Supporting Your Kids
Through Tough Times,
Part 2

by Kelly (Veneo)

t’s amazing, sometimes, how the connections made in our earthly lives can still bear blessings when a person passes on. I’m certain that my former mother-in-law, who just passed over, is still lending a hand to improve relations between her son and her grandson — who is my son, Tom.

t’s also amazing how predictions from those who can attune with the energy of another — like in Reiki therapy — really do come true.

ecause I have education and professional experience in child development, adolescent issues and family relations, and because I have the personal experience of first being a child of divorce, then being divorced myself and now remarried — with a blended family that includes my son and my husband’s daughter — I began in the December 2002 issue of Metamorphosis to write this series of occasional articles about the issues adolescents face in these situations.

s I described in Part 1, there was anger, hurt and alienation growing between my son and his dad, brought to a head by an incident when Tom was visiting at his father’s house and his father started knocking Tom around. Because Tom didn’t want to be alone with his father after that, I had asked my former mother-in-law to host their next visit, and she helped us out in that way, even though she was weak from having cancer and was down to 93 pounds. The father-son visit was brief and awkward, but it was a step.

 lot has happened since I wrote Part 1, focused mostly on Tom. I had thought that Part 2 would be about my stepdaughter, Krista. But that will need to wait until later in the series. So much has happened with my son.

n December we went to my hometown for Christmas, which has been our usual routine since we got married. It was my year to have our son for Christmas so I was only obligated to allow my former husband the opportunity to see our son while we were in town. Because the last visit between Tom and his dad was brief and awkward, and he hadn’t spoken to his dad since then, Tom wasn’t all that anxious to see his father at all … especially since Tom had come down with the virus or flu that Krista had just gotten over. He was sick Christmas week and didn’t even want to go. But I thought I would try to get father and son together for a day anyway.

his time around I decided to see if I could arrange the visit at my former sister-in-law’s house, since the last time was pretty stressful on my former mother-in-law who had a reoccurrence of cancer. The pancreatic cancer she had had a little more than five years earlier had returned to her intestines. Since Tom’s grandmother was staying with his aunt now, this seemed like the perfect solution. As it turned out, she had to work that day, so that idea went out the window. The only other option was to call my ex’s brother. I wasn’t looking forward to it, because I knew that he didn’t know about the incident with Tom’s dad hitting him (even though I’m sure he suspected something was up), and that I was going to have to tell him. I knew he and his wife were going to be a tough audience and have a different perspective than the one that I would be offering.

 was certainly right about what I had expected; only it went worse, and he thought that I was just trying to make my ex look bad. I felt like I was talking with my ex on the phone. He didn’t think what his brother had done was a big deal because their dad had done the same kind of things to them … it was just putting your kid in place when they mouth off. Nothing was wrong with that as far as he was concerned. Besides, from his perspective, only Tom and his dad knew exactly what had happened on that day. He found it hard to believe that his brother would have gone off on Tom like that if he hadn’t said something to deserve it (like an adolescent smart-mouth comment or the like). I told him that regardless of what Tom had said, what his dad did was wrong, and that Tom was afraid to be alone with him. I also told him that just because our parents did things like this to us … it didn’t make them right.

hat I asked of him was to provide a safe place for my son to visit with his dad. He didn’t believe that Tom was really afraid to be alone with his father, so he asked to speak with Tom (who was sick at the time; stress-related no doubt). After speaking with Tom, they finally believed me and changed their tune, but they felt very awkward at being put in the middle of the situation. They did agree to do it, though, for Tom’s sake, and felt very bad about the whole thing. I then called my former mother-in-law to let her know about the arrangement, and I contacted my ex about it as well. Everything was fine with everyone until my ex found out that Tom didn’t want to spend the night at his uncle’s house. He called our son the next day after having talked with his brother and finding this out. He had thought that he could take Tom from his brother’s house and take him to his place to spend the night … although that was never the intention on our end. He said something to Tom about being afraid to be alone with him, to forget the whole thing, and that he would send him his “f---ing present” in the mail. He also told him to tell me to stop talking to his family.

o Tom didn’t see his dad over Christmas, but I took him to see his paternal grandmother at her place. She was feeling well enough to come home for a few days and still thought that the plans were on to see Tom at his uncle’s house. I knew that my ex didn’t want me talking to his family, but I felt that that was their decision to make for themselves … besides I sensed that it would probably be the last visit that my son would ever have with his Nanna. It turned out to be a nice visit, and they spent most of it just talking one-to-one. She was trying to find out just what did happen between Tom and his dad in Tom’s own words. She was a Libra, and concerned with relationships, so I know she wanted to help. Tom never did get to tell her the whole story before I returned, but I have no doubt that she got the gist of it by hearing what he had told his uncle and aunt.

om’s Nanna was back in and out of the hospital in January and February. Tom and I kept in touch with her with cards, and my mother tried calling her a few times, so we had an idea of what was going on with her. I was trying to keep my distance by not calling my ex’s family, so as to not incite my ex’s anger. At one point in March, my mom hadn’t heard back from her after leaving a couple of messages, and we feared that she had passed on, so Tom called his aunt’s house to check on his Nanna. She answered the phone and sounded good. She and Tom talked for a little while. Then she told him that his dad was there visiting her and asked if Tom wanted to speak with him. Tom hadn’t expected to hear that and was thrown by this news, since the last time they’d spoken was that angry phone call a few days before Christmas.

om told his Nanna that he didn’t care, but that he was getting ready to go soon. It wasn’t difficult to read between the lines on that one and see that he didn’t want to speak with his dad, so she didn’t push it. She asked him when his spring break was, and wanted to know when he was going to be in town so that she could see him. He told her what our tentative plans were, and she told him to call and let her know when our plans firmed up so that they could arrange to get together. That was Tom’s last conversation with his Nanna. She died five days later … the last day of winter, although we didn’t know right away.

om called his aunt’s house this past Sunday (March 28) to speak with Nanna and let her know when we’d be in town so they could plan their visit. He got the machine. Instead of his Nanna or aunt, Tom’s dad called back the next day (while the Moon was in Cancer, which is also Tom’s Moon sign). Tom found out then … about a week after her funeral … that his Nanna had passed on. Tom and his dad had a nice talk, and his dad asked when he could see him. The plans are for the Saturday we are in town. Tom feels all right about being alone with his dad at this point, but is not ready for a sleepover just yet. (All in good time.)

e asked his dad if they could go and see his aunt and cousins, as it has been a long time since he has seen them and he really wants to. His dad said that that sounded good and that he’d call his sister and see if it works for her. I was happy to see Tom take more initiative with his father as far as letting him know what he wants to do with the time they have together. I told him that as long as he feels safe to be alone with his father it’s OK with me … that I trust his gut/intuition on this. My gut is feeling better about it too, just from picking up on the tone of the conversation between them.

om was in a much better mood after having finally spoken to his dad after three months. It will be six months since he’s seen his dad and 10 months since the abusive incident that initiated this whole process. It certainly did stir up a big can of worms, but hopefully it was the catalyst that my son and his father need to change their relationship for the better.

 had a Reiki session, for healing, five years and three months ago. The lady who did the session connected with my spirit guides and told me a lot of things about me and my ex. Everything she said was right on. She told me that it was going to take him about five years before he got himself together where he would be able to be a good father to our son, but only after hitting rock bottom first. It feels like the time has finally come…

 can just see my former mother-in-law up there smiling down upon her son and grandson … helping to bring them together from the other side. She wasn’t able to accomplish this in life, but her passing has enabled this to happen. I have no doubt about her hand in that. Much Love, Light and Godspeed to you on your journey home, Mary.