What to do, what to do?

We got a package in the mail today. It's from Christine and Dave. I don't want to open it.

I'm pretty sure it's Christmas presents for the kids. It bothers me a lot that that's good enough for her, that as long as she sends the obligatory Christmas present, she's done her grandma job. That would never have been okay with Dad. I know it with everything inside of me. If he hadn't seen Ben and Sam and Hannah for six months, he wouldn't have been satisfied to just throw their presents in a box, likely the same presents she bought for all of Dave's grandchildren. They have to be fair.

It might not be Christmas presents at all. A few months ago she sent the kids birthday presents along with a necklace Ang and I had given her the first Valentine's Day she was without Dad. She was so upset and depressed and missed "her sweetheart" so much. We felt so bad for her, we found the prettiest, most expensive locket and put Dad's picture in it for her. She doesn't want it anymore, and gave it to Mike to give to me. It's sitting in the bottom of a drawer now, because looking at it hurts me. And because the relationship that the locket was meant to celebrate was, according to her, a lie.

Is there more hurt waiting in that package? There might be. It might be more stuff of Dad's. Or mine. She has a picture my gramma gave me when I was in university that she felt my gramma should have given to her. It could be anything. If there's a letter, I will not be reading it. I'll tell you that much.

It's probably just Christmas presents for the kids though. My guess is, there isn't even a card or a note. There wasn't anything like that with their birthday presents. Or the locket.

So, what is the right choice here? I'd really like to send it back unopened. What do you think I should do? What do you think I should tell the kids, if anything, if it's presents for them? Should I just give them to them, tell them who they're from, and not say anything? What if they ask why they didn't see her? They haven't asked about her yet, will this make them notice that they never see her anymore? It's wrong to keep their presents from them, right? Or is it? I don't know what to do.

I know only one thing for sure, I need some kind of counselling to get myself sorted out, because I am totally good with no contact at all. Like she's dead. I feel peaceful. But faking a relationship is out of my reach right now, and maintaining some contact feels like faking it to me. That person is not my mom, she's not the person I knew. And it upsets me to be in any way involved with her. (And don't even get me started on Dave.) And that means I'm not okay. I'm not as okay as I would like to be.



  1. Oh Becky. I wish I had the perfect advice for you. I have a few thoughts on it. They are on opposite ends of the scale, of it being a good thing with an amazing apology letter and possibly the start of something good, or ...well I won't even say. But if you do decide to open it, I think I would let Glen do it. (To save you possible heartache) Love you! Auntie Sue.

  2. Why would she send Christmas presents timed to arrive around your Dad's birthday? Why? I don't understand any of this. Wouldn't a reasonable person send presents a little closer to the actual holiday? Or was she thinking you would bring the kids by to pick them up? That doesn't make sense given the circumstances. This is not the person I knew at all. The locket story made me cry at all that is wrong with this whole scenario. Who does these kinds of things? Even if somehow SOMEONE was able to convince me that my marriage of so many years was a lie, what would be the point of sending back the locket? None of this makes any sense. And if I came to that conclusion on my own...without anyone convincing me...well, again. There is no point in sending back the locket. Throwing it away would have been a much kinder option. There is no kindness of any kind going on here. I'm trying so hard to remember our trip and the things that were said and did I see signs of this coming and really, honestly, I think I did. I didn't think much of it at the time, but the little references and snide comments were all leading here to this craziness and I am not sure and can't remember if she had even met Dave, yet. But she was already starting to open up this rift. I am sure of it. And I don't understand it at all. So I am remembering back when I divorced my first husband and his mom was so angry with me. I had painted her a painting of a covered bridge and given it to her back when he and I were first married. She hung it on her living room wall and enjoyed it greatly. When Michael and I divorced and she was so angry she showed up at my door with that painting. I refused to take it. I told her that I had painted that for her and if she didn't want it, to throw it in the trash. She took it and left. Many years later, she had softened in her stance against me and asked me gently if I would like to have the painting back. She wanted to put a picture of her husband on that wall. She was starting to get Altzheimer's at the time and I went ahead and took the painting and hung it on my wall, because she was no longer giving it in anger. I plan to give it to my daughter soon, as a piece of my artwork and a memento of her grandmother. As her Altzheimer's, it was funny to me later that she forgot that Michael and I were divorced and even after she "forgot" everyone else, she always remembered both of us. Anyway, I don't know why I am rambling on about that, but the locket story reminded me of it. There is never any real way to know what is the right thing to do.

  3. Part two....It said it was too many characters. Sigh.

    Personally, I would not be able to not open the package. My curiosity would demand it, no matter how much it hurt. If it is nothing but presents for the kids, I would probably just give them to a charity. I wouldn't want to have to look at them among the children's belongings and be reminded how stupid things are. And why bring up a subject that has no where to go? Sending it back unopened might satisfy the mean, vindictive part of you that wants to make a point, but I'm not sure it will feel as good as one might think. (in the long run). I think you would have a tendency to always wonder what was in there. If it is presents and you decide to give them to the kids, I would try to do it as flatly as possible. If they ask why they don't see her, just be honest and say, "I don't know." Because really, you don't. It is not wrong to keep the presents from them, anymore than it is wrong to give them to them. You have to preserve your family life in whatever way works for you. If you think it will raise more questions than answers, by all means, just avoid it. This happened once with Jack and Dennis and I won't go into details, but what I did was just put the things away until I was able to deal with the "fallout" and not let my feelings overwhelm the situation. It was just too hard at the time to face how they might react. As it turned out, they didn't even care. They had become cold to the situation due to the lack of interest. Sadly, your kids will probably do that, too, eventually. There is no right or wrong answer here. You need to do what YOU need to do. Or have Glen open it, like Aunt Sue said. Or open it and smash everything with a hammer. By not sending it back you leave her wondering if you got it and what you did with it. And that is probably the thing that I would really do. Not send it back. Not acknowledge it. Not have my kids acknowledge it. Just nothing. I hope this helped and I hope you will let me know what you did do and I wish we could talk on the phone. I love you. And maybe you do need some help. But faking a relationship is never the right choice and no contact is a perfectly valid solution. I have more to say, but I must go because Nikki is waiting on me to go to the grocery store and I don't want to be out until midnight. I love you and hope this made some sense. If not let me know and I will try again. Big hugs!!!!!!

  4. Oh Becky. I'm so sorry this is happening to you. As for advice, I wish I could offer you that, but, as hard as it is, this is something that only you can really decide.We, all those who love you, can only be a sounding board to help you decide. So, if glen opened it and found only toys would your children benefit from having them or would it hurt them to know that Grandma never sees them anymore. Would talking about it be therapeutic or just painful? But, if there is something of your Dad's in there would you want it? And, like Auntie Sue said, if she is reaching out for some kind of reconciliation, do you want to not know about that possibility? I believe there is no right or wrong about whether to give the gifts to your children, That is something only you and Glen can decide.

    Love you,
    Auntie Margaret

  5. It's really rough to loose a parent. My in-laws are very cold toward us, and it is hard for me because I have a whole different sense of what family is. My husband's parents are now elderly but they don't want to be bothered too much about family, they are too busy with their friends to care, with certain exceptions. My husband is not even comfortable with them any more.
    My best advice--we are all only on this earth a short time. Open the box rather than stew over it. The truth will set you free! If it is something for the children it would be nice for them to at least know they are being acknowledged. If it is something that belonged to your dad, it will be a treasure for you. You can always throw it out if it is something you don't really want. Better to live life and move on--with the box open!


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