Dear Annie: My 29-year-old son and his wife have two young children. My oldest grandson and I were very close. I babysat, took him swimming, to the park and the library, taught him to ride a bike and accompanied him to Sunday school.
Four years ago, my daughter-in-law, "Amanda," accused me of talking about her behind her back. This was not true. She told my son he wasn't allowed to visit me unless she was present. Then she started complaining about me. Finally, she said my son couldn't speak to me anymore, and I wasn't allowed to see my grandson. She also cut off my son's father and stepfather, leaving only her family. My grandson was devastated he couldn't see his favorite Grammie.
This campaign of hers came at a bad time in my life, as I was going through an amicable but protracted divorce. Friends encouraged me to move back home to North Carolina. I waited a year, but my son never spoke to me or acknowledged my cards and gifts, so I left town. I've since had difficulty finding employment and am living with friends. A year ago, I had triple bypass heart surgery. Without my knowledge, a friend e-mailed Amanda and begged her to allow my son to speak to me, saying I might not survive the operation. Amanda e-mailed me directly, saying she spoke to my son about it and they both refuse to speak to me because she and I "didn't see eye to eye." I was shocked at their coldhearted cruelty.
Even though I've healed from surgery, my heart is still broken. Lately, I've been thinking I am better off without them because they must be horrible people to treat me so despicably. Please tell other young women that demanding control over their husbands causes heartache to everyone and will eventually come back to hurt them, as well.
- Heartbroken in N.C.
Dear Heartbroken: We agree that what goes around comes around. It's sad that your daughter-in-law isn't willing to allow her husband to have a relationship with his family. It's even sadder that your son permits this.
If you wish to send cards or gifts to your son and grandchildren, continue to do so even if there is no response. You never know what the future holds. But otherwise, find things in your life that make you happy. Be a surrogate grandmother to others' grandchildren. Keep active and create a family out of your friends.
Dear Annie: Tell "Ringless" not to place too much emphasis on whether her husband wears his wedding ring. Does he wear any other jewelry? I've been married for 23 years to a great guy who puts on his wedding ring only for major social events. He doesn't like jewelry and never has.
If her husband doesn't like to wear his ring every day, she might ask if he'll wear it for special occasions. If he is loving in every way, the ring is a minor point.
- Also Ringless, But I Know He Loves Me