New Perspectives on Brokenhearted Grandmother
Dear Annie: I must disagree with your advice to "Brokenhearted in Ohio." These adult children should not have to be reminded to call or send a card to their grandmother on her birthday or any holiday. They are being very disrespectful, no matter how busy their lives are.
Beyond her apparent focus on expensive gifts from the past, Grandma likely feels unloved, disrespected and forgotten. We need to show more love and attention to older adults because they truly are easily forgotten. This Ohio grandmother feels more hurt in her heart than bitterness or jealousy, and my heart hurts for her, too. -- Disagreed With Your Advice
Dear Disagreed: Thank you for your insightful letter, and thank you to my readers for keeping me constantly thinking about new approaches to life situations. Your letter illuminates the core issue: The grandmother feels unloved and forgotten -- feelings I pray no one ever feels. The best way to feel love is to give love; therefore, I suggested that she reach out more to them with love. But you are right to focus on the raw feelings she is expressing. I hope that all grandchildren and parents who see this letter will pick up the phone and call their grandmothers.
Dear Annie: This grandma gave love, attention and gifts to her granddaughters, who now ignore her. All you did was criticize her current attitude. How about some empathy? She is not getting what she put in and feels sad about it. I am certain your response, which totally lacked validation, made her feel even worse. -- Empathetic
Dear Empathetic: I agree that by focusing on going forward, I failed to honor the grandmother's feelings. In fact, the situation is incredibly unfair to her, and she is not alone. Several readers faced similar situations and found texting to be helpful for improving communication between grandparents and grandchildren, as you will see in the following letters.
Dear Annie: The letter from "Brokenhearted Grandma" struck me because my wife and I felt the same way about our children and grandchildren: that we had given them so much but they never gave anything back.
I talked with my oldest grandson about this, and he asked if I could start occasionally texting and video calling him. He was 12 at the time. At first, I was reluctant, not knowing how to text or use FaceTime, but he kept walking me through the process and now we communicate constantly. This has brought us much closer, and we feel closer to his father (our son) as well. -- Social Media Pro
Dear Annie: My grandkids are busy and rarely remember to call me. I fear I will lose them if I don't stay in their lives. I have a rich and colorful relationship with their mother and stepdad, but I just didn't know how to bridge the gap with the kids.
Our solution is texting. It helps me build rapport with them, ask meaningful questions, get replies and discuss future plans. -- Trying Hard
Dear Annie: An advantage of modern life in America is that we have mobility and can move wherever we want. One disadvantage is that we can lose touch with our families, and I think that is what befell the grandma who does not get Mother's Day or birthday cards from her grandchildren.
In many countries, the extended family lives under one roof, so there is almost daily contact. The type of negligence that the woman is experiencing results from family members not seeing one another. Out of sight, out of mind. -- Geography Is Important
"How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" is out now! Annie Lane's second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to email@example.com.