“You will lose someone you can’t live without,
and your heart will be badly broken,
and the bad news is that you never completely
get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news.
They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up.
And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that
never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold,
but you learn to dance with the limp.”
It is amazing what can take place in a span of twenty-four hours. Yesterday the wife and I were grandparents to two beautiful little girls . . . this evening we only have one granddaughter. Due to unforeseen circumstances that were beyond the control of anyone, there is no longer a relationship between my granddaughter Emily and us. Either she nor we had any say in the matter as it came down to the final straw between her parents. Through heated and angry words that cut both ways Emily’s parents agreed on a proposal thrown on the table—our son, the prodigal son, would relinquish all parental rights and responsibilities to his daughter. The paper will be drawn up and that will be it . . . the fighting will end. This is a death of a relationship.
Death in any form is never easy to take, but at least in a physical death the actual presence of the deceased is gone. In the death of a relationship that is not the case, the “other” still has a living presence. There is always the chance—and the hope—that the relationship might rekindle through circumstance. There is always the chance that the “other” might be bumped into on a crowded street. Mourning the death of a relationship, just as it can be in a physical death, can last a lifetime for those who are involved. Why? Because there is always the question of “what if?” Either way there is always a reminder . . . a memory . . . and hope. Unfulfilled hope is the most difficult to endure.
The situation between the prodigal son and the mother of our granddaughter was never good . . . a lot of animosity between the two. It was like playing with matches and gasoline whenever the two of them talked. Whatever the case, the relationship was not good for our son as he felt beaten and abused . . . but I also know that he can throw it as well as he receives it . . . it could not have been a bed a roses for the other person involved in this. So, enough was enough. In order to survive a deal was thrown out on the table . . . give up the daughter or pay hell for the rest of your life. I imagine that for the two of them another 20 to 25 years of this fighting and bickering was more than either one of them could handle . . . for that reason the deal was struck.
Basically, through the information I have been given, our son—the prodigal, will sign off any legal responsibility and connection with little Emily. He is to have no contact with her . . . pretty much for forever. From there Emily will be adopted by the father of her three sisters—whose mother is not married to. Our son will lose everything in relation to his daughter . . . he is to walk away for forever. From what I have witnessed this is probably for the best because it was never going to get any better between the two of them. The door to the relationship with Emily was slammed shut. It was a matter of survival for the two of them.
A gesture of kindness was offered to the wife and I . . . we could continue to have a relationship with our granddaughter . . . as her mother saw fit. All initiated by Emily’s mother on her time and as she pleased. But, she assured us that we could still have a relationship. Whether she understands it or not, this was an act of cruelty on her part. How could she ever expect the wife and I to have a relationship with Emily and still call ourselves parents to our son who would have no access to his own daughter. This was an offer that neither one of us could accept . . . it would hurt our son too much . . . maybe even push him away to the point that we lose him . . . in the end we would have lost two . . . little Emily and our son. We could not do that. We could not be a part of such an act of cruelty—knowingly or unknowingly.
In less than twenty-four hours the wife and I have lost fifty percent of our grandparentage . . . it is a death of a relationship. There is a brokenness in our hearts that will never be filled . . . it will always be there. As much as we understand it, we will always be wondering—deep within the recesses of our minds and hearts—what little Emily is growing into. It will never heal perfectly . . . there will always be a limp . . . we will always wonder . . . what if?
I am not sure if any of this makes sense. I do not want to hurl stones in the direction of anyone involved. I know that I will never fully understand, but yet at the same time I have to wonder. It is not easy to contain the tears of heartbreak . . .
My dance with my granddaughter was way too brief . . . I remember—my body remembers—how easily she conformed to the shape of my body as I held her in my arms and eyes as she slept. But I will dance again . . . there might be a limp, but it will be a dance. Someday little Em and I will get to dance . . .
. . . who cares if we limp. Yeah, a lot can change in a span of twenty-four hours.