BEL MOONEY: Will our daughter EVER let us see our grandchildren? 


Despite all the darkness, human hope is based on the instinct that at the deepest level of reality some intimate kindness holds sway.

John O'Donohue (1956-2008, Irish Poet and philosopher)

Dear Bel

Sometimes you advise acceptance because not everything can be fixed. My dear husband was 70 this year, I am 60, and more than six years ago our much-loved only daughter, Rose, cut her entire family off.

My heart was totally broken. We adored our granddaughter, but the break happened when she was nine months old.

Now she is seven, but we've never been allowed a photo or received an acknowledgement for any gifts. Indeed, Rose tried to prevent that by getting a harassment warning.

I fought it with the help of our MP so now we are allowed to send gifts, but it's soulless never getting an acknowledgment.

My niece had some contact with Rose but then she, too, turned against us and sent me an anonymous (but we know it was her) letter blaming me.

Since then, my sister has also cut us off, though we were never close. Happily, I am close to my twin brother and his eldest son, my nephew, and his wife and their family. That brings us much joy.

Regarding Rose, it doesn't get easier. She has been very nasty and unkind, blaming my depression before she was born. I consider myself fortunate not to have been on medication for the past 15 years — no thanks to her. I should add that we did argue a lot when she was growing up.

'My niece had some contact with Rose but then she, too, turned against us and sent me an anonymous (but we know it was her) letter blaming me'

'My niece had some contact with Rose but then she, too, turned against us and sent me an anonymous (but we know it was her) letter blaming me'

The pain makes me feel sick inside when I think of her and two more little granddaughters, never seen. I wrote to my son-in-law's parents in April but got no response. I write from time to time and attach photos but never hear back.

We tried to visit three times last year and each time Rose locked the doors and drew the curtains.

She used to ring or text us each day; I have so many loving cards and letters from her.

We have a son who has made enormous efforts to keep us happy since the estrangement. His partner of three years is lovely, too. They live four hours away but have room and make us welcome.

They hope to have a baby and she has two teenagers (whom we love). My son refuses to contact Rose any more, judging her behaviour despicable.

We do have a good life socially and nice holidays, but the heartache is always there.

Do you think we should accept that nothing more can be done? Or should we still send money and gifts — even to little girls we've never met?


You emailed me a wonderful picture of you with Rose, hugging in happier times, as well as a copy of a beautiful handwritten card, thanking you for being 'so supportive' in the run-up to her wedding and adding 'you will look so beautiful in your lovely outfit'.

There are three kisses and then the PS: 'Don't know what I'd do without you.' This evidence made your story even more sad.

So what went wrong? Aware that you'd written before but never had a letter printed, I searched my archive and found three earlier emails, in 2010, 2011 and 2013.

That last one ended with these words: 'Any words of comfort would be appreciated! Online, I found other ladies in this sad position and, to my dying day, I will never understand how children can be so cruel to the very people who gave birth to them and nurtured them.

'In my case, I did my utmost for her for 28 years. I am sure I made mistakes and got it wrong sometimes, but I am human. I know I did my best.' Reading through the long, earlier emails reminded me of a story so fraught, so complicated that I felt defeated. What went wrong?

That's what I thought then — and still wonder.

This is a saga of a difficult young woman at odds with her mother much of the time, a hurt father, angry texts, illness, then an obstructive, hostile and angry husband …and so on.

On the one hand, I have the loving snap and card; on the other a complex account of destructive relationships — including (in this new email) a sister and her daughter who stopped speaking to you, too. I'm not being flippant when I wonder if this sickness is contagious. Forgive me, but this terrible ongoing row is beyond me.

I simply do not know why people cut themselves off in this way — but suspect Rose is being manipulated by her husband and his family. Who knows what lies have been told about you? Equally, who knows how mistakes you may have made have poisoned her? What actually triggered the final row? Two weeks ago, I had a letter from another mother in a similar situation, which you may find relevant.

This mother writes: 'Why should we, as parents, keep on swallowing the hurt and try to keep the peace simply as a means of remaining in contact? Everything we have ever done for her has always been thrown back in our faces, and so to take her back would mean more of the same, I'm afraid.

'She is now approaching 40 and we have no idea whether she is alone, living with a partner or even has a family herself. We certainly made friends and boyfriends welcome into our home, only to be told later on by her that she didn't even like us, and according to her, neither did her partners.'

That reader just wanted me to know that there comes a point when all things have been tried, but nothing can be done. As you have noticed, sometimes I say that, too — and in your case, I feel it is too painful to go on sending gifts with no response.

It seems to me that now you badly need some protection from your own love and her apparent hatred, and that your husband requires the energy you are spending on this prodigal daughter. So perhaps it's time for the gifts to stop.

Silence from you might give her pause for thought. Or not. But at least it would enable you to lavish emotional attention on those who want and need it.


Do boys only fancy girls in short skirts? 

Dear Bel

I am writing in regard to love, relationships and life. I know I am just 15 but I find myself thinking about these things often.

I go to an all-girls' school so I don't know too many boys. I can talk to them but I feel I never get looked at or noticed by any boys.

I prefer to dress modestly, decently and with a sense of class but the girls who get noticed are the ones who wear crop tops, short dresses and shorts that can almost pass as underwear.

I'm worried that this will carry on throughout my life. I want to fall in love at some point but I always come to the conclusion that I won't find anyone — simply because guys with great personalities and guys who are gorgeous (inside and out) will manage to get gorgeous and pretentious girls.

I guess I just want to be given a chance. Do I really have anything to worry about? Are boys always going to be like this?

I think I get way too absorbed in movies. I always walk out thinking that I will meet the love of my life or a boy will approach me for casual conversation as they do in movies. Ridiculous. Am I right?

I hope it all works out, but I can't help but think I may be one of those people who never experience love. One of the unlucky ones.


Today, the sun is shining as I sit writing, and I wish I could be outside. Instead, I am beaming you all the light and the natural beauty I see from my window because I so want you to cheer up.

Can you get up now and go and look at something beautiful? Anything will do. A pot plant!

Something to help you make that imaginative leap into the wider world, with all its promise, all its hope.

Your problem is one most teenagers will recognise — and older readers, too.

Babies in their cots are longing for love; it's an essential part of the human condition. But as we mature and develop the yearning becomes so pressing.

To this day, I can remember being 14 and looking miserably in the mirror, thinking myself so ugly it was inconceivable that any boy would ever want me.

Your observations about fashion, style and popularity are spot on. Although it's always been the case that overtly 'sexy' girls get noticed, the situation seems worse than ever — because when Miley Cyrus (to name just one) dresses like a hooker, millions of young girls assume it's the way to go. But there are always the quiet ones who are different. One of the biggest challenges is being brave enough to be yourself.

It might help to view life as a series of stages. So at your age you are faced with examinations, then comes the time when you (perhaps) go away to college and have more freedom, and then the period when you have to think of jobs and so on.

I want you to see all these stages as positive and exciting and demanding different aspects of your wonderful, many-faceted nature. If only you could enjoy each stage and not waste time by wishing for impossibilities. Let real things happen when the time is right.

Now — come on! You write: 'I want to fall in love at some point but I always come to the conclusion that I won't find anyone.' How come you're a fortune-teller? You are far too intelligent to think you can second-guess the future so I beg you to stop the negatives and revel in the fact that you have no idea what glorious things are waiting for you in the stages ahead.

'Unlucky'? Nonsense! You are lucky to be in school, to know who you are and how you want to look, to enjoy movies (nothing wrong with that), to have dreams and to be able to make real plans — unlike so many people in this difficult world.

Everything is waiting for you. And the first step towards being loved is being lovable. Reach out to others (male and female, young and old, rich and poor, known and strange) with all your heart and soul and the rest will follow — like sunshine after rain.


And finally... Your loving suggestions for a final resting place

Last week's second letter asked: 'How can I grieve without a grave to visit?'

The response from readers moved me greatly. There were so many caring suggestions; here are just three extracts.

David: 'When my mother died, she wished to be cremated. She was particularly fond of a specific area in a region of mountains in the UK. I scattered her ashes in this spot. On my mantelpiece, I have a photograph of her with my family.

'Next to it is my picture of the place where her ashes are scattered: a place of stunning scenery, gurgling streams, birdsong and butterflies. I have no need to go down to a cemetery to remember her. I do that every day when I look at the photos.'

Sue: 'My husband's happiest place in the final few months of his life was in our conservatory, where he could look at the garden and read. His ashes are still in the urn, tucked discreetly beside his chair, nobody but me knows they are there and I find them immensely comforting.


Bel answers readers’ questions on emotional and relationship problems each week.

Write to: Bel Mooney, Daily Mail, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT, or e-mail

A pseudonym will be used if you wish.

Bel reads all letters, but regrets she cannot enter into personal correspondence. 

'I realise a lot of people may find this strange, but everyone copes with things in their own way, and this is mine.

'I still talk to him and I miss his knowledge most of all, after the man himself.' (Another reader, Anne, also kept her husband's ashes at home, and still talks to them.)

Neville: 'The ashes of my beloved wife of nearly 60 years are resting in a favourite biscuit tin on her rise and recline chair. Also on the chair are three pictures: our wedding day, my wife in her beloved garden and a picture of the beautiful tree in autumn leaves that we were looking at when she dropped dead . . .

'So now she is in my company every day and her ashes can be put in my coffin when it is my turn to be cremated and so, in the last words of a lovely poem I found, 'we can snuggle up for ever and ever'.'

I'm grateful to everyone. I sent everything to 'Lynne', who tells me she was touched and comforted by all your thoughts.




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