It is now over 8 years since I spoke to my son, his wife or my two grandchildren.
It was on my 70th birthday (2 January, 2002) that my then 44 year old son, for reasons unknown, decided to divorce himself from all but his wife and children. Since that day he has not spoken to me, his step-father, his sister and her family or even his own father.
Why did this happen? My daughter, with my husband's co-operation, had planned an afternoon tea celebration at a lovely venue near Bibra Lake to celebrate my 70th birthday. Not long before this my son and his wife had moved into a large house they had built on a 5 acre block south of Perth. We knew they had a lot of expense at the time so my daughter, in her widsom, thought not to ask her brother to contribute towards this party.
Some beautiful invitations were sent out, one of which was sent to my son. Everyone invited replied either in the affirmative or negative but there was no response from my son. My daughter did telephone his home and leave a message with his daughter asking if they would be coming to the afternoon tea as the caterers needed to know final numbers. No response was forthcoming.
For many years my daughter has always taken a days leave from her job on 2 January and we always have lunch together. As it happened on 2/1/2002 she had just arrived at our home when the phone rang and it was my son to wish me a happy birthday (or I think that was the reason for the call). Some strange events then took place. He asked what we would be doing and I told him we would be going to lunch but did not mention who with. Unknown to myself my son was working at home that day and, had I known, I would have asked him to join us for lunch.
My daughter then rang her home and her own son said that her brother (my son) had phoned to ask where his sister was and of course was told she had "gone to Grandma's place". I then received a second call from my son and he made unpleasant remarks about the afternoon tea that was planned for the following Sunday and asked why it couldn't just have been for a few beers and some chips and were he and his family expected to attend "to be put on show". I explained that many of the folk attending were elderly and that an afternoon tea was far more suitable for all of us and also that they were known to he and his family so what was his problem.
A few more words were exchanged and then the statement was made by my son "I'll let you and ........(my daughter) get on organising the rest of our lives" and he hung up. That was the last I ever heard from him.
None of us can put a finger on what the real problem is although we are wondering if in his mind he suddenly came up with the fact that his father and I divorced when he (my son) was nearly 12 years of age and that this event had destroyed his life. This is far from the truth as his step-father (my OH) was very good to him and, in fact my son one day said "that I wouldn't have got as far as I have today if it hadn't been for .... (his step-father). I also know that on occasions when he had approached his own father for assistance he had been knocked back whereas we had, without hesitation, helped him in a small way a couple of times.
Fortunately I have been able to keep track to a small degree with how my son's family are doing and through Facebook have also been able to find out a little of how my now 23 year old granddaughter is doing.
If my son had died I would have grieved for him and had closure but, although he is alive and hopefully well, I still feel grief that I have not seen him for over 8 years, nor his wife or my two grandchildren both of whom were only children when I last had contact with them. I missed all their teenage years when they were growing up.
I know there are disfunctional families who face a similar dilemma and I wonder how they go about dealing with it. I tell people it no longer affects me but deep in my heart I feel a great loss, a loss I will carry with me until the day I die.
I did actually have several visits with a very good psychologist several years ago because of the way this problem with my son weighed on my mind. She helped me a great deal and we composed a letter to him which at that time was not sent. I did write to him in length some time later but received no response. Birthday and Christmas have always been remembered by us especially the 18th and 21st birthdays of the grandchildren and even they have never responded that gifts had been received.
I do not know what my son has told his children about their grandmother and perhaps they were forbidden to make contact with me or perhaps it didn't matter all that much to them. I suppose I am not likely to ever find the answer to that question either.
We do receive Christmas and birthday cards along with Mother's and Father's Day cards but they are sent by our daughter-in-law but whether my son knows about this I cannot say. It has been good that she has at least kept that link going but it is just not the same as seeing them occasionally.
I wonder if there is anyone that has the answer to this problem.....what would you do in similar circumstances?