When you lose access to your grandchildren and you don't know what to do

These days, whenever someone asks me whether I have grandchildren, I tell them I have two. But the truth is, I have five. Three boys and two girls.

I haven’t seen the oldest three since they were tiny, the youngest was only six weeks the last time I saw him – and that was at a distance; how I regret not holding him in my arms.

It breaks my heart to lie, but it’s easier than facing the inevitable questions. People always want to know why – if I knew, I would tell them.

My son was so happy when he became a father. He would boast that he had the ‘perfect family’, a pigeon pair, and a beautiful wife. When the third came along, things started to change. I had no idea my son’s relationship was breaking down. Maybe I would have done more.

As it was, I was completely shocked when he told me he and his wife were getting a divorce. My first thought was, “What about the kids?”

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It all happened so fast; within weeks my son had moved out. They tried juggling the kids around, including one last blessed stay with Grandma for the older boy and girl.

When my son arrived on my doorstep and told me they had all moved to his ex-wife’s native New Zealand, my heart stopped. Without thinking, I blurted out, “But when will I see them again?”

My son accused me of caring more about them than him. Perhaps I did. I mourned the loss of my grandbabies and waited and waited to hear from them. When I asked my son for their contact details we fought again.

It’s now been seven years and my son and I have never seen eye-to-eye ever since. I wonder what he did to make his ex-wife want nothing to do with him — or me. I harbour suspicion, he resents me; we go round and round in circles.

I’ve tried hunting for my grandchildren’s mother on Facebook but to no avail. I’ve been told I have no rights and considered hiring a private detective, but the cost is outrageous.

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The worse thing about this whole situation is that, as much as I love them, I find it difficult to bond with my son’s two children from his next marriage. Seeing them only reminds me of the empty frames where their half-siblings’ pictures should be.

I don’t know what to do next. Perhaps I’m better off pretending they don’t exist…

Do you have any advice for this grandmother? Are you in a similar situation? Share your thoughts and experiences.