At the moment, I'm in a state of shock, so apologise in advance if I ramble ...... I've just read in the local paper that J's great auntie Maureen (from his dad's side) has passed away and the funeral is on Tuesday. J ( who's 12) is really upset and is insistant that he wants to go to the funeral.
That in itself seems straight forward but due to family history is really complicated. Obviously, I'm not thinking straight at the moment and all the scenarios are going around in my head.
A bit of the history ....
Me & J's dad split up 10 years ago. Apart from the first 6 months, my ex has not seen J or had any access ( his choice ... didn't fit in with his new life). When his dad decided to stop seeing J, my ex's parents ( J's grandparents) also chose to stop seeing J ... in their words they were showing support to their son ( i know, you couldn't make it up!)
Over the 10 years, I have tried at intervals to reserrect access but just hit brick walls. However , throughout the 10 years, the only member of his family that decided to keep in contact was .... auntie Maureen ( my ex's mum's sister).
Initially, she told her family, that she wanted to still see J and be part of his life. Although, she suffered a lot of opposition from the rest of the family, she ALWAYS sent him cards & vouchers for birthday, Christmas and Easter. I took J up to see her every couple of months and he loved his visits and the joy on her face when she saw J said it all. She always wanted updates on how he was doing at school and we gave her a copy of J's school photo every year.
Over the years, she had upsets with her family about it and after the first 2-3 years, she would keep our visits secret from them to avoid the grief. She would keep J's photo and cards tucked away in a drawer and it was an 'unwritten' agreement that neither of us would mention about our visits to any of the ex's family.
Then about 18 months ago, I received a letter from her saying that it was deeply upsetting for her to have to write to me to say that we would no longer be able to visit her. The letter was pretty vague, mentioned 'family matters', 'everyone's best interests' etc. Totally shocked, I rang her. She said that there had been a MASSIVE family argument and they knew about her having contact with J. In a nut shell, her sister (J's grandma) was not talking to her due to her seeing me & J - she saw it has a betrayal to her son's (my ex) wishes.
Maureen said that the family had said that if she continued to see J then they would cut her off as part of the family. Obviously, Maureen was so upset and was in an unenviable dilemma. After a long conversation, it was agreed that, at least til the dust settled, that we wouldn't visit but she still wanted to keep in contact with J through cards, phone calls etc. Both Maureen & J missed their visits but still kept in regular contact - every 2-3 months.
Sadly, before visits were ever reintroduced, Maureen has now passed away. J was so upset when he found out today, he said he'd always hoped that he would see her again and now he can't. He has asked that he can go to the funeral to say goodbye.
Without doubt, I want to go to her funeral. This woman stood up to her family for the best part of 9 years, to stay in contact with J ... she truely believed J should have a family connection and know his roots. I have nothing but admiration for her and what she did.
I won't pretend that I am soooo nervous and anxious about going. I realise that we have been left to find out about the funeral via the local paper and the fact that no one has let us know personally, that the family are probably not expecting/wanting us to go.
Obviously, my ex, his parents, sister etc will all be there .... none I have seen for 10 years ...... but the love and admiration I have for Maureen will see me through it.
My dad has agreed to go with me for support, as he too used to visit Maureen periodically and do odd jobs for her....our intention is just to sit at the back and pay our respects.
J is adamant that he wants to go too and in any normal circumstances I wouldn't hesitate to let him, as I think at 12 he is old enough to decide himself. However, due to the history of his visits being stopped , that J has not seen my ex or his family for 10 years and that I'm unsure as to whether anything maybe said ..... I'm really not sure what to do.
My dad has said it should be just me and him that goes and maybe take a floral tribute from Joe (as it states family flowers only) but I'm not sure whether my dad is thinking that the ex's family haven't wanted to see J for the last 10 years, why should they get chance now, rather than putting J's feelings first.
Don't know whether I'm thinking of letting J go, to selfishly give me some support ........then on the other hand why should J's relationship with his great auntie not be acknowledged and kept a secret .....
When I spoke to J about the funeral, he said this will happen again when my grandma & grandad (ex's parents) die. Hopefully it won't be for another 6 years. Then I'll be 18 and can make my own descision and would be able to go .......
As always in these situations, I only get one chance, Tuesday, to get it right and make the right descision but at the moment my head's all over the place with it.
Would appreciate anyone's thoughts or advice ......