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As a woman who has lived through many passages and learned through my larger than life experiences (positive and negative), I’ve discovered how to take a big empowering bite out of life.

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Are You Denied Access to Your Grandchildren?

 

Once a month I am very fortunate to be one of several women bloggers who participate in a conference call. We discuss a multitude of topics. I look forward to the exchange.

On last week’s call, I was struck by a topic brought up by one of our members, Donne, who is the owner of GaGaSisterhood.com.

The title of a story she posted, written by another writer, was: Are you denied access to your grandchildren? I was truly shocked at the enormous response Donne received from grandmother’s suffering and grieving because they are not allowed access to their Grands. I asked Donne if I could share the story with you.

My purpose is to let you know you are not alone.

Please share with me and our community of grandmothers.

Warmly, Honey

By: Donne Davis

If you can hug your grandchild or speak to him whenever you want, consider yourself blessed. Sadly, many grandparents are denied access to their grandchildren. Author Pat Hanson calls these heartbroken grandparents “Invisible Grandparents” and writes about them in her book Invisible Grandparenting: Leave a Legacy of Love Whether You Can Be There or Not.

Hanson writes from personal experience because she herself has been denied access to her two grandchildren for over a decade. She describes her heartbreaking journey with such gut-wrenching honesty that it’s almost too painful to read. Yet, her story is inspiring as she shares how she has learned to live with the loss and transform negative energy to forgiveness. Her book is a valuable tool for helping other grandparents cope with their loss.

The Pain of Invisible Grandparenting

She writes poignantly about recovering emotionally and spiritually from the separatio she has endured by truly feeling the pain and loss but not spiraling down into the helplessness of depression. Writing letters for over four years as an invisible grandparent to the grandchildren she doesn’t get to see has enabled her to get over her resentment and guilt. As she writes, “I may be invisible but I can still have a voice.”

Hanson begins her story by sharing that her 17-year old firstborn son gets his 16-year old “first ever real girlfriend” pregnant, despite Hanson being a lifelong sex educator. Her son is too afraid to stick around and moves away only to make the same mistake two years later with a different girlfriend.

This second girlfriend, who initially allowed Hanson to spend time with her grandson, was the one who suggested Hanson write letters to the first grandchild, bundle them and save them for the day when she might finally meet her. She found the process incredibly therapeutic and helped her to get over the past hurts.

She developed two categories of letters: “Save and Share Someday” and “Said but Never Send.” One chapter of her book titled “Legacy of Letters and Life Lessons,” includes the poignant letters to her grandchildren that she hopes to share with them someday. By including these examples, she hopes to encourage other invisible grandparents to do the same so that they can rise above the “stories,” attempt to let go of bitterness, and leave a legacy for the children who will outlive and outlast them.

Suggestions for Writing Letters

On her website, Hanson offers writing prompts and suggestions to keep in mind to help you write your own letters:

  • There is no one-way to write.
  • We are not grading these letters.
  • Put words on the page as quickly as possible without censoring yourself.
  • Say what you mean.
  • Envision or name the child even if you are a completely invisible grandparent.
  • Vision a positive intention for the future of that child.
  • Remember there is no formula for this process.

Coping with Loss

The final and most inspiring chapter of Hanson’s book is about healing. She encourages grandparents to share their story and feelings with their therapist, close friends and family. Hanson explains that she was a hospice bereavement volunteer for five years but nothing prepared her for the pain and grief that she felt from being kept from seeing her granddaughter. She lists some steps to go through to help cope with the loss:

  • Become fully aware of what is going on.
  • Make a list of what your grandchildren miss by not having you in their lives.
  • Find something to be grateful for each day.
  • Forgive yourself for whatever mistake you might have made in contributing to the situation.
  • Grandmother yourself: whisper things in your own ear that only a grandmother who unconditionally loves you could.

Hanson ends her book with the hope that by sharing the often-dark decade of her life she may help others find the light in their own lives.

Are you alienated from your Grandchildren? How do you deal with the grief? Please share your thoughts on Twitter, FacebookPinterest, Instagram or in the comments section below.

 

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October 13, 2018

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  1. I am suffering with my daughter being dx with brain cancer the same day my son’s mother-in-law called and cussed me out. My children are my life. I raised them by myself. Maybe I entitled them as I had nothing growing up. My son, daughter and I were the three amigos.
    I have not seen my son in two years and just found out I am a grammy. I am losing my mind. I never in a million years believed this would be happening to my daughter and I. It is bad enough he turned his back on me but am mortified he was not by his sister’s side during her three year battle. She is in remission now. Thank you Dear Jesus. I go to bed crying and wake up crying. My counselor and psychiatrist cannot help me. I just ordered this book

    • Susan "Honey" Good says:

      My heart breaks for you. I am glad your daughter is in remission, thank goodness. Have you or your daughter tried to contact your son? Please write back to me and tell me if both of have made an effort to be with your son again. Also, why is he angry? If you were once the three Amigos, there was genuine love. Who broke it up. His wife? His mother? Something you did or said? I will be watching for your note. That is if you want to share with me. Warmly, Honey

  2. Lisa Haley says:

    Me too! I am am alienated grandmother. My heart breaks for anyone who has to deal with this, I know the pain. My daughter passed away without a will. He promised a lot but lied about it all. 4 years of living in grief for my daughter and my granddaughter. Wow! I thought their were very few of us because I couldn’t find many people to help locate information. Thanks

    • Honey Good says:

      Society is dealing with an epidemic in the field of adult children not speaking to their parents and grandparents. I hope you research and find a group in your area to help you. It is awful. I will keep my fingers crossed for you. Warmly, Honey

  3. Anne Martin says:

    My son is married to a malignant narcissist who is manipulative, controlling and highly deceitful. She has him fooled and convinced him that my husband and I are bad people. We have always been close to our son, and now they have told us they want no contact with us. It has been 8 months of not so much as a text or phone call, no visits, cards, or photos. We are missing our grandsons, who they are using as emotional blackmail. Since they have been together, most of the time we have had to walk on eggshells, and they have been making false accusations against us. Their counselor has tried to get us to admit to something we didn’t do, which we will not. We have heard from friends that our son’s wife is telling people she never wants to see us again. We are tired of the abuse, but we want to see our son and grandsons and at least be reconciled to him. He enables her narcissism, and she is abusive to him, too. We feel so defeated and are hurting by this betrayal. Our other three adult kids and their spouses, whom we all get along with, are supportive of us as parents and grandparents. We feel the longer our son refuses to have contact, the harder it will be to reconcile. We think his wife does not want to reconcile because she knows if our son found out how much she has been lying, he would see her for what she really is. She is holding all the cards, and he is letting her.

    • Honey Good says:

      You and your husband have done all that you can do. If you agree with what I said, you have two choices: “Accept” what you cannot change and go on with your lives enjoying your other children and grandchildren and your lives with your friends and one another or continue being frustrated, sad and angry. I know I sound harsh but I am truly being realistic. You have an adult son and daughter who do not want to be with you and your husband. They have made that clear. The ball is in their court to ‘come back into the family.’There is nothing you seem to be able to do. So don’t let them ruin your life. You are not alone. I have read up on this topic and know this sorry situation is epidemic in our country. Take care. Warmly, Honey

  4. Maureen Hunter says:

    Our situation is exactly the same as Anne’s, except our daughter has cut us off, for the 4th time. This is the norm in her husbands family. His sister cut off their father 20 years ago and cut off their mother 4 years ago. We keep getting 2nd chances to meet his unknown standard of “respect and cordiality”.

    • Susan Good says:

      Your daughter obviously wants you both in her life. Maybe she is caught between wanting you and pleasing her husband? Warmly, Honey

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