Let me start out by saying that I am sorry for the way that things have turned out between us. This is not how I wanted our relationship to be. When I married Jeff, I had visions of the perfect life, the perfect marriage, and the fairy tale ending in my dreams. Sadly, it didn’t turn out that way – at all.
However, there are some things that I need to say to you before any attempt at a "relationship" is made between you and Daniel. Honestly, at this point I am not even sure that I want him to have a relationship with any of you – this is something that I have struggled with for a long time, not just since Jeff's death.
My life, and Daniel's life changed forever on May 6, 2009 when I asked Jeff to leave our home for the last time. So many things happened leading up to that night, and I am quite sure that you know little or nothing about any of them. I'm fairly comfortable saying that I doubt that you know about the majority of the times that I had to call the police to our home because Jeff was in a drunken rage. I doubt that you know about the time that he choked me when I was 6 months pregnant with Daniel, or the time that he knocked me flat on the floor and almost broke my glasses, or the time that he kicked me because I finally figured out that he was hiding the bottles of booze in his boots. I'm assuming that he didn't tell you that the reason that I finally asked him to leave that night was because he was so intoxicated that he had pulled a knife out and was waving it around in front of the kids like a raving lunatic.
I doubt that you know about any of this. Why? Because since May 6, 2009, you haven't asked. You haven't picked up the phone to call and check on the well-being of your grandson. You haven't sent a letter explaining your feelings toward me. You have made no attempt at contact at all. To be brutally honest with you, that pisses me off. As far as I'm concerned, you wrote Daniel out of your lives more than two years ago. You weren’t there for Daniel when we lost our home and were within days of being on the street because Jeff refused to authorize the mortgage company to talk to me. You weren't there for Daniel when we lost the van because Jeff refused to work with me to renew the tags on it.
Jeff always used the excuse that because I had filed the PFA against him (after he threatened to kill me, by the way), no one in his family could contact me. Well, guess what? He left here on May 6, 2009. The PFA wasn't served to him until around mid-December 2009. Where were the phone calls during that 7 months? Where were the letters then? There was no legal reason at that time preventing you from contacting your grandson. YOU CHOSE NOT TO.
Even while the PFA was in effect, there was nothing preventing you from contacting Daniel. NOTHING. One call to me would have confirmed that. One call to the local police department here would have confirmed that. Did you do it? Nope. You chose not to have contact with Daniel. For the record, Jeff's visitation with Daniel was not limited during that time either. The judge informed him during the hearing for the PFA that he could have contact with Daniel ANY TIME HE WANTED TO, but he also chose to ignore him, his own son.
After the PFA expired, it took less than 12 hours for Jeff to call and start harassing me again. Did you call to check on Daniel? Nope. Again, you made the choice to ignore him.
Did you bother to call me and let me know that Jeff was sick? Or that he had been admitted to the hospital? No. Had I known, I might have allowed Daniel to talk to him on the phone one last time. But you robbed both Jeff and Daniel of that chance.
When Mary called to tell me that the family wanted to have a "relationship" with Daniel, I was angry. How could anyone who ignored a beautiful, smart, funny, amazing little boy for 2 years be deserving of having a relationship with him? You don't deserve anything from him. Nothing. He didn't deserve to be written off by his own flesh and blood – he didn't make that choice - you made it for him.
One thing that I don't deserve is the blame for Jeff's death. It is not my fault. I didn't force him to drink bottles upon bottles of booze every week. Yes, alcoholism is a disease and it clouded his thinking, but guess what? There's treatment for the disease – he made the choice to refuse that treatment. Mary informed me that he was in such a "deep, dark depression" because I wouldn't allow him to have contact with Daniel, and that it was that depression ultimately caused his death. What kind of a mother would I be if I allowed my toddler son to have a conversation with someone who was so drunk that his words were slurring? Yes, most of our phone conversations ended by me hanging up on him – but that's because I don't deserve to be spoken to like he did, and I don't have to be subjected to a drunk, either in person or on the phone.
I don't really care what you opinion is of me. You don't have to like me. But you have an amazing grandson here that you have ignored for more than two years. And nothing that you can do can make up for that, and nothing you can say will make me forgive you for it. You can come up with every excuse in the book, and I don't care – the point is that you never made the effort. Distance shouldn't be an issue – in this day and age, family can maintain a relationship from opposite sides of the world, if they choose to do so.
Like I always told Jeff – "it's all about choices". He chose to drink, he chose to refuse treatment, and those choices ultimately led to his death. You made the choice to ignore Daniel. I made the choice to remove myself and my kids from a potentially dangerous situation.
Don't get me wrong – I am absolutely devastated by Jeff's death. I never knew that it was possible to hurt this much, even after more than 3 months. I still loved him, and in a way I still do. I always hoped that he would get the treatment that he needed and that he would once again be the man that I fell in love with, and that we could make another attempt at having a real family again. I never wanted things to turn out the way that they have, but I had to do what I did in order to protect my kids and myself.
Daniel is sitting here on my lap as I type this. He's drawing pictures in a notebook and talking a mile a minute, and every now and then he turns to me and wipes the tears from my face. He has no idea that half of his family has ignored him for the past 2 years, because I haven't told him. He's too little to understand. His life consists of the family and friends who have been here for him without fail, and he is so happy and healthy and well-adjusted and smart because of the positive influences in his life. I refuse to allow negativity into his world right now – he is too young, and he has plenty of time as he gets older to deal with that.
If you are going to be a part of his life, I ask that you respect my feelings. As I said before, I don't expect you to like me or to agree with the decisions that I made, but I ask that you respect them. I did, and continue to do, what I believe is the best for my family. I will not tolerate anyone belittling me (or Jeff) in front of any of my children. I will do anything that I feel that I need to do to protect myself and my kids from any threat or negative influence out there.
It's up to you. If you want to have a healthy, positive relationship with Daniel, I give you my blessing.