Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Daughter-in-Law is Denying Me Access to My Late Son’s Children”

I lost my son, “Henry,” in March of this year; he was just 18 years old. He was married and has a 16-month-old daughter and a son due this month. His wife, “Cecelia” and I never saw eye to eye. Henry had run away with her at 16 years old. He was struggling with an addiction, which was what finally took his life. I fought through the courts and CPS to try to get him help for a year and a half, and when Henry was 17-1/2 his father signed a marriage allowance to allow them be married. Game over at that point for me to try to help my son any further.

Cecelia kept putting him in a position of “it’s your mom or me.” She blocked all calls to his phone and wouldn’t even let him have a phone of his own. He was not allowed on social media either. He would create fake Facebook accounts just to be able to contact me. But he did keep contact with me, and I knew he was really struggling. This motherly fight of mine to help him damaged the relationship with his wife and her family, whom they lived with. During the week of my son’s memorial, I sat at their dining room table with Cecelia and her mother to go through some photos of Henry when he was young. Cecelia’s mother sent her on a walk just long enough for her to attack me verbally about having CPS involved in their lives, stating she could have lost her three children. I stormed out thinking how dare she bring up this situation at such a time — I had just lost my son! I didn’t even make it to Henry’s services that week as they cut me off from everything; as the law states: Since he was married, the wife calls all the shots. I was and am completely devastated and have been struggling with this grief.

My grandchildren are the only thing I have left of my son on this earth except the thousands of wonderful memories and photos.

I was there the day my granddaughter was born, and we had a short visit together on Christmas before Cecelia rushed them out. When Henry was alive, he would FaceTime me every three days and send photos, as I now live in a different state. Now… I get nothing. I’m told to stay out of my granddaughter’s life and Cecelia won’t even send photos. I understand that Cecelia is going through a lot right now. She’s lost her husband, is living at home with her parents, has one baby already, and is pregnant with another. I have tried contacting her several times. I tried setting up an hour at the park to see my granddaughter before I returned home to Florida, but I was denied. As the weeks have gone on, I have contacted her only one other time (via text) to see how she was feeling, and I got no response. The next thing I know, she is sending me a text stating she wants nothing to do with me and to stop harassing her.

Wendy, what should I do? The relationship with her is impossible while she is at home with her parents. I don’t want to upset her anymore or hurt her in any way emotionally, especially after the pain of losing Henry. But I want to be a part of my grandchildren’s lives. They are my son’s legacy, and it’s killing me not knowing how my granddaughter is doing since Daddy doesn’t come home anymore from work and how my daughter-in-law is feeling or what my grandson’s name is going to be. This is so painful for all. What can I do? — Grieving Grandmother

First, I am so sorry for your loss. Losing a child is every parent’s worst nightmare, and I can’t imagine the pain you’re going through, the frustration you have felt at not being able to get the help your son desperately needed, and now the immense grief compounded by being alienated from your grandchild/grandchildren. And while I don’t believe that time necessarily heals all wounds, I do think it softens the hardest parts of grief and makes the daily living without someone you miss a little more bearable. I think this will be true for you, and it will be true for Cecelia, and as her grief softens a little, there will be more potential, and hopefully more room in her heart, to allow you a place in your grandchildren’s lives.

For now, as hard as it is, I would maintain a sense of distance and quiet longing. Give Cecelia the space to grieve and to adjust to life as a single mother along with the transition of a second baby. There are markers during the year when it would be more appropriate for you to reach out — the children’s birthdays (even the month of, if you don’t know a specific date), Henry and Cecelia’s wedding anniversary, Christmas, Mother’s Day, the anniversary of Henry’s death. Spread throughout the year, these occasions give you the opportunity to be in touch every few months, with a card, a note, maybe a cash gift if you’re comfortable with that. Be careful not to ask for anything in these messages — not even an acknowledgment of receipt. You might even say in the first note that your only wish is that your grandchildren know they are loved and missed and thought of by you, so you will be sending occasional cards for them to remind them. Tell Cecelia that you are respecting her request that you not harass her and are asking for nothing at all in return except that she let you know if she ever needs anything for the kids.

And then you wait. Maybe it will be weeks, maybe it will be months, or maybe it will be longer than that, but I believe and I hope that if you take and continue down the road of stoic acceptance and you don’t push and you respect the cold boundary that Cecelia has placed under the influence of her mother and in her time of grief and overwhelming burden of sudden responsibility, you will eventually be rewarded with the gift you desire most: a relationship with your grandchildren.

In the meantime, be gentle and kind to yourself. If you haven’t yet, consider talking to a therapist to help your process your grief. Spend time doing things that bring you joy and with people you love who lift you up. Talk about your son a lot, do things that honor his memory, and forgive him, yourself, and anyone else who couldn’t stop the demons who took his life way too early.

***************

Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy​(AT)​dearwendy.com.

58 comments… add one
  • becboo84

    becboo84 May 3, 2018, 8:55 am

    My heart absolutely breaks for this LW, perhaps more so than for any other letter I’ve read on here. I love Wendy’s advice, and how compassionate this LW is being to her daughter in law, even though the daughter in law hasn’t returned any of that kindness.

    However, I’m really hopeful that an attorney will weigh in. I know the laws vary greatly by state, but every state has some type of grandparents visitation rights, and I actually worry that if the LW took Wendy’s advice and waited too long to establish the relationship, she could lose some of her leverage if she eventually wanted to go to court.

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    • Lucidity

      Lucidity May 3, 2018, 9:17 am

      I’m with you; my heart is breaking, but I worry that trying to go through the courts would just create more animosity. It sounds like Cecelia and/or her mother would perceive any kind of legal action as the grandmother trying to get custody. Even if she were able to get visitation rights, their anger might drive them to try to poison her grandchildren against her. Wendy is right that she should take this slowly, compassionately and try to foster goodwill.

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    • Monkeysmommy

      Monkeys mommy May 3, 2018, 3:29 pm

      I do not know if the rights are based on where the kids are or where OP files, but I live in Florida, and they are not recognized by this state. In my situation, I wanted to ensure they were not, but I know OP would want the opposite. I would consult with a lawyer for sure. I disagree with Wendy about DIL coming around. I think it is pretty unlikely. DIL, right or wrong, sees her as a meddling MIL that she can now cut off forever. There are entire subreddits dedicated to relationships like this, unfortunately.

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  • avatar

    csp May 3, 2018, 9:34 am

    LW – I am so sorry for your loss. I think Wendy’s advice is perfect. Right now everyone is devastated and pointing fingers. I can see that you were sitting helplessly from afar but Cecelia and her mother were trying to manage this day by day.
    I would try and spend this time grieving and trying to see the best in Cecelia and her mom. They may not be perfect people (far from it) but their actions might have had different motives. For example, did they not buy him a phone because they didn’t want him calling his dealer? If you want a relationship with these children, you need to build a relationship with the mother and her mother (who is footing the bill for all of it I am guessing). Take the time to heal and try to see the best in these people.

    I strongly urge against legal action. You already tried to use the legal system and it went very badly. You need to think about the long game and that might mean reaching out over years before getting to a place of coming together.

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  • avatar

    BakerBabe May 3, 2018, 9:37 am

    How cruel of your daughter in law and her mother! I’m sorry – I know they are going through pains right now as well but this is just too cold, too cruel and just too much. Even before Henry’s death, his wife was already controlling and domineering over his life. I would not be surprised if this fueled his already compounded issues. She was cruel before and after his death.

    The LW is a better person than myself to be this compassionate towards his wife.

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  • avatar

    BakerBabe May 3, 2018, 9:39 am

    Curious – where is your husband in all this? What happened to his accountability after he signed your son off to marry this witch?

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    • avatar

      SpaceySteph May 3, 2018, 9:55 am

      Doesn’t read to me like LW and the father are still together.

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      • avatar

        BakerBabe May 3, 2018, 10:01 am

        Ah – you’re right. Still curious as to where he is in all this. Sounds like the father and son at least had some contact.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom May 3, 2018, 10:03 am

    I think that if someone considers a text that asks how they are doing as harassment then they will consider all cards harassment also. I think that sending something every few months will be viewed as you not listening and not respecting her decision that she wants you out of their lives.

    From their point of view you are the person your son ran away from and they are the people who took him in and cared for him. You were the person who tried to destroy their family with CPS and they were the ones who kept it together in spite of you and your best efforts. They don’t trust you and they don’t like you. I believe your intentions were for the best but they don’t see it that way. They don’t trust you with these children and they are determined to protect the children from you.

    I think you need to leave them alone for a long while. At most I would send a card with a prepaid credit card to your DIL at her place of work so that if she does need something she can take that card and use it without her mom knowing. That’s only if you think this is mostly coming from her mom.

    You may have beautiful memories of Henry but he ran away from home which means he wasn’t happy and he poured out his heart to these people and so you remember good things but what they know about you is mostly bad. It’s terrible that it has come to this point but you can’t force a relationship. Henry made his decisions and your grandchildren will remain where they are being protected by a mother and a grandmother who don’t trust you.

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    • avatar

      Northern Star May 3, 2018, 10:10 am

      Drugs. They cause people to run away from home to a more permissive household and knock up a teenage girlfriend—whose mother is then foolish enough to let her marry her drug-abusing boyfriend and have THREE children she almost certainly can’t support. The drug abuse continues with no treatment until the 18-year-old father dies from an overdose.

      Another perspective on the “protection” Cecilia and her mother provided. Children in that household probably NEED help from CPS.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom May 3, 2018, 10:37 am

        In general, teens don’t run away from a happy home. Whether Henry was justified in his feelings we don’t know but you can be sure he poured out his heart to the other family and what he said wasn’t good. I’m pointing out that from their perspective this LW tried to destroy their family. She called CPS on them and they were investigated and the children weren’t taken away so CPS thought that they were okay. Henry’s father also seems to have not agreed with this LW. In general I will agree that a young marriage is doomed so I don’t see the point of signing permission for an underage guy to marry an underage girl. In this case the marriage did provide paternity for the unborn baby because Henry died before the baby was born so he can’t sign on the line to claim paternity. There must be a huge amount that is left out of the letter and I don’t expect a LW to write a novel.

        In general there are risk factors for a teen to become a drug addict. Things like a parent using drugs, mental illness, instability in the home, neglect, abuse, bad peer group, and prescription painkillers. Henry didn’t just become a drug addict. Things were happening and he chose drugs. Whether he ran away because he wanted a more permissive home or if he ran away for a totally different idea we don’t know.

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      • avatar

        Ruby Tuesday May 3, 2018, 12:51 pm

        Having worked with state protection agencies, CPS’s decision not to remove the children does not necessarily mean they actually determined the mother was fit or the children were safe. Unfortunately, CPS and APS agencies in many states have a record of failing to properly investigate complaints.

        That being said, I agree that the LW should take a step back and allow the DIL to make the first move toward reconciliation.

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    • avatar

      SpaceySteph May 3, 2018, 11:40 am

      Not to take Cecilia’s side but it annoyed me to no end when people texted just to ask how I was feeling when I was pregnant. Especially people (like my MIL) who hadn’t ever texted me before I got pregnant but now that I was a walking incubator, suddenly how many times I puked yesterday ro how swollen my ankles were was interesting to everyone?
      Definitely the LW should be cautious about assuming more connection with Cecilia as a surrogate for the connection she used to have with her son. She can’t force a closeness here that doesn’t exist and Cecilia is probably smart enough to know she’s being used as a conduit for the kids.

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    • avatar

      Sarah May 3, 2018, 4:48 pm

      he might have run away from a happy home to a home where the adults enabled his addiction.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom May 3, 2018, 5:02 pm

        Do you really know any kids who ran away from a happy home? That seems a huge stretch.

        The LW doesn’t seem to take any responsibility for what was happening in her home up to the point where her son ran away as a drug addict at 16. There was certainly something happening. According to her it was just all happiness.

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    • avatar

      LW May 6, 2018, 8:42 am

      I would like to thank everybody for taking the time to share your perspectives. I would have to write a novel to go through the details of what led to this absolutely devastating result. There are many webs to the story of his life and many perspectives from all sides. Just for some clarification as it seems as I read throug, something has been taken out of context. My son was 16 when he met DIL who was 18. DIL has 2 younger siblings at home. My son’s father, we divorced in 2006, is an addict…which is where he ran to. The CPS call was for my son who I knew needed help desperately. He was moving back and forth between dad’s and DILs amongst many other crash pad homes. Kids do run away from happy homes if they don’t like the rules. Drugs are not acceptable, attend school, do your chores…be a kind person. This millennia is frightening and the law has taken parenting right out our hands. The CPS system doesnt pay enough attention to the children above 5..it’s my opinion that it’s because the don’t get funded for those. There were 3 homes investigated that he was at and all the children under 5 were taken…the rest left…how is that right!!! The story is long and as with many complicated. For now, my other son and DIL and grandson of theirs love me, need me, and want me to be able to get through this with them. I will take the advise of many to give this sometime with my late son’s wife and children. The grief is still too overwhelming to handle it all today. I love all my grandchildren and will never give up hope for our future relationship.

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      • avatar

        keyblade May 6, 2018, 6:08 pm

        LW,

        Your update is heartbreaking. For the record, I left my parent’s home when I was 15 for awhile. My husband let his abusive parent at 16. I’m near an area where I’ve seen kids stay behind with other families to finish their senior year. I knew a woman who cried her eyes out because she knew her teenager was determined to get married and have kids with her teen boyfriend. I’ve know parents who have lost their kids.

        Teens who make unfortunate choices, sometimes end up directing the course of their adult life, irrespective of how much a parent may want different for them.

        I’m very sorry for your recent loss. Maybe in some time when her grief softens, your daughter-in-law will come around. In the mean time, do stay strong. Your plan to surround yourself with the love and support of your other son, DIL, and grandchild sounds like a good one. I hope you find some healing in your endeavors.

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  • avatar

    Ron May 3, 2018, 10:15 am

    Are the widow and her mother really witches? We have a very emotional letter from the mother of the dead son, but I think there is likely a ton she hasn’t said. How would you feel if you were the mother of the widow? This drug-addicted knocks up your daughter, when she is probably 14-15 and h is mother turns against your daughter. You allow them to live with you. Your, probably less than 18-year old daughter gets pregnant again. Her bf’s mother doesn’t want her son to marry your daughter. Her father gives his permission, they marry, and then his mother goes ape-shit and calls cps on you (who’ve, along with your family not done one thing wrong), presumably because her drug-addicted son is living with you. This puts your custody of your other two children at risk. CPS investigates and apparently finds nothing wrong with your family or home, but your son-in-law’s mother is still furious that you are preventing you from helping her addict son. She apparently blames your daughter for getting herself pregnant and chaining her son to whatever drug he was on before they ran away together.

    It sounds to me like the LW’s husband is aware that LW wasn’t the solution to his son’s addiction problem and might be part of the problem. His son got this young girl pregnant twice and wanted to marry her. The father thought that was the right thing to do.

    No suggestion in letter that the witches, mother and child, had anything to do with the addiction of LW’s son, but they’re the scapegoats here.

    The LW is grieving and I wish her well, but her anguish doesn’t make the widow and her mother into witches. When you call CPS into someone else’s home based upon the actions of your own son, you should expect to not be well regarded. The letter doesn’t talk of LW doing anything to help her addicted son before he got this girl pregnant and ran off with her.

    This is all very sad for the LW. It’s far sadder for the widow, and the greatest burden will fall upon the mother-in-law. It is curious to me that LW doesn’t mention doing squat to help this young family, prior to her son’s death.

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    • avatar

      Northern Star May 3, 2018, 10:25 am

      Would YOU let your pregnant teenage daughter move her loser druggie boyfriend into your house? And then marry him? And get pregnant AGAIN (she already had one child earlier by someone else, apparently) instead of making sure she gets an IUD or some other strong method of birth control? And let the rampant drug abuse continue in your house, unchecked, with your innocent grandbabies, until their father died of an overdose?

      Color me completely unimpressed with the family who “took in” Henry.

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      • avatar

        keyblade May 3, 2018, 11:08 am

        I think Wendy’s advice was extremely compassionate. This is a mother who is grieving in a lot of ways. This is a mother who wants to know what she can do to have a sense of control over what is left from her life with her son. Sadly, she really doesn’t have much control.

        I think the mother-in-law was out of line to send her daughter out and then to take her anger out on the letter writer over CPS visits. Child protective services whole purpose is to advocate for children who aren’t safe in their own homes. But we don’t know what efforts the letter writer was able to offer the teens, MIL, or babies in support of them. If the mother-in-law believed that the letter writer was trying to take grandchildren away from her daughter, it makes sense she would be view her as a threat the family unit she is trying to preserve. Some people believe government intervention tends to yield more destabilization than resolution and solutions are best sought out of court.

        There are people who think it is fine for teenagers to be married, they think life will be difficult but not impossible. For other people, having a stable base, strategy, and home for kids are pre-requisites in addition to love and basic shelter. The truth is most of the letter writer’s power to affect the direction of her son’s course probably occurred much earlier in his life. Once he had a hard addiction, she had virtually no ability to change the trajectory of his life without his willing involvement and deeply held personal desire. Almost any choice she made would except for rehabilitation and relocation would have been enabling him. But the mother-in-law probably didn’t want the sons rock bottom to take her daughter and their children down, too.
        My guess is blame, anger, trying to make sense of tragedy, and trying to figure out how to find healing in what’s left is unavoidable. Sadly, there isn’t one explanation there is only coming to terms with the information you are left with and the drive to try to understand. Steering towards peace is probably a good idea. As far as the grandkids go, financial gestures may be the only ones the wife is willing to receive for a good long while. I agree with Sky blossom that the daughter-in-law probably has heard the perspective of a drug-addicted teenager with little to know sense of a home base. The letter writer can make gestures of support but an actual emotional relationship with the kids is unlikely to occur anytime, soon. I’d save money for graduation gifts and maybe college if she wants to contribute towards her son’s legacy to his children. But she’d be smart to find emotional support for her grief elsewhere. What a heartbreaking loss. If you read these comments, I’m so sorry letter writer.

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        ron May 3, 2018, 11:18 am

        I don’t read this as saying that the dead son’s wife had a child by another guy, before the son knocked her up. I read the 3 as the dead son’s MIL having other children, whose custody was put at risk by the call to CPS, which was really all about her own child’s behavior.

        The MIL is looking out for her daughter and for the grandchildren, which LW wants to visit, but did nothing to help while her son was alive.

        For LW, it seems all about her. I still say that her husband likely had a good reason to sign that marriage license and get the son out from under his mother’s control. He was 18 when he died, so he would have been married prior to his death in any case.

        The son was able to hold a job, so he may have done nothing more than smoke pot and not stop when his mother insisted. LW had her day in the legal system, likely more than one, and the system didn’t agree with her. That also says a lot. CPS would have intervened if an 18-month old was actually at risk.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom May 3, 2018, 11:28 am

        I also assumed that the other kids mentioned were siblings of the DIL. I’m not sure how calling CPS was intended to get her son help with his addiction. CPS looks into the stability of a home and found the one the son was in okay. They certainly didn’t take him out of it and return him to his mother.

        We don’t know what kind of addict he was. If it was meth many of them die when they have been through rehab and then die the first time they use after being clean. The DIL’s family may have enabled his addiction or maybe they were helping him get clean. We don’t know.

        The LW couldn’t keep her anger under control enough to manage to attend her son’s memorial. That says a lot. Even if you feel justified in your anger I think you could keep it together to go to the memorial, which I am assuming someone else provided. She was told about his death and at first was welcomed into their home but then they ended up in an argument and she has been told to leave them alone. The LW isn’t all innocent.

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        LisforLeslie May 3, 2018, 12:56 pm

        It’s really easy from 10000 feet away to say what you would do. Maybe it was the choice between having her stay in a warm home with food and her running away and living on the streets – at 15. All I’m saying is that a parent, when faced with two awful choices, is going to pick the one that offers the least worst outcome.

        In this case, the least worst is that her daughter and grandchild (ren) are at home and are healthy.

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      • avatar

        anonymousse May 3, 2018, 1:35 pm

        I knew quite a few parents when I was younger who took in a runaway, or an unfortunate/estranged kid that they’re child was friends with or dating. At least they could monitor the situation better in their own home, provide a semblance of structure, hit meals, etc.

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      for_cutie May 3, 2018, 10:40 am

      Yes @Ron I see this. There are no concrete examples of how the LW tried to “help” and just drama with the daughter-in-law and her family. Regardless of if the LW did truly try, she needs to move beyond that to make peace with the family as it is now.

      In addition to Wendy’s advice, I would want the LW to consider opening savings accounts (or 529 plans) for each Grandchild. She can quietly maintain these as a way to support the children’s futures regardless of the in-law drama. Keeping the accounts in the LW’s name, creating a trust with rules, or a 529 will help ensure that these assets are spent for the children or by the children when they are old enough. Even putting away $25 a month per kid will make a huge difference when they reach adulthood.

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      keyblade May 3, 2018, 11:42 am

      @Ron- yes, the letter could mean there were three additional kids living with the mother-in-law. The son running away with his girlfriend could mean they ran off because she was pregnant and they didn’t want to be separated from each other. I’m not surprised the DIL got off to a rocky start with the letter writer. I do think the letter writer is viewing her situation from her own sense of loss and being “wronged”. But I’m not sure the daughter in laws perspective is one the letter writer will be able to embrace right now. I’m also not surprised a father and court would sign off on a legal union for a seventeen 1/2 year old boy who has one small baby and another on the way if for no other reason than the legal stability for the babies. However this eighteen year old was clearly in over his head. The letter writer sounds distant and perhaps less involved than ideal. This went from bad to worse to worse and no level of retro-active responsibility baring is likely to make her someone the daughter-in-law desires to bond with. Since it would be tragic for this letter writer to become self-destructive with grief, I don’t necessarily think she needs to take on the perspectives she might have not understood in the hopes of gaining access to this family. I think it’s likely to be a cold and fruitless pursuit.

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  • avatar

    TheRascal May 3, 2018, 10:28 am

    I would love to hear Cecelia’s side of this story.

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    • bittergaymark

      Bittergaymark May 3, 2018, 10:30 am

      Right. Sure. Anybody who pops out two kids while still in her teens with a drug addict has a REAL winning story to tell..

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom May 3, 2018, 11:04 am

        Two messed up kids from two messed up home and the babies involved will likely grow up messed up too and repeat this while in their own teens.

        As a country we should provide free birth control to anyone who wants it. I think that is one of the best ways to interrupt this generational pattern.

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark May 3, 2018, 11:40 am

        Agreed. Agreed. Agreed.

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      • avatar

        TheRascal May 3, 2018, 11:47 am

        While I don’t disagree that Cecelia has a lot of problems, I’m not entirely sold on the LW’s version of history. I have compassion for the LW’s grief and also wonder about how she is as a MIL.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark May 3, 2018, 10:29 am

    This letter is precisely why we need comprehensive sex ed in schools. For BOYS and girls… As it just might stop clueless dolts from breeding like rats and leaving lost and doomed children in the wake of destruction…

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  • avatar

    brise May 3, 2018, 10:33 am

    I like Wendy’s advice but I think Skyblossom is unfortunately realistic. Your endeavours to “help” through courts and CPS have alienated you . For them, and for this young mum especially, you represent a threat. When your DIL expressed her anger at the funeral, she was expecting an apology, or at least a change in your attitude, but you got angry yourself and lost the chance of a reconciliation, at least now. As she is hurting because of your son’s loss, she is prone to transfer her anger (potentially her guilt at her own role in this tragedy) against you, the person she likes to hate. This is a very common reaction in the mourning process. But it can evolve. So for while, I don’t see really how you could obtain access to this family. Perhaps, after a while, you could try a mediation, through a professional mediation service? This means a non-offensive, no-threat try to negociate a way that could allow you to get a minimum, like a yearly visit, or something like this. What you could try, also, before such a move, and after some months, is to write a handwritten letter to your DIL, starting with an apology for your unfortunate intrusions in their parenting life (even with the best intentions, it went very wrong), and for your angry reaction at the funeral. Show a real concern for her situation, and offer your help, especially financially. Such a young mother will need help, and so will her children. You can start to set up a saving accounts for your two grandchildren that they will have access to at their majority, and say it to your DIL. This way, you can change your (very bad) image for this family.
    But for your own sake and for your relationship with them, I would start with the realisation that you have basically no rights here, as a distant grandmother, you were in a conflict with them, your actions are part of the problem, and there is a chance that it won’t change. If you confront the most difficult aspects of the situation, you might start feeling better and accept reality. I am very sorry for you, this is a sad situation. At least, your grandchildren are in a family structure, at your DIL’s parents. I hope it gets better with time.

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  • avatar

    Autumnrose May 3, 2018, 11:20 am

    LW, how do they know you called CPS? It is supppse to be confidental regarding the reporter. And NEVER ever feel guitly about it even if it pissed others off. Children have a right to be in a safe and secure environment. Your son was on drugs. His death was because of it. This young girl sounds very immature and maybe socially under developed. Was her mom encouraging this behavior or was she trying to stop it (doesn’t sound like it) I don’t think pursuing any legal matters will help. I think you should just leave a door open for DIL and your grandbabies. Maybe offer to by clothes for the children or maybe help pay a bill. I wouldn’t give straight cash though. Anything you do needs to be directly for your grandbabies. Even open a college fund for them. You may not get the opportunity to be a grandmother to these babies but there is only so much you can legally do (is just say any legal cost you would have spent for future savings on them) and keep the peace. Maybe one day your DIL will see that. Sorry for,your loss.

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    • avatar

      Autumnrose May 3, 2018, 11:21 am

      Meant save** not say

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  • avatar

    Bcamber May 3, 2018, 12:36 pm

    I disagree with sending cards on holidays.

    It will appear as if you are using the excuse of it being a holiday to go against their wishes.

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    • avatar

      BakerBabe May 3, 2018, 1:22 pm

      Agreed. DIL will probably see cards as “harassment” if she thinks texts are harassment, especially given the fact that she already sounds volatile. I truly wonder where this anger/animosity is coming from.

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  • avatar

    anonymousse May 3, 2018, 1:28 pm

    I am so sorry for the tragic loss of your son.
    I have to say, even just reading your side of the story makes me wonder what the other side is. Your son ran away from home, from you, presumedly. Maybe he told you Cecelia blocked him from you, but it’s likely he did that on his own. You need to stop holding so much hurt and anger directed at her. She didn’t take your son away from you, he left you. He made those choices that led him here. I know that’s incredibly hard to hear, but it’s true.

    Maybe you could contact a lawyer about grandparent visitation rights, but I would just inquire at this point, don’t make any legal moves, yet.

    I would recommend backing off, and giving them the space they’ve asked for. Opening up 529 accounts for the children is a great idea for the grandkids

    Regardless of your intent, a CPS investigation is scary, even if you’ve done nothing wrong. That hit some sensitive spots for Cecelia and her mother. They see you as a threat right now, so you need to be as non threatening as possible, which means respecting her wishes and not messaging her right now. Do you have the ability to call her mother for updates on the kids?

    I do think sending cards, with money or gift cards to help her with the babies, would be okay. If they don’t want that, they’ll let you know.

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  • Monkeysmommy

    Monkeys mommy May 3, 2018, 3:49 pm

    I truly disagree that it is likely that the daughter-in-law is ever going to come around. Unless she ends up needing money, then the kids might become innocent pawns.

    I also disagree that because CPS failed before, so you should not pursue grandparent rights. IF the poster’s story is halfway accurate, those kids probably still need CPS. It is not going to do anything to bridge the gap between you and your daughter-in-law, but I’ll be honest I don’t think that’s going to happen anyway. I do know Florida actually does not support grandparent rights, I’m not sure about the state the children live in.

    I am not doubting that the daughter-in-law probably thought her mother in law was the MIL from hell. Hey, she was trying to figure out how to get her son untangled from his mess, which included her. She had CPS investigating the girl’s mother. And wouldn’t you know, she expected them to actually give up drugs! I know there are 2 sides to every story. But when we have two 18 year olds that have managed to spit out 3 kids between them and one is dead from a drug overdose, credibility starts to go downhill.

    And also… I don’t think one overdoses from smoking pot and dies…

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    • avatar

      csp May 4, 2018, 7:53 am

      I think it is unfair to make that kind of judgement on the DIL. She is a teenager and life is long. Who knows how it will be 5 years from now. And she may need and want to share the load. It isn’t about using the kids as pawns as much as trying to create a support structure and community to love your kids.
      My parents and inlaws take my son overnight and buy him gifts and help with him when he is sick and I need to work. That isn’t me taking advantage or using them as a payday. That is leaning on your community when you need them. If this LW wants to be part of these children’s lives then she should want to be a help as well.

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      • Monkeysmommy

        Monkeys mommy May 6, 2018, 11:14 am

        Yup, she’s a teenager… teenage addict with 3 kids. It does not sound like she has the best decision making skills as it is. I feel pretty comfortable in my judgment. I think the letter writer has tried to help, the daughter-in-law is not the least bit intrested in her help.

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      • avatar

        anonymousse May 6, 2018, 2:42 pm

        Yeah, I think you are misreading the post. The adult mother has three children, including her teen daughter.

        Did you miss the part where her son ran away from her home at 16?
        Happy children don’t run away from their parents.

        No where in her post does she say her DIL is an addict.

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  • avatar

    ron May 3, 2018, 4:44 pm

    Monkey’smommy —
    LW never said that dil used drugs. I believe she would have mentioned that if it were the case, just as I think she would have mentioned if dil were older than her son. I’m guessing she was younger.

    LW doesn’t mention trying to get son into rehab before he ran away from home. Also no psyche eval.

    You are correct, I’ve never heard of anyone overdosing on pot and dying. I do know many who self-medicated on pot for their mental illnesses and parents who claimed the pot caused the mental illness. LW doesn’t say her son died of an overdose. Could have been suicide?

    The LW is grieving and needs help with that and wants to be part of her grandchildren’s lives. That’s understandable. What I don’t understand is the attempt of so many posters to turn dil into a witch or horrible person. I don’t think LW has treated dil or mil at all well.

    I don’t think LW called CPS because of any danger to the children. She called them to get her son back home. That’s what comes across to me in her letter. Her objection to her ex-husband signing the marriage license is stated as ended her legal battle to regain control of her son, not in terms of the grandchild not being safe. Did she ever mention the safety or well-being of the grandchild? It’s all ‘I am being excluded from my son’s only legacy.’ I’d be more sympathetic had she ever done anything to help the grandkids or if her primary expressed concern was for their welfare.

    If she wants to see her grandchildren, then moving to FL seems a mistake.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom May 3, 2018, 4:45 pm

      The LW raised a drug addicted son who ran away at 16. The courts and CPS may not see her as the better option.

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      • avatar

        keyblade May 3, 2018, 5:33 pm

        Honestly though, the child they investigated might not be dead and there might be only one baby being raised by a presumably traumatized teenage mother instead of two (including a baby who’s mother experienced a very high stress event during gestation)

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    • avatar

      keyblade May 3, 2018, 5:12 pm

      https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/link-between-adolescent-pot-smoking-and-psychosis-strengthens/

      This is completely irrelevant to the letter but my understanding is that there is a positive relationship between Marijuana use in adolescents vulnerable to schizophrenia and an onset of psychosis. One of the unfortunate side affects of the political choice to schedule marijuana instead lieu of understanding it, was that we are only beginning to have actual research on what effects it has on whom.

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      • avatar

        keyblade May 3, 2018, 6:04 pm

        I’m a bit sorry for my terrible grammar.

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      • avatar

        csp May 4, 2018, 7:59 am

        these studies are very much chicken and the egg stuff. but thanks for the article.

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    • Monkeysmommy

      Monkeys mommy May 6, 2018, 11:18 am

      You are correct, I guess the letter writer never send the daughter-in-law was a drug addict also, but it seems highly possible given the circumstances. And the daughter-in-law’s mother was awfully worried about CPS poking around in her business also. Even if the daughter alone does not use drugs, it is quite clear that her ability to use common sense and critical thinking is not very sharp. Most 18 year olds do not have 3 children with 2 different fathers. Believe me, I’m also not one to knock a teen mother, or a mother whose children have different fathers, I have fit both categories at some point in my life. But it sounds like she is really taking the cake on this one.

      I felt the letter writer also implied that drugs were the end of her son’s life. I suppose that could have also been suicide to escape his problems, who knows.

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      • avatar

        anonymousse May 6, 2018, 2:39 pm

        The adult mother (of the teenaged girl) has three kids.

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  • avatar

    keyblade May 4, 2018, 9:41 am

    I’m not a scientist and I can’t say I really understand the full implications of these studies. I just think they’re interesting. I think it would be very useful information to know if one has a family history of psychosis or schizophrenia, in any event.

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  • avatar

    Candice Conner May 6, 2018, 7:14 am

    I read your letter a few times. You do not really seem to care about the grandkids it seems like you only care about you. The time before the funreal was your time to help this young mother instead by your actions they cut you off. I do not blame them. You reap what you sow. You called CPS on them. You are the threat to their family. You raised a man who had to leave your house because the way you treated him. Of course he ran to her and clung hard. Your actions set it up as such. Maybe in time the mother will mellow and let you see the kids. But for that to happen you gotta change that attitude. Maybe you should get some therapy. But really I would have cut you off too. She needs no drama she just buried her husband. Leave her alone..let your son’s family mourn. Have a heart. I know you miss the grandbabies. You can always contact them when they are 18. Do not be so hard on the mother because after reading your letter I am totally on her side.

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    • avatar

      TheGirlinME May 6, 2018, 7:32 pm

      Oh, you must be the mother of the DIL in question..

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  • avatar

    Candice Conner May 7, 2018, 2:19 am

    No I am not even though I am sad her son died the way her letter is written kinda really shows me what kind of person she is. It does seem she called CPS not for the children but to get her son back home. The dad signed so the son could get married….so maybe the dad has a relationship with the grandbabies? It seems like mom never wanted to cut the apron strings and hence was not a very nice mil.Now she thinks Dil should just forget the crappy way she treated her.Thank god Dil has a mom to stand up for her because I think if she did not the letter writer would be walking all over her.

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    • avatar

      keyblade May 7, 2018, 5:43 am

      The “DIL” should feel lucky her ass isn’t on a sexual predator list. If you read her update, the dad is an addict her son ran off to live with. It makes more sense now why it was difficult to force her son to come back. Is Candice Conner your real name?

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      • avatar

        keyblade May 7, 2018, 5:48 am

        Is the way you wrote your comment a reflection of who you are?

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy May 7, 2018, 6:59 am

      Most good and decent mothers of 16 year-old addicts AREN’T ready to cut the apron strings.

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      • avatar

        JD May 7, 2018, 9:01 am

        Uh ya apron strings need not be cut at 16, let alone 16 and having troubles.

        I keep thinking though about the LW saying the DIL wouldn’t let the husband have a phone. I haven’t read every comment but I haven’t seen that mentioned. If that is the case it is very controlling. I wonder if that is what he told mom for whatever reason and perhaps it was not true, who knows. I know my ex used to say things like “J said I couldn’t do bla bla” when I didn’t even know about bla bla nor would I tell him not to. It was his excuse to get out of something.

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