Gransnet forums


Advice please.

(35 Posts)
debohunXL5 Sun 20-Jan-19 14:56:01

I will try to be brief to give some background. My daughter aged 37 died in April 2017 leaving her husband and two children aged 7 and 5. We have not had any contact or spoken to our grandchildren since Sept 23rd 2017. Gifts sent have been rejected or sent back unopened, even greeting cards. We were very much involved with our GCs from their birth up until my DD passed. SIL suddenly decided we were not to be involved in their lives anymore and moved 3 hours away. We had only two afternoons with them one in August 2017 and again in September 2017. He made excuses in October and November and then told my other daughter that we will never see our GCs again. It has now been 17 months since we last saw or heard anything from them. Apparently he moved April 2018 and changed contact number. He has cut off all our side of the family now. My question is would it be wrong to contact their school to ask how they are, Whether they are happy healthy and enjoying school life. We are beside ourselves with worry. He has had spells of depression over the years and also can drink excessively. We are both heartbroken and each day that passes continues to cause us so much pain. I never knew I could hate someone so much and my hatred of son-in- law intensifies as time passes. I just wondered if legally the Head teacher could just reassure us that they are doing well and that there are no concerns. My husband thinks I should leave well alone because the head may be obliged to tell him we have been in contact and therefore he may take them out of their school which after looking on their website appears to be a very good school. Your advice would be welcome,

jusnoneed Sun 20-Jan-19 15:08:05

How sad for you. Do you have any idea why he has done this?
I don't think the school will be able to tell you anything about the children, data protection means it is very difficult to get any information.
I think your hubby is probably right, you could stir up more problems.

BBbevan Sun 20-Jan-19 15:08:22

Do you have any idea why your SiL has done this?

Newmom101 Sun 20-Jan-19 15:11:56

This must be a very difficult situation for you, and I can understand why you would want to call the school. However the school would not be able to tell you anything. I work in a school and if anyone called up asking questions I would not be able to answer unless it was a parent, for safeguarding purposes.

From the schools perspective you could be anyone, even if you say you're a grandparent. They also don't know if there's a reason that your SIL is stopping you from seeing the children (like abuse) so they wouldn't leaglly be able to tell you anything.

If you are concerned about the childrens wellbeing then a police welfare check (they can be done anonymously) childrens services would be the best option.

Failing that, you could contact the courts and apply for contact with your grandchildren (well apply to apply for contact, it's a complex process) or begin the process of mediation to establish contact (even just letter contact would be some progress at this point).

aggie Sun 20-Jan-19 15:14:06

I would be so tempted to ask the school , but I am afraid it would be illadvised , your poor grandchildren must be so confused .
SIL must be suffering too , how sad that he is cutting himself and the children off from the help you could give .
were the relations with him ok before the sad death of your daughter ?

Grammaretto Sun 20-Jan-19 15:26:07

Without knowing more of the circumstances surrounding your DD's death it's hard to offer advice.
I can offer condolences. It must be very hard to lose a daughter. I can't imagine anything worse.
I hope you find a way of reconciling your SiL.
It sounds as though he is suffering too.
People sometimes lash out and do nasty things when they are hurt - like animals.
Can you get some bereavement counselling?

BlueBelle Sun 20-Jan-19 15:32:59

Oh my goodness what a sad story not only losing your precious daughter but your grandkids as well how absolutely heartbreaking
What was you relationship like with your son in law before your daughter died? what are his side of the family like.?
I think your husband is right about not rocking the boat at the school
I would suggest you put cards letters presents into a box each for them and if the very worst happens and you don’t get contact you can try and find them when they are older and show then how much you cared and never forgot them maybe a bank account too
Poor little souls losing there mum and you both whatever is wrong with the father you would think he’d take all the help he could get

M0nica Sun 20-Jan-19 15:33:09

Sadly, you can do nothing. The children are with their father who has sole and exclusive responsibility for them and can make any decisions he wants, within the bounds of legality, about who they keep in contact with and who they don't.

He must be devastated by the loss of his wife and want to put anything associated with her out of his mind. He may feel, rightly or wrongly that his children are better not being constantly being reminded of their mother in the way contact with her family would constantly remind them. But this could change and if you have not tried to force contact on him, he may in time make contact with you.

All you can do is hope that at sometime he changes his mind. At 5 and 7 your grand daughters will not forget you and in a few years, they may want to make contact with you and try to do so. Even parents find it difficult to keep up with everything their children do online.

When they reach 18 and are of age, you will be able to search for them online yourself.

But at the moment there is nothing you can do.

Gonegirl Sun 20-Jan-19 15:42:16

There is some helpful information here

I would think consulting a solicitor would be a good first step.

Gonegirl Sun 20-Jan-19 15:48:56

There is a Gransnet article here

debohunXL5 Sun 20-Jan-19 16:04:11

Thank you everyone. Jusnoneed Yes I do know, or I suspect the reason. In January 2017 when my daughter was desperately ill and dying I confronted him about his behaviour and treatment of her. When she was first diagnosed with C in September 2016 we were told it was terminal and chemo would have little chance of success. My daughter gave SIL the option to leave if he could not cope with the situation. He decided to stay. On one of the Oncology appointments we had such bad news and I said to my son-in-law please look after my daughter and he assured me he would. I know living with someone with cancer can be awful and with two young children doubly so. I had expected my daughter to say that he was being so good, looking after the children so that she could rest etc., Instead she was crying about his behaviour towards her, How he was leaving the children with her and she couldn't cope. How he was being awkward at every turn. Not passing on messages from the CCU that she had infections and what to do about it. I work full time but tried to help out as much as I could. DH is disabled so could offer little help other than driving DD to hospital on numerous occasions when Temp was high. One day he dropped her off at our house for me to accompany her for her chemo session and she sobbed her heart out for the whole journey to hospital and could only tell me the problem once at CCU. It was his nasty behaviour yet again. To be honest we had tried to keep out of their problems but enough was enough I told my daughter that if an opportunity arose I would try to discuss things with him to see how else we could help. This came in january after I had taken GS to get some new school shoes and we were alone in the kitchen. He just stood and shook his head and then started shouting at me barged into the lounge and told the GC to get their shoes on. Both started crying. We did make up for my daughter's sake but he obviously did not like me challenging him. After my daughter passed a couple of months later which she spent mostly in hospital he then would not communicate with me at all. Wrote me nasty letters which I did not respond to and only let me see the children on those two afternoons with the proviso that I didn't speak to him. We thought about the Court route and mediation but the costs are too great and besides this my husband is in ill health and to deal with all this and with SIL would probably finish him off and I cannot lose him. He is my rock. SIL would make things as difficult and as awkward as possible. Plus because of his mental state I dont want to push him over the edge because he is sole carer for my grandchildren and I am sure in later years they wouldn't thank me. DD wouldn't leave him because she was scared of what he might do to himself and maybe Children. We just want to know they are ok.

MissAdventure Sun 20-Jan-19 16:08:33

Debohun again, I'm so sorry, but have no advice.
Such a sad time you've had and are still having.. flowers

Grammaretto Sun 20-Jan-19 16:15:42

Thanks for sharing this difficult background story.
The children probably are all right. I would hope that as they are at a good school ( your words) who know the circumstances, anything untoward would be picked up. Unless I am very naiive.
Does SiL have any family? Would it be possible to approach him via his parents or siblings after all, we on here understand your suffering so presumably others will too.

debohunXL5 Sun 20-Jan-19 16:19:52

Thanks Gonegirl I will look at these sites.Newmom101 Surely if I am only asking for their wellbeing it would be ok. I am not asking for an address or phone number. Supposing they are concerned about their welfare will they take action? I know in an deal world they would but there are hundreds of children at school they may miss something. There have been other cases where things have been missed. SIL's family are all drinkers. My daughter used to worry so much when he took them to see them. When they visited they never played with the children and on one occasion ignored GS when he fell off park apparatus and was crying. They just walked by. I am just so worried for them. He has written via Solicitor to tell us not to contact him direct. How can we do that anyway when we do not know where he lives. What is also heartbreaking is that he still has my daughter;s ashes in his possession. She would hate to be there and before any one says she would want to be with her children she wouldn't want them to be there either.

debohunXL5 Sun 20-Jan-19 16:26:03

I think why this is playing on my mind is that when DD was first diagnosed she pleaded with me to look after her children and said this on many occasions. She had no faith that SIL would look after them properly as he had little to do with them and would ignore them most of the time. I cannot sleep and things go over and over in my head. Like one other GN I have contemplated suicide to end this turmoil and be with my DD. The only thing stopping me is that my husband needs me and so do my other C and GC. Doctors wont give me any sleeping tablets. I am still working full time and am torn between working and staying at home to look after my husband as his health has taken a dive recently.

BlueBelle Sun 20-Jan-19 16:27:22

Oh dear this gets worse the more you write I don’t have any positive advice for you but can you connect with a support group for this kind of thing it may be you get support and help from others In a similar situation
I think I would find the money to see a solicitor even if it’s only to log the details you have given and to give letters and or money for the children if anything were to happen to either of you
It sounds an awful situations and so worrying if the other grandparents aren’t nice people has he moved near them ?

debohunXL5 Sun 20-Jan-19 16:35:06

Grammaretto I sent GC easter cards to SIL's family address as they now live in same area and would be seeing them, with some money inside. They wrote back to me to tell me not to send any correspondence to their address for SIL and GC. They obviously condone his decision to not letting us have access. Why are they not thinking of the children. SIL was happy for us to have them one day a week every week, have them for sleepovers and take them on holiday with us. We are good loving GPs and have helped them enormously with child care. I took time off work when my daughter was near the end so that he could have precious time with her and I looked after the GC. It was a very difficult time and with hindsight I wish I had spent more time with my dying daughter. Sorry to keep on I am just so frustrated.

debohunXL5 Sun 20-Jan-19 16:49:58

BlueBelle, thank you. Yes he has moved near them. He moved in with them until he found a place to rent. He pulled the children out of school in my area two weeks before end of summer term. GD missed her first sports day. I go to Compassionate friends and draw strength from them but they also have such sad stories to tell. It can be heartbreaking to here them. I haven't as yet found anyone with the same story as me though. We have looked into how much it would cost and the complexity of it all and have sought advice from others and most people have said to not go down the court route. Seeing as my husband is in such ill health at the moment I just dont think either of us are in the right place or have the strength to fight him. I do not want to say what he does for a living but he is in a good position to make things very difficult for us and he has my daughter's insurance money to do it. If he has anything left of course. He was never good with money and was in debt up to his eyeballs when my daughter passed.

maddyone Sun 20-Jan-19 17:10:18

This is one of the saddest stories I have ever heard. I feel so much for you deb. You have lost your beloved daughter and now you’re losing your beloved grandchildren. To be honest, it’s not an easy route, but I think I would contact either, or both, NSPCC and Social Services. Social Services could visit the family, given that their mother has recently died, to see if the family need any ‘help’ or ‘support’ but I’m not sure they’d give you any feedback on how the children are even if they did visit. The regular drinking should concern SS though.
I cannot express how sad I feel for you, your husband, and your poor grandchildren who have lost both their mother and grandparents. I’m so sorry to be so little help.

agnurse Sun 20-Jan-19 17:18:59

I'm sorry about the loss of your daughter. As for your SIL, no, you can't ask the school for details. That's confidential. It's also unreasonable to ask SIL's family to be a go-between. If you have no information that the children are being abused, I wouldn't go to SS either. The most you can do is wait and attempt to contact the children when they are of age.

Gonegirl Sun 20-Jan-19 17:19:15

I'm sorry, I didn't say how sad this is, or how much I feel for you. I just wanted to get some information to you. I hope all this resolves itself soon. Love to you. flowers

maddyone Sun 20-Jan-19 17:44:56

Another sympathetic response from agnurse I see.

If you do nothing else deb, try to get some help and support for yourself. Maybe you would find bereavement councelling helpful, or a group for estranged grandparents.

flowers for you deb.

sodapop Sun 20-Jan-19 17:48:48

That is all so hard debohun I can't begin to understand how you must be feeling.
You are in danger of being overwhelmed by all your problems, try taking one step at a time, could you reduce your working hours so you can be with your husband more ?
I would invest in some legal advice from a specialist in this area and see where you stand.
Grammaretto had some good advice, could you talk to anyone in your son in law's family. Keep contact with your grandchildren in whatever way you can. Don't give up, you never know when things may change and you will need to be there for the children

Grammaretto Sun 20-Jan-19 17:52:32

debohunXL5 l know others are saying you should leave this alone but in your situation, I don't think I'd be able to do nothing.
I would try citizen's advice first of all. They can give you access to legal advice and also counselling.
It sounds as if keeping you away from those children, when your daughter specifically begged you to care for them, amounts to cruelty.

Telly Sun 20-Jan-19 18:01:33

This is a terrible situation to be in. The only advice I can offer is that you re visit your GP and ask for some counselling service. There is always hope that one day your GC will knock on your door and you do need to be around. The school would not be able to give you any confidential infomation regarding your GC. It is very difficult to see what can be done apart from taking legal advice. You do mention the problems but really this is the only way forward in this instance if you want to get some sort of contact before the GC reach maturity.In the meantime get some help for yourself so that you can cope with this extremely difficult situation.