Grandparenting from afar: ‘I feel like I am mourning a death’

Oct 04, 2021
One heartbroken gran is struggling to come to terms with not living in the same state as her grandchild. Source: Getty

Distance is tricky for any family, it can be hard to maintain close relationships and stay in contact regularly. But it’s especially heartbreaking when you can’t be there to see your grandkids grow up.

One distressed gran is now asking for advice after revealing her daughter, son-in-law and four-year-old granddaughter are moving away. Taking to the online forum Gransnet, the gran explained the family, who had been living with her, broke the news via a note.

I really need advice on working through this,” she began. “My granddaughter, daughter and son-in-law have been living with us for about four years to help them save money. Our granddaughter will be four in April, she has lived with us since she was born. We were blindsided last month when they told us they were moving to another state.

“They didn’t sit us down and tell us. They wrote it on a piece of paper, which was very upsetting. I feel like I am mourning a death. I just don’t know how to work through this.”

The gran was not alone in her worries with many other grandparents sharing their hardships of long distance and suggesting ways to solve the issue.

“Give it some time, it is so recent,” one Gransnet user wrote. “With today’s technology, it is so easy to stay in touch. It will get better.”

Another suggested: “You can keep in touch with your beloved GD [granddaughter] via Skype or Facebook. We do this with our GC [grandchildren] in New Zealand every week. At least you won’t be restricted from visiting and will be able to get there easily enough.”

However, others commented, while it’s normal for the family to eventually move on with their lives, it’s the manner of how they broke the news that was quite shocking: “Hi, I feel for you! Four years of having them share your home to enable them to save … and then telling you they are moving out by way of a piece of paper!! Rude in the extreme. Did they write and ask to move in via a piece of paper? You’re probably a mix of emotions at the moment, time will help, hopefully you will get a call and the conversation you deserve.”

Another added: “It’s not the fact they’ve left. Of course this had to happen eventually, and quite right too. It’s how they told you! Do you think they felt so sad, they couldn’t face you? Did you discuss afterwards, or did you literally find the note after they’d gone?”

Read more on how to deal with being a long-distance grandparent here.

Do you live far away from your grandkids? How do you deal with the situation? What advice could you give this gran?

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