Thursday, November 08, 2007

An Ethical Dilema

I've mentioned before that I haven't spoken with my father in quite some time. I can't tell you why because I don't know the answer to that myself. My parents were divorced when I was very young. I would see him every second weekend, and when he moved away, I would be flown out to see him. I adored my father when I was little but when I was about thirteen he stopped calling.

I've made contact with him a couple of times over the years. I told him I was getting married, that he has a grandson, that I'm not looking for anything from him. Each time ends the same way. The contact stops as quickly as it began.

It used to be very upsetting for me but I've come to terms with the fact that he doesn't want to be a part of my life, my family, and that there is nothing that I can do change that. I know that I've done all I can and that's all anyone can do.

Mister K has similar issues with the maternal side of his family. His mother used to bake pies for him every week, we would drive up to his grandmother’s house and he would mow the lawn. They had what I thought was a nice relationship. I'm not exactly sure what changed everything. It may have been that she resented that he reunited with his father (her ex-husband) combined with the stress of tragically losing her mate, sadly, we're not exactly sure.

When we were getting married we sent his mothers side invites. Every member from that side of his family declined to come (which was not unexpected). His mother took the opportunity to write a hurtful note on the RSVP card, which basically said 'have a nice life'. When his grandfather died, Granny K begged his brother to be a pallbearer. He refused. When Granny K fell ill they did not visit. When she passed away, they did nothing. The poor thing never understood why her grandson didn't want to be family.

His mother called yesterday to say that his grandmother, her mother, is in the hospital and not doing well. It's hard to know what to do. After all of the pain that they have already caused for Mister K it's hard to see him struggling with this decision. Should he visit her? Should he confront his mother? Should he just be satisfied with knowing that his grandmother is ill? Should he extend the olive branch again and risk being hurt all over again?

It's easy to say, "Of course you should make amends! That's your grandmother!" or "How would you feel if she died?" but it takes more than blood to make people 'family'. Family IS incredibly important to us because of our experiences with our parents. That is what makes this a particularly difficult dilemma. I can't imagine letting anything get in the way of my relationship with my son. I'd go to the ends of the earth for him. Even when Mister K and I are at heads we know that we can depend on one another. I might get angry with them, I may not like what they do, but I'll love and care for them always. It's a pretty terrible feeling when you feel you can't depend on the people that are supposed to love you the most. I don't want my little family to be hurt any more than they have been, especilly not by people who have hurt us before.

This is going to be a tough one.


  1. This is a tough one.

    I have witnessed both sides of this coin:

    When my parents married, my father had three children. The eldest, Kim, decided that my mother was to blame for all the badness in her life. She declared war on my mum and eventually, it got to the point that my Mum told my Dad “It’s her or me”. Kim left and until I was 14, I never knew anything about my older sister. Dad had a severe heart attack. Suddenly, Kim was in our life again. Now, through forgiveness and a lot of hard work, Kim and Mum are friends. Kim’s son is one of my good friends and just married my best friend. I know know my sister.

    On the other hand: My boyfriend’s parents split up when he was about 13. The girls when with Mum and the boys with Dad. They didn’t have a very good relationship with Mum after that. A few years later everyone reconciled until Mum started back up with her manipulations and self-centered actions. Pat’s Dad died and left the estate in his daughter’s hands. Mum went crazy and turned against her children – all but the one girl who had stuck by her. Mum tells the kids she is either in charge of the estate or she is disowning them. We have only seen her once (at a wedding) since and haven’t heard from her otherwise. Pat’s brother is getting married on Wednesday and she hasn’t even seen the engagement ring – and she’s not coming to the wedding

    So, this is what I think: If he wants to visit his grandmother, then I would say go for it. That, however, does not mean that he has to open any doors to his mother. He should make it clear to her that he is here for granny, and that is all.

    I think that even family can turn on you, and can cause the deepest hurts. If you know you are healthier without someone in your life, then I say maintain that, no matter what they want.

    It’s a tough time. I wish you both the best in this :(

  2. Thanks for sharing that.

    I think that part of the problem is that he isn't really sure what his feelings are.

    Ah well. At least he knows that no matter what he decides that we're here for him no matter what.