November 23, 2015
Dear Auntie Linda, Robert and I divorced when our kids were two and three and he left me for a doctor in his medical practice. We shared joint custody till two years ago, when I went out of town on vacation. He moved across the country to his old home town where his father is a judge and his brother a family practice lawyer. Filing for custody there on grounds of abuse since the three-year-old sustained a broken arm while in my care. Joey had fallen off the swing at daycare. They called me and I took him to the ER. The move and custody action were a done deal by the time I found out. I ended up with only supervised visitation. I’ve been able to meet them at the park twice and his grandmother invited me to visit them at her house the last two visits, since she genuinely loves the children and feels they need a relationship with me. She holds the family purse strings and Robert dares not oppose her.
Since this happened, I worry about losing my relationship with the children, since I can’t afford the travel expense more than twice a year. The expense is a challenge for me on a teacher’s salary. Joey still remembers me, but Susie doesn’t remember living with me, since she was so little. I am just the Mommy who visits at Grandma’s house and brings presents. I applied for a teaching position there, thinking I could see the children more often, but Robert got word of it and blocked me through friends at the schoolboard.
I feel hopeless, but Robert’s grandmother does allow me to send the children gifts and cards to her home. She allows me to visit with them by phone and video. What can I do to unravel this mess when I am buffaloed by a powerful family? Cut Out of Children’s Lives
Dear Cut Out, In view of this situation, there may not be a lot you can do. Thank goodness, Grandma wants to children to have a relationship with you. Hang in there. Keep visiting as often as possible. Children want and need both parents. One day, the situation will turn around, especially if the children ask after you. Hopefully, their father will bow to their requests when they can express themselves. Good luck. Auntie Linda
Dear Auntie Linda, My son teenage son died three years ago. In addition to the grieving, I have become isolated. People seem to think death is contagious. Many of my friends change the subject if I bring his name up in conversation. It’s not like I dwell on my loss when I am in a group, but if friends are touching on a topic that relates to him, I would like to be able to mention him in passing, such as passing on a funny story. Just because he died, doesn’t mean he never existed. Please pass on to your readers that they shouldn’t avoid people who have suffered a loss. You don’t have to duck around to keep from saying the wrong thing. You don’t have to say anything. A kind look or a warm hug means the world. I know you are sorry for my loss. Just don’t cut me out because your are uncomfortable. If you want to talk about their lost family, just ask if it makes them uncomfortable. They might be grateful. Let them drive the conversation and just listen. Miss My Boy
Dear Miss, You have given some good advice that could help a lot of people. I’ll bet your boy was something special. Auntie Linda
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