Dear Coleen: My daughter’s punishing me over mum’s funeral


Dear Coleen

My wonderful mum died just as my and I were about to go off on a caravan touring holiday in France.

Having made all the necessary arrangements for my mum’s humanist funeral (on my own, I might add), I have discovered my daughter won’t let my husband or me see our granddaughter because of “the way things are between us at present”.

She seems to think I’ve left her nanna on a cold slab for almost three weeks, which is obviously not the case. I don’t understand why she would use our granddaughter as a weapon.

Not only do I feel very lost without my mum, who I adored, I’m finding it very upsetting not seeing my little granddaughter.

I’ve spent a lot of time mulling over the situation and I now feel very angry and broken hearted that my daughter would treat us like this.

My mum lived with us for eight years before she had a stroke, which meant she had to live in a nursing – something I never wanted for her.

I have arranged the funeral exactly as Mum wanted it. I don’t know how to get through to my daughter. I feel like screaming at the top of my lungs, ‘I’ve lost my mum, you’ve still got yours! What should I do? I don’t have siblings I can ask for advice and my husband and son would just feel like piggy in the middle.

Coleen says

Emotions are running high – your daughter is obviously very upset at losing her nanna and she’s lashing out at you, maybe for abandoning her as well as your mum. She knows not seeing your granddaughter is going to hurt, so that’s how she’s making you pay. I agree, you should never use children to win points or hurt another person – it’s immature and, actually, it’s the child who ends up losing out.

But, although it’s hard, put your granddaughter to one side for now and concentrate on your mum’s funeral and building bridges with your daughter. Call her or ask her to meet you for a coffee, but don’t make it about your granddaughter.

Speak to her about your feelings for your mum and how you want her to have a good send off, which means the two of you putting your differences aside at the funeral.

Why not be the bigger person and say you’re sorry if what you did upset her, and explain things from your side.

I also think a gentle reminder that life is too short to fall out wouldn’t go amiss either and that you still have each other. People deal with grief in different ways – there’s no right or wrong way – but let your daughter know you’d like it if you could support each other. Hopefully, when the funeral is over and your daughter has a bit of time to reflect, she’ll look at things more sensibly.

And I’m sure she won’t want her own daughter to miss out on seeing her grandparents. After all, it sounds like she had a wonderful relationship with her own nanna.

* More of our agony aunt Coleen Nolan’s advice on your , family, health and relationship problems


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here