to thank him for taking the time to let you know, make it warm and friendly and send your love to the grandchildren and maybe suggest that they spend a holiday with you in the future, giving no time limits and stress that if at anytime he would like to meet up that you would be happy to travel and meet halfway.

grannygranby Fri 17-May-19 10:19:22

Dear debohunXL5
That is awful. My pennorth would be to keep on contacting your grandchildren. Not him. Through whatever channels there are,send cards and gifts; on birthdays, sometimes random, cards from your holidays, Hoping some will get through and the regularity will bear fruit as they get older and they might respond. Don’t forget to send e-mail addresses. Don’t give up hope. You are their mothers mother and very important to them. Keep throwing out the seeds. I know my children remember every contact their grans made, and their aunts and those they didn’t make! You owe nothing to him only to them. Good luck, be positive. It seems incredible that your daughter could have her desire to be ‘scattered’ near you honoured but has no rights after death for you to have a relationship with her children. For her don’t give up the fight. Patience and consistency may win the day thanks

Fightforrights Fri 17-May-19 10:20:08

As I am going through the loss of my husband and conflict with his family.
I understand and feel such sadness that you have been placed in that situation . As a grandmother myself I would be devastated if I lost contact with my grandchild. I feel for you.
I understand also that you probably
dont know which way to turn in case its the wrong way.
I also understand the terrible strain and suffering a situation such as you are in can place on ones health.
The situation that I am in through no fault of my own is certainly causing
strain on health.
I do hope that for you and for me too that it all gets resolved amicably.