Question: Dear Luise: My son passed away January 19th, 2010 from a routine heart procedure that the dr called “textbook surgery”, but after the surgery he said he was in “unchartered waters”. He was 34 years old. Me and my family was treated so badly after this dr performed a botched surgery, its hard to even describe what we went thru for 14 days sitting by my sons bed at the hospital. It was truly humanity at its worst. My days are unbearable I miss him so much. He has 2 little girls ages 1 and 3. Since this horrible tragedy my sons wife is not letting us see the children or want even have contact with us. I call and leave messages, but she will not respond. I know mother in laws can get a bad name, but I treated her like a daughter. We think she is getting poor advice from some people. We love these grandchildren dearly and don’t know what to do. In our state there are no Grandparents rights. We do not want the Grandchildren used to punish us for whatever she thinks it is we have done. We feel hopeless and helpless. B.
Answer: Dear B.: What a heartbreaking situation. Those children are all you have left of your son. I would see an attorney to be absolutely sure you have no recourse. I would also like you to come over to my Web-forum at www.WiseWomenUnite.com to see if anyone there might have a suggestion. It’s a very supportive community.
My eldest son died of a sleep apnea induced stroke when he was 52. 11 days later I got a horrible hate letter from his widow, calling me evil and blaming me for every problem he had ever had. I was stunned and pretty much flattened, but in a few days I responded, thinking she was in such terrible grief that she didn’t know what she was doing. That brought a second letter that made the first one sound like a love note. Up until his death, she had been shy but friendly. She was his second wife and not the mother of my grandsons…who were, by that time, grown…so, I did not have to face what you are up against. However, I have known the loss and the hate.
I don’t think there is anything you can do if she is going to deprive you of your family, unless you can somehow appeal to her parents for the consideration due you. That’s what your grandchildren are, part of your family, not just hers.
If you have to accept this and go on because there is no other choice, counseling might help you. You will need to create a new life and start over in many ways. You were a whole person before you became a mother and grandmother…you can be whole again but it’s going to be a long, tough haul. You deserve so much better. Blessings, Luise