Encouraging Words Needed

Anonymous writes, “Our 39-year-old daughter has been married for 12 years. She has three gorgeous little boys, ages ten, seven, and four. We have not seen them nor been allowed any communication with them, or her, since June 2020. That was the last time we spoke to the boys via FaceTime…

In October 2020 she sent me an email, subject headed “Requirements for Reconciliation.” There followed her list of every mistake she says I’ve made since the boys were born. Accusations most of which I have no memory of (intensive chemo treatments for stage 4 cancer) or I truly never saw as hurtful. My husband read the email and agreed with me. Trust me, if he thought she was right he’d tell me. I had our son read it (he’s five years younger and he and his sister have never gotten along) and he also agreed. He, too, would never hesitate to say “Well mom, she has a point…” or “Mom, sometimes you do…” After her list of all my failings, she then said that I was to “apologize for everything now and in the future.” And “I love you and I forgive you.” Apparently, she does neither. She said that my words caused her to have mental and emotional issues and therefore I was causing her to be harmful to her children. In order to save her kids, it would be necessary to eliminate me from her life.

She’s had emotional and mental issues since she was very young. We spent our lives walking on eggshells around her. I used to think she was like a too tightly wound spring that could snap at any moment. She did drugs and alcohol as a teen and into her early 20’s. We tried everything to help her, including interventions, counseling, longs hours of talking it all out.

I am convinced that if I drop to my knees to beg forgiveness (for what I don’t know) they will absolutely believe they can now stomp down on me and hold the boys hostage for every slight. I can’t do that. In any case, I’ve never replied to her. I don’t know what to say. I agree with our son who advised “Say nothing. She’s put you in a no-win situation. If you apologize she wins. If you react to defend yourself, she wins.” We also found out that they sold their home and moved to another state, only because my husband looked up her husband on LinkedIn. We did find their new address.

We’re 65. My cancer could return at any time. We have no idea what they’re telling the boys about why they can’t talk to us anymore. I did try to communicate with her in-laws and was immediately rebuffed with “We’re sorry for the friction.” We had been friends until this. It’s all so heartbreaking. I need some encouragement for anyone that has gone through or is currently going through the same, thank you.”

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