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DIL, Christmas and GD, WWYD? (Sorry it's about the C word)

(84 Posts)
ItsonlyGranny Fri 10-Nov-17 15:38:51

Background: In December 2015, my son died aged 24. At the time he was married and had a 6 month old daughter, my granddaughter (GD). We knew our son was ill and his wish was to have a family Christmas with us all, so I saw GD on her first ever Christmas which was wonderful but also horrible as we knew it would be my sons last Christmas.

In the year following my sons death I saw GD around twice a month, although sometimes it was more often as if her mother had a meeting at work or wanted to go out with friends I'd offer to babysit and have GD overnight.

For Christmas 2016, Daughter-in-Law (DIL) decided to take my GD (then 18 months) away on holiday for Christmas and returned just before the 1st Anniversary of my sons death, we spent time together on the Anniversary. I respected this, understood it was hard being the first Christmas with out her husband.

Unfortunately since then my husband has been made redundant and been laid down with ill health himself and my daughter moved away to go to University so we've lost 2 incomes in the house, so I had to take on an extra job to make my hours up to full time. This has meant I've had to cut back on seeing GD to once every other month as on the other month I was travelling to see and spend time with my daughter. It broke my heart to spend less time with my GD, she's a lovely girl and reminds me a lot of my son. I love seeing her and want to be a part of her life if I can. She does definitely know who I am still though as when she sees me on those months she runs to me shouting "granny granny".

I also know that in April this year DIL met someone new. I've not met him myself but my husband is good friends with DILs mum and she says he's really nice and adores my GD. I'm pleased for DIL, I know my son would want her to be happy and I hope he's a good role model for my GD.

I text my DIL yesterday to enquire about seeing GD over Christmas. I never expected Christmas Day as I'm sure DIL wants to spend that with her family, but was hoping I could see her before actual Christmas Day. But I'm heartbroken.

DIL has offered to pop over with GD on the 29th December which is the 2nd Anniversary of my sons death, but says that she can't see her having time to pop over with GD before then. I will finish work from my 2nd job (retail) at 7pm Christmas Eve and will be back in 6am Boxing Day, but I am off 22nd and 23rd December from both jobs so was going to offer to have GD then. DIL says they're travelling to see her new boyfriends family when she finishes work on 21st December and will be back late 23rd December. They are then going to DILs Grandparents on 24th until 26th December. DILs grandparents live in the next street to me (that's how her and my son met, as she was spending a weekend at "home" with her grandparents and he bumped into her), but apparently DIL won't have even half an hour to pop in to see me and my family anytime in those 2 days.

I am absolutely heartbroken, and I want to tell DIL that it's not fair. I've already lost my son, I don't want to lose my GD too.

WWYD in this situation? Do I just have to accept that I will be seeing a lot less of GD now and not get Christmas with her?

Stompythedinosaur Fri 10-Nov-17 15:43:10

Sorry, I know it's hard, but you have to accept it.

You could perhaps offer to babysit if she wanted an hour or two free to go for a drink or meal while she's home, but you have to accept it if she doesn't want to.

Aridane Fri 10-Nov-17 15:46:08

Could they not pop over briefly so GD can open her presents at yours?

TheNoseyProject Fri 10-Nov-17 15:47:14

Ah op lots of flowers to you. When it comes to being bereaved I don’t think there’s any right way and everyone has to feel there way through it. I don’t think you are bu but I don’t think you late son’s wife is bu either.

I think you could contact her and say you’re totally free on the dates when she’s with the family near you and would love to see the two of them wherever and when ever suits her but if she says no I think you have to leave it.

From your op I don’t see any indication that you’re losing GD. In the nicest way (and for understandable reasons) it’s you whose reduced the contact this year. I would take this year as indicative of future years but I do think you need to appreciate she’s balancing her family, her boyfriends family, her grandparents, you and whoever else she wants to see and she will want a little rest too on her leave from work.

I hope it works out flowers

TheNoseyProject Fri 10-Nov-17 15:47:54

Would Not take it as indicative!

SloeSloeQuickQuickGin Fri 10-Nov-17 15:48:19

There really isnt a lot you can do if DIL is going away pre-Christmas. However ..... my husband is good friends with DILs mum - this is your route - probably DIL hasnt even thought about proximity to her own GPs.

Can you not suggest popping into the GPs (in the next road) for an hour or so over Christmas?

TheNoseyProject Fri 10-Nov-17 15:49:19

I also think if you’ve only seen GD less recently then expecting to have her without her mum for 2 days over Christmas is unrealistic.

ItsonlyGranny Fri 10-Nov-17 15:50:17

I'd happily walk over to her Grandparents, will suggest that.

I don't know if DIL will want to pop over for half an hour. The text sounded like she didn't.

ItsonlyGranny Fri 10-Nov-17 15:51:02

I never wanted her for 2 days, I didn't know they were going to see the new boyfriends family until the text, I'd have settled for an hour or two and happily hosted DIL too.

MrsExpo Fri 10-Nov-17 15:56:03

I’m assuming you know and are on good terms with the other set of grandparents. As they live so close to you, could you not arrange to pop round there for a cup of tea and a mince pie? It could be arranged in advance so as not to impose, take grand daughters presents round then go home afterwards. Not quite the same, but a possible compromise maybe?

Ceto Fri 10-Nov-17 15:56:52

I don't think "fairness" comes into it. It's not your DIL's fault that you're less available to see your granddaughter, and you can see that she's likely to be pretty fully occupied between 24th and 26th December. It's a difficult time of year to be juggling visits to two families, let alone three. You can always try to sort something out for when she's nearby, but otherwise I fear you have to accept what she can offer.

ItsonlyGranny Fri 10-Nov-17 16:00:28

I don't actually know her grandparents other than to say hello to in the street, my husband is good friends with DILs mum as he worked with her and she is the same age as me. I'll get my husband to have chat with her mum and see if there's a compromise there.

I know DIL stays with her grandparents because her mum downsized after both her own children left home and doesn't have a spare room at Christmas because DILs sister uses it (this is what DIL told us on GDs first Christmas). They will all be DILs grandparents on Christmas Day I expect.

HannahHut Fri 10-Nov-17 16:02:45

I agree with PP, its awful OP but you are the one who cut contact.Please don't say this I want to tell DIL that it's not fair. I've already lost my son, I don't want to lose my GD too. to her. Its not fair to make her feel guilty.

CotswoldStrife Fri 10-Nov-17 16:05:06

It sounds to me as if the new partner will also be coming to her family over Christmas, perhaps she doesn't want to impose him on you just yet OP.

She's not stopping you seeing your GD IMO and has said she'll meet up with you on the anniversary (always a tough time) and you're not losing her (GD) so please don't use such inflammatory language with your DIL. You did see your GD for her first Christmas but not last year, so it would be the same as last year for you - does it seem better looking at it like that?

Mustang27 Fri 10-Nov-17 16:06:45

Wait due to a change in circumstances you only see her once a month is that really all you can spare? Maybe she feels hurt that you don’t see your gd more and is taking that out on you a little. I’m sorry but if my husband died I’d expect his family to spend more than once a month with our children. I realise it’s hard for you at the moment but you have to try and see it from her potential POV.

I’m really sorry you have lost your son flowersflowers and also that your dd has gone to uni maybe she could do a bit of travelling back so you could spend more time with your gd?

I’d call your dil or organise a quick catch up so you guys can talk about what’s going on and try and get something more concrete in place. She may be more reasonable if you can chat face to face.

I hope you can iron this out quickly for everyone’s sake.

Blondephantom Fri 10-Nov-17 16:08:45

I’m so sorry about your son. You sound so lovely and supportive of your DIL. It must be very difficult for all of you.

You are right, it is unfair. That being said this may be one of those occasions where you can be right or you can be happy. How do you think your DIL would react to being told it is unfair? Do you think she would make more effort to see you or that she would put in even less effort?

Perhaps when making her arrangements for the holidays she though it best to spend the anniversary with you so you could support each other. Perhaps she just finds it too hard to be where she was at Christmas when it is the last Christmas she had with her husband.

Would you be happy for her to bring her new partner? If yes, does she know this? It must be bittersweet to see her moving on with life. I married a widower and, much as he loves me, he’d never have been in a relationship with me if he hadn’t lost his first wife. His late wife’s mum is happy that he has met someone else but obviously finds it hard as well. There were a few tears when he told her we were expecting a baby. She was happy for us but sad for all sorts of reasons. It is so difficult to navigate from all sides. I was invited around and we plan time for just my husband to visit too. So sometimes they can just talk freely. My hubby appreciates that she includes me and I appreciate it too. It is hard for all of us in different ways.

I would make the offer of babysitting and also make it clear that if they find time they are all welcome to pop around. Or maybe you could all go out for a drink or meal to be on neutral ground and away from sad memories.

I hope you have a lovely Christmas and get to spend some special time with your granddaughter.

Jasminedes Fri 10-Nov-17 16:08:55

I think you need to offer an olive branch in the new year, and commit to more regular contact if that is what you want - she will be afraid that you will let gd down, as you pulled back from contact this year. Be open, friendly, committed and reliable. Don't use any emotional blackmail or say anything that could be construed that way, The dynamic will change because of her new relationship - you need to be accommodating of that.

ItsonlyGranny Fri 10-Nov-17 16:09:02

My daughter travels down from University on the month I don't get to see her and also comes home for reading weeks and will be home for Christmas.

I didn't want to have to see less of GD but I do have to keep a roof over my head and also to see my daughter. She's lost her brother as well.

mindutopia Fri 10-Nov-17 16:09:47

I think you have to just accept that she has a lot of obligations now to lots of different family members, made more complicated though I know by the emotional ties you have to seeing her and your GD given the loss of your son. Realistically, with toddlers, it isn't always easy to force a schedule and lots of holiday visits (under the best of circumstances) can be exhausting and stressful. I suspect some of this does have to do with the emotional burden she is carrying of raising her dd without her dad. It may just be too emotionally difficult to see you and she may just want to put some distance between that around Christmas time. Just as for you it's healing to see her and your gd at that time, for her it may bring up emotions and pain that she just wants a bit of a break from at an already emotional and stressful time. I think you just need to give her some space and be as flexible as you can to accommodate her when you aren't working, even if it's well after Christmas. Honestly, my dd has great-grandparents who we adore (though they do live 1.5 hours from us) and we still haven't seen them after LAST Christmas. I feel awful about it, but 3 hours in the car in a day is a lot and seeing them is always very emotional (their son, my husband's dad, passed away under very tragic circumstances when my dh was a teenager). Though this was over 15 years ago now, seeing them always brings up a lot of emotions for everyone, complicated this past year by estrangement with my dh's mum (my MIL). It's just a messy, emotional soup for everyone, and it's hard, so it can be draining when we do get together. I think just respect your DIL's needs to have time for her own little family unit and be open to seeing them whenever they can come to see you and don't get hung up on the dates. Some families don't get to see each other at all, even around the holidays, as you know, so I would try to focus on how happy you'll be to see then when you can.

PurpleMinionMummy Fri 10-Nov-17 16:10:12

I think yabu. I understand it's disappointing but your dil has already made plans and you don't have a huge amount of time where you are free. I think it's just bad timing and one of those things unfortunately.

How far apart do you live from each other?

NoFuckingRoomOnMyBroom Fri 10-Nov-17 16:11:21

I really feel for you, I don't think it would kill her to take an hour out of one of the days she is at her GP-especially as they are in such close proximity to you.

Optimist1 Fri 10-Nov-17 16:11:35

Thinking of things from her point of view she's got to cope with a toddler, a new relationship, a lot of family commitments and the additional sadness that this time of year must bring.

You need to ensure that she knows that you're interested in her as well as your GD, that you're keen to meet her new partner and that you appreciate she has a lot of calls on her time. Do you keep in touch with her regularly between the times you do see her? Texting's all very well, but not as meaningful as a phone conversation IMO.

I'm guessing your suggestion that they "pop in" was meant to indicate that she could decided on the time and location of the visit, but to be honest it sounds a bit vague (and could be interpreted as a bit half-hearted). You could ask her if her grandparents would be free to come with her to yours for pre-lunch drinks on Christmas Day. If for some reason that's not possible then be sure to make a date to host her, her DP and your GD on another occasion early in the new year.

I sympathise with your situation; it might not work out as you'd wish this year, but it's important you don't make her feel guilty if it doesn't.

ItsonlyGranny Fri 10-Nov-17 16:11:46

I'd be happy to meet her new boyfriend whenever she's ready for me to meet him.

I hadn't thought of the sad memories part, the house for me is the last place I saw my son and at Christmas time I'm always happy I have that memory of him. He was very ill but he declined very quickly after Christmas.

RhiannonOHara Fri 10-Nov-17 16:12:14

I'm sorry for you, OP, I can't imagine how hard this all is. But TBH your DIL's Christmas sounds hectic and stressful with all the running about between family she's doing. And that's even before you think about what she's lost and is dealing with emotionally. Maybe cut her a bit of slack.

PurpleMinionMummy Fri 10-Nov-17 16:12:21

Does your daughter not want to see her niece? You can go together.

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