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Broken Hearts

Question

My husband and I (mostly me) have raised our granddaughter from birth (she is almost 3-1/2 years old).  We have given her unconditional love, peace, laughter, guidance, and knowledge. 

We (my husband and I) quit our jobs and sold our home in the west to move to the east coast so that I could be with my granddaughter after she was born in order to save our daughter and son-in-law a great deal of money for child care, and give my husband and I a chance to get to know our two grandsons which we saw so very little of since they were small.

Living with my daughter, her husband, three grandchildren and his invalid mother was a challenge, as I was at their house for at least 14 hours a day (5 to 6 days a week), cleaning, doing laundry, cooking, taking care of his mother’s needs, my granddaughter’s needs and my grandsons’ needs (ages 10 and 8 (now 13 and 11)).  We rennovated a 4 car garage that was on their property (used up our retirement money) and turned it into a small home for ourselves.  Over the pasted three years, I raised my granddaughter while my husband, daughter and son-in-law worked.  Then over a year ago, my husband lost his job.  (Incidentally, my daughter and son-in-law charged us $700 a month to live in the house that we rennovated, and I didn’t get paid a single cent to take care of their house, children and his mother.)

I began finding out nightmarish things about my son-in-law.  My daughter and her husband made his mother leave the house because she was too high maintenance and an “evil witch”.  Everything seemed to escalate amongst all of us, but our concern was and is for the children.  Then, one day, literally out of nowhere, they announced they were getting a divorce, and he was foreclosing on the property and filing bankruptcy (the property and house was in his name, not my daughter’s), and that everybody had to find another place to live.  My daughter said she was moving to a town closer to work and that he would stay in the house until the bank foreclosed.  My son-in-law said he was getting custody of the children.  My daughter said that the kids were going to live with her, that he was just going to put that on paper about the custody.  My husband and I thought we were in the Twilight Zone!  I told my daughter that my concerns about her husband being unstable.  Everything I confided in my daughter about my concerns about her husband all came back to haunt me and continues to haunt me to this day.

After my husband and I moved to the midwest (we’re living with my sister until I find employment) my husband could not find a job so he was forced into early retirement at the age 62.  I am searching for a job (I’m 57) so that we can rent an apartment, and I haven’t been in the work place in over three years.

After we moved to the midwest, a week later my daughter moved to her new apartment closer to her employment.  I talked to my daughter and the kids once after she moved out of the house with the kids, and everything seemed okay.  I asked her for her new address, but she said she’d give it to me the next time because she hadn’t memorized it yet.  I called again about a week later and asked her to call.  When she didn’t call, I tried calling her and left several messages on her phone.  I didn’t hear from her in two weeks, and I was so worried that something had happened, so I emailed my daughter and asked if her husband went crazy again.  I said I was worried about her and the kids, please call me.  She didn’t call, but I received a nasty email from her (or it could have been from him — he’s an extremely controlling individual and has access to her emails).  It stated that we needed a serious time out from our relationships.  She did not want to hear from us and she would email or call us when she felt it was necessary to return to a relationship.

My husband and I are heart broken.  I wonder what my granddaughter thinks.  We just vanished from her life.  I don’t know where they moved to, my daughter was going to give me her new address, and I never got it.  It’s been several months with no word.  My husband and I continue to worry.  I still cry at night.  I miss the grandkids.  I won’t send her another email, because I know her husband has access to her emails.  I have her blackberry telephone number, because I’ll just have to leave a message and will receive no phone call back.

How do we recover from something like this?  How do I get our relationship back on track especially with the grandchildren?  We’re devastated.  Thanks for listening, Lissa.

 

Answer

This is obviously a very complicated and intense situation.  You need someone to advocate for you.  I think you should get an attorney.  As a grandparent, you have rights.  And you have good reason to believe that your daughter may be in danger.  So I would start there. An attorney will be able to give you bettter advice because he or she will know the law, and know what steps to take. 

But I would definitely get someone on your side, and soon.  The more time that goes by the more problems that may arise.

I don’t think you can ignore this, and I don’t think you can get over it.  You have too many unanswered questions, and the children really do need you in their lives.  You have to resolve this somehow.  Maybe social services can direct you to the appropriate department, or recommend someone for you to speak with.  

This is a tough situation and I feel for you.  My instinct tells me you need to take action.

Good luck.  And please let me know what happens.

Lots of love,

Lissa