As a good mother, you can never truly say goodbye to your estranged adult child, but you can shift your focus to yourself and your life’s passions in order to live your best life possible. That is what I have done, and though my heart aches, I no longer dwell on what I cannot change.
If you know someone who is experiencing estrangement from an adult child, please share this story with them. They are not alone.
The Pain of Estrangement: 8 Years and Counting
As I have written, I am a mother and grandmother who is estranged from her entire family. One daughter led the charge, and due to mother-child loyalty, the others followed. It is going on the 8th year, and like you, who are estranged from your family, I have suffered unimaginable grief.
I was a good mother. Do I have regrets? Sure. But they pale in comparison to the actions of my daughters that are being seen through the eyes of my grandchildren.
I Love My Children and I Know They Love Me
I know my daughters, to this day, respect me and, in their hearts, love me. To this day, I can’t imagine what led one daughter to act as she did. With no conversation about her displeasure with my actions, she wrote behind my back an email to many members of my family expressing her disapproval with my musings on Honey Good, putting my husband, my ultimate concierge first, my role as her mother, and my role as a grandmother. Obviously, I did not live up to her standards. I bothered her.
She loves to be in the kitchen. I did that as a mother raising my children. As an older woman and grandmother, I preferred taking my grandchildren out for lunch or dinner to interesting places. I don’t care to babysit at night.
I preferred taking them to an interesting movie and then out for pizza to discuss the movie. Or going to the freshwater fish store and buying them a tank and freshwater fish we would choose together and give them names. I am an Auntie Mame type of grandmother. Is that a crime? Obviously, in her mind, it is. Obviously, in my mind, it isn’t.
Motherhood, Remarriage, and the “Camel’s Back” Story
Unfortunately, their father passed away at 46 years old. I did not kill him. I remarried my ultimate concierge, and that did not suit my family. Was I not entitled to marry a man of my liking after their father passed away? Obviously, that did not suit their fancy. They preferred a man like their father. Is that a crime to stop talking to a mother? Obviously, in their mind, it is. Obviously, in my mind, it is not.
My daughter disliked my musings. The story that broke the camel’s back was titled “Women Should Empower Each Other.” I wrote about the importance of women complimenting each other. You can read it if you want to. Personally, I think it is a story that has merit. She felt it did not.
All in all, I know I bother her. She does not want me present in her family’s life. She wants me in the background. Out of sight. Out of mind. One day, this will come back to haunt her.
My other daughter is in and out of my life. She has been out of my life for two years. I know she is not happy with the situation.
What Led to Estrangement?
I am giving you my opinions of the whys. I am not certain if they are accurate or if there are more. It is my theory. It is not written in stone. When there is no communication between a good mother and her estranged child(ren) there is not a perfect assessment.
I look back on the years I have lost touch with my grandchildren. We know as good mothers and grandmothers that a good mother is a better grandmother because as we grow older, we grow wiser.
Every child needs their grandmother. I know. I adored my grandmothers and, to this day, carry their teachings in my head and heart. I cringe with sadness at what both daughters have created in their households. And for the longest time, I asked myself, why? How do these situations happen?
This is my answer.
“Without communication during times of conflict, there will never be reconciliation. This problem lays at the doorstep of the estranged adult children, not the good mother: Estranged children do not talk.”
Choosing Acceptance and Moving Forward
Therefore, dear good mothers and grandmothers, the path before us may seem desolate, a stark choice between sinking into despair or swimming towards acceptance. I confess, I sank for a while, navigating the churning waters of disbelief, anger, and grief before finally reaching the shores of acceptance. But remember, this journey is yours, and while mine may offer guidance, it’s not a map you must follow precisely.
Years melted away as I lived in the grip of sadness, tears my nightly companions. Yet, even in the labyrinth of grief, a path to acceptance revealed itself. One day, with renewed spirit and unwavering determination, I declared, “No one, not even my child, has the power to steal my happiness. I will swim like the dolphins, free and joyful!”
Riding the Waves of Acceptance
Before embracing the open seas of acceptance, remember that a personal mourning process is essential. Allow yourself to feel the waves of grief, anger, and disbelief wash over you. Acknowledge them, then let them go.
Once you’ve navigated the storm, commit, as I did, to crafting a life brimming with joy and purpose. Authenticity is your compass, guiding you towards choices that resonate with your true self. Ask yourself:
- What ignites my spark of joy?
- What casts shadows over my heart?
- Who drains my energy, and who lifts me up?
- What actions align with my deepest desires and values?
Let these answers be your north star, guiding you towards a life that truly nourishes your soul.
Embracing Transformation: From Darkness to Sunshine
My journey began in the depths of grief, years spent navigating the murky waters of mourning until acceptance finally embraced me. Then, one day, I donned my armor of self-love: vibrant red lipstick, a cloud of Baccarat 540, and a gentle hug for myself. Gazing into the mirror, I declared, “I did my best, and no one, not even my child, will dim my light or belittle me ever again!”
The door to reconciliation remains open, but the choice lies with them. Their loss, perhaps, outweighs mine. Remember, dear mothers, every child needs their mother’s love, a bond that enriches their lives.
Riding the Storm Towards Sunshine
Estrangement casts a dark shadow, but even the heaviest storm eventually surrenders to the sun. After weathering the tempest, what awaits but radiant sunshine, good mothers? Sunshine!
Remember, transformation is a dance, not a straight line. It takes time, energy, and even stumbles. Two steps forward, three steps back – that’s the natural rhythm. I call it “daydreaming into personal renewed growth.”
Embracing your reality will bring peace, a surge of “positive energy” washing over you. Your body will relax, your heart will beat to a different rhythm. You’ve faced the truth, good mother, and that empowers you to take the next step. You cannot change the past, but the future brims with fresh passions waiting to be explored.
Thriving Beyond Survival
Remember, this journey is uniquely yours. My transformation involved accepting reality, leaving the door open for reconciliation, and focusing on my own well-being. Take what resonates, leave what doesn’t, and chart your own course towards a fulfilling life.
The choice is yours, dear mothers and grandmothers. Will you be swept away by the current of sorrow, or will you emerge, like the dolphin, graceful and strong, ready to dance on the waves of your own happiness? The ocean awaits. May you find calm waters and boundless joy in your journey.
You will not just survive, you will thrive. Like the playful dolphin, I navigate life’s currents with my “baggage,” but it no longer weighs me down. No one, not even a child, can extinguish your inner light. Remember, you are a good mother, and so am I. Let us reclaim our lives, filled with joy, purpose, and the roar of a fulfilling future. Amen.
If you, too, have faced estrangement, please share with me in the comments below. It helps us to know we are not alone.
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