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Sandra never sees her grandchildren again: ‘we cried every night for two years’

“At Christmas, their birthdays and before the summer holidays I always send my grandsons a card. They probably don’t even get it from my daughter. I don’t send gifts anymore because they are returned. That’s why I always make copies of them, which I keep. If my grandsons ever come to my door, I can show them that I’ve always kept thinking about them.

I also once sent my daughter Malou a card, but I got it back in pieces. Malou has stepped on my heart so hard that I have now decided that she is no longer welcome with me anyway. I do that out of self-protection. I not only built a wall around me, but an entire bunker. “

“I always said jokingly, ‘I have one easy child.’ My two sons could still play funny tricks, but Malou was such a sweet and easy-going child. I never had any problems with her. She was eight and her little brother six when their father and I split up. I later married and got married. a son. We were a happy family. Malou and I were both hands on one stomach. Sometimes we went away together for a weekend, we also regularly went into town together. “

A concerned grandmother

When she was eighteen, she asked my husband John – her stepfather – if she could bear his last name. The relationship with her biological father was bad, she hadn’t seen him for years and wanted nothing to do with him. John was honored that she wanted his last name and we arranged the paperwork. When Malou married her childhood sweetheart, she asked John if he would give her away as a father. He was so proud when he walked her to the altar. And when later two grandsons were born, we already felt like a king. Our grandchildren often came to us. They stayed over regularly and John and I often brought them to their soccer practice. I loved being a committed grandmother to be.”

“Everything changed when Malou went on a mindfulness retreat five years ago. When she returned after a week, she had changed beyond recognition. She was fierce, easily irritated and suddenly nothing was right. My son-in-law called and said, ‘What’s up? happened to her? I don’t recognize my wife anymore. ” Malou said she had finally discovered “her own I.” Apparently, she was a very different daughter from the one I knew.

Two weeks after the retreat, she suddenly appeared at the door in the evening. “I want a divorce,” she said bluntly. My son-in-law was devastated, he didn’t understand at all. Just like John and me. Malou then lived with us for three months with her sons, until she received the key to her new home. We helped her as much as possible, I gave her money and half the linen cupboard. On Mother’s Day she came by with a big heart that said ‘you’re the best’. She thanked John and me for all the help. “

Ruined childhood

“A week later she asked if we wanted to come by because her youngest son could cycle without training wheels and wanted to show that. Of course we went, and proudly we looked at our cycling grandson. When the boys were on bed, Malou suddenly broke loose. . Out of nowhere she shouted that John and I wouldn’t see her and the kids again. We’d ruined her childhood, and she wouldn’t let that happen to her sons. John and I were stunned. These accusations came totally unexpected. My husband began I tried to talk to Malou to find out where this was coming from. I said, “You’re a grown woman, can’t we talk about anything?” But she was unreasonable and showed me the door. Astonished, I fell off. “

“Of course I was still hoping that it would all work out again. I decided to leave my daughter alone for a while so she could cool down. But a few days later a letter from her fell on the doormat that the dogs didn’t like to eat. Full of reproaches, such as that I always snubbed and ordered her. I went to Malou’s house and asked for an explanation because I did not recognize myself in her letter at all. As a mother I must have made mistakes, but who not? Malou said she already expected I wouldn’t get it because I “never understood her.” Then she slammed the door in my face.

I started to doubt myself. Was I really such an inhuman? I asked my ex-son-in-law, who had been with her for nearly 20 years, if Malou had often spoken negatively about me and John during their relationship. Not at all, was his answer. He too was amazed at her behavior. Malou kept her word; she cut all ties. Where I initially thought she was mentally confused and would come around later, after a while I realized she was serious. It broke my heart. For two years, John and I cried every night. Of grief, frustration, lack and powerlessness. “

Contact arrangement with grandsons

“We missed Malou and her sons terribly and called in a mediator several times. Unfortunately, Malou did not want to cooperate. Out of desperation, John and I started a lawsuit because we so badly wanted an access arrangement with our grandsons. That her sons hardly knew John and me, and that we only came on birthdays. That while I alone could show nineteen pages full of WhatsApp messages from Malou: ‘Mom, I’m in a traffic jam, can you from school? ‘, and so on.

In court, she just glared ahead. She didn’t even call me “Mommy” anymore, just “she”. My feeling for her crumbled. We were rejected by the court. As grandparents you have almost no rights in the Netherlands. John and I couldn’t handle an appeal emotionally. We did not want to experience that misery again. “

“There was nothing to do but to let it go. That was and still is a torture, I cannot put it in any other way. Every birthday that passes is a stab in my heart. I would prefer the month of December off the calendar. We used to celebrate the holidays extensively: I had a Sinterklaas come by and at Christmas there were gifts under the tree for everyone. We will still celebrate, but we are no longer complete. “

‘Grandma, we miss you’

“Our breakup creates strange situations. The daughter of my eldest son – who also has lost contact with his sister – goes to the same school as the sons of Malou. Once a week I pick up my granddaughter from school. Then I see the boys. sometimes also walk. In the past they would sometimes come to me: “Grandma! We miss you, can we also come to your house?” Of course Malou was not allowed to do that. And now they walk past me, they don’t even look at me. That while I love them so much. “

Sometimes the whole world seems to consist only of happy families. That I sometimes thought: am I the only one in this situation? Fortunately, I then found fellow sufferers through the Facebook page Oma Blogt. I then joined a private Facebook group with thirteen other disowned grandmothers. Sometimes we go out for a day together. We have a lot of support from each other. The recognition and understanding, that’s so nice. Half a word is enough for us. Outsiders sometimes say that you ‘just have to let it go’. As if that is so easy. Or they say I must have done something terrible. Of course every story has two sides. But my daughter has created a version that is simply really wrong. “

Too little talk about parental alienation

“I’m not ashamed of my family situation, that’s why I just tell about it. More people should do that. I think there is far too little talk about parental alienation, while an estimated one in four children no longer sees his or her grandparents. So it happens incredibly often. And as a grandparent you are powerless, you have no leg to stand on.

Deep in my heart I have the hope that one day my grandsons will think for themselves and visit me. At the same time, I know that the chance is very small. They are fed with hatred towards me. But I don’t want to allow too much the thought that I will never see my grandchildren again. A little hope keeps me going. Letting go is getting better. I refuse to languish. John and I moved because there were too many memories of our old house. We focus on the future. A future in which we will hopefully one day be complete again. “

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