If you’re expecting an egg–ceptional article for the holiday, you might dye waiting for it. This Easter, I’ve decided not to make myself a basket case trying to come up with just the right thing. Perfection isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Instead, I’ll offer a heartfelt Happy Easter to all my peeps and link to past articles I hope you’ll be hoppy about. If you don’t like this idea, then eggs-cuse me. Sometimes, I’m just fresh out of clucks. I hope you’ll be a good egg, tuck your hare under your Easter bonnet, and crack a smile—it’ll benefit us both.
Oh, for peeps sake, let’s get crackin’!
Parents of estranged adult children: Reinvent yourself – Here’s a look at the spirit behind so many Easter traditions, renewal.
Define yourself—More than a discussion on what it means to be “estranged.” This article helps parents realize: “One way to move toward recovery is to no longer allow the betrayer to define you, your feelings or your thoughts about yourself.”
Should I forgive? – Articles on forgiveness haven’t been all that popular. This one offers a renewed look at the old idea, aimed to help even when there’s no apology.
Do your questions keep you stuck?—Parents of estranged adults are often plagued by questions. The big WHY? and ones about the future (even your child’s). You may not have answers and the questions might just keep you stuck. In taking charge of your well-being, you get to the bottom line: “You can be you. And you can be well. ”
Kneaded–What Easter would be complete without something about rising? Easter really is about resilience, and this very personal article gets at that.
Parents of estranged adult children: Your new normal (no, it’s not about Covid-19). For caring parents who did their best, a new normal that keeps them wrapped in a cold blanket of rejection isn’t normal at all. Fight for your future.
Bottom of the Easter basket
In putting together this basket of oldies-but-goodies articles, I’ve come out of my shell. Now it’s time for you to get hopping and show some bunny some love. Consider putting Done With The Crying in your own Easter basket (I promise, it’s much more than puns!). And be sure to share your thoughts with me and other parents by leaving a comment. I’m all ears!
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My name is Sassy
My husband just passed away from cancer March 29 (a week ago). How do I deal with this sadness ,
and the sadness that my estranged daughter (6 years) is not part of this grieving with her 2 brothers and I ?
I envy the letters above that depict seeing the light one day, and they decide there will be no more grieving for their estranged adult child. How do you get to that point? I got Sheri’s book for christmas as a gift from my boys, and I haven’t read a page. I don’t know why. My heart is breaking for the loss of my husband, and for the loss of her. I want to hide in my closet and cover my ears from everyone and everything.
Dearest Linda B.,
I just read your letter and it touched my Heart deeply…I am with you in Spirit in your loss of your husband…as well as in the estrangement of your daughter…
You say, “I envy the letters above that depict seeing the light one day, and they decide there will be no more grieving for their estranged adult child. How do you get to that point?”
It reminded me of this morning when I received the 1st Covid vaccine…After waiting over a year, it truly is something to be Grateful for…Yet I had twinges of pain thinking of those that I love so dearly that could care less if I was on the planet or not…I immediately breathed in, stopped the story “ruminating” in my mind, and shifted into the “Light” of Gratitude and Joy…I care about me, my cat family Bennie & Beauty, care about me…
Ruminating seems to unconsciously overtake one’s being…Being consciously in the moment in the Light of Awareness brings us back our Being, to Ourselves…I’m sharing the following definition of ruminate from online dictionary:
1. think deeply about something.
“we sat ruminating on the nature of existence”
give thought to
give consideration to
turn over in one’s mind
2. (of a ruminant) chew the cud.
“goats ruminated nonchalantly around them”
So, “seeing the Light” shifts from time to time, as our attention & awareness shifts…The mind tells us many stories, trying to make sense of it all, to cope with it all…I don’t listen to my mind very much anymore…It is a Beautiful mind when I go into the “closet” of my Heart & Soul…Into the Stillness, Peace, and Emptiness…empty of the “story” of the loss and pain…My “closet” is always here…in each moment, each breath…Maybe that’s the “gift” in all of these life experiences…it brings you Home, into your Heart…
So there is a time for 1st meaning of rumination, thinking “deeply”, remembering, etc., but I remind myself that, relative to the 2nd meaning of rumination, “chew the cud,” I am not a goat and definitely do not ruminate “nonchalantly chewing the cud.” So I consciously stop “chewing the cud” of the past and/or future…
You also say, “My heart is breaking for the loss of my husband, and for the loss of her. I want to hide in my closet and cover my ears from everyone and everything.” You are in deep grief…Be gentle with yourself…and know that this too shall pass… There is a time for everything:
For everything there is a season,
and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
You also say, “I got Sheri’s book for Christmas as a gift from my boys, and I haven’t read a page. I don’t know why.” (What a Beautiful gift from your boys…)
I, too, even now, cannot read a page at times. I have the book, workbook, and ordered the audio-book from Amazon Audible…Sometimes the only time I can focus is in the shower listening to Sheri’s words…Little by little it helps…Sometimes listening to the words seeps into the mind and heart more easily…
Linda B. Thank You for opening up your Heart and sharing in your letter…
May You Linda B., Beautiful Sheri, and Each Dear One In This Online Community Be Blessed In Mind, Body, & Spirit…
In Light, Love, & Gratitude, Carrie-Ann
Linda, sending you hugs and sympathy in the loss of your husband. That is quite enough to grieve through at one time. I don’t know if you can kind of “set aside” your grief for your daughter, for awhile at least…and give yourself time to just grieve over the loss of your husband…and I advise putting away any and all photos of your daughter for now. At some point you may be able to dispense with more of them, or perhaps all…though I have not gone to that point of getting rid of all of our photos yet. (I did throw out or give away most of the wedding photos as that was when the shunning began with our child, however). We do have limited contact via skype a few times a year…but not much of a real relationship with our oldest child and family. It has helped me to read Sheri’s book a few times…and keep it handy for rereading at times…plus other helpful books here and there too. A loss is a loss…no matter the type…and I have grieved plenty over our situation too. It has been now over 20 years since our ordeal began…and we have not seen them even briefly for over 3 years now (living a continent away due to the needs of another child and her family is the reason…but frankly, I find it easier to be far away). I do not make a lot of effort to try to keep contact anymore. Because of the grandchildren, I still send gifts for birthdays etc. But generally never hear back. And have not gotten a thank you in some time. Once the youngest is of age, I intend to drop all attempts at contact with the grandkids too, if the shunning continues. I do not expect otherwise. Who knows what they have been told all these years. I am glad you have other children…my others have been of comfort to us. We must focus on those who WANT connection and leave the others to GOD. May GOD comfort you and help you as you go down this path you have not chosen!!
It was 18 months ago today that our only child, our son, severed ties with our entire family. I’ve been in mourning ever since…some days better than others. Today has been especially difficult because we are Christians and today is Easter Sunday.
As part of the estrangement, he made sure to let his dad and I know that he no longer believes in God. In fact, in his few raging rants since that day, 18 months ago, he made sure to say every cruel and hurtful thing he could say to us.
My heart is broken. But I now must face that I can never have what I really want, and that is the sweet, kind boy we raised, the young man who loved his family and was a joy to be with. What we are left with instead is a cruel, dishonest, blaming, rage filled person we don’t even recognize.
I pray the Lord will heal our hearts and help us to move forward in joy.
I’m so sorry to hear your story. I can so relate to it. Please let your faith comfort you and know that others are praying for you and your family. Try to find something every day that brings you joy.
Sheri,if youre going for the Guinness record on puns, I think you nailed it.
I think we need to keep a sense of humor about almost everything. Thanks for the laughs.
My son was very close to me until he was 37. He was a handsome, bright, athletic fellow who was charming to many. He became a physician with all our family’s support, took an esteemed residency, and became Chief Fellow in his last training as a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist. He shut his father out in the 10th grade and me much later when his career was well established.I have heard nothing from him since 2011 at Christmas. His father died in 2019 and we heard nothing. I will be 80 years old soon and I expect to never see him or hear from him again. I do not know why but it does feel like the worst punishment one could imagine.
I am so very sorry for your long term estrangement. It is heartbreaking, hard to deal with, and confusing. I have been dealing with this for about 14 years with my daughter. Our estrangement began as soon as she graduated with her Masters in Psychology. We had all rallied as a family to put her through school. After reading Sherris book (Done With the Crying) I was shocked and comforted to know that we are not alone in this. Many parents have reported the same dismissive behavior once a high level degree was earned . We must remember that no matter how painful this is, it is not a reflection of us as parents. They choose who they want to be and there is nothing we as parents can do about that. Take care of yourself because you matter!
I have 15 years of estrangement now, and to the dear woman, Susan, who posted that she cannot imagine a life free of the pain, I want to let you know that getting through this takes work, hard work. It is trauma, at least that idngow it has felt to me, and over the years I have learned to cope when the sadness overwhelms. Sometimes I just have to accept, other times to distract. We have all lost so very much, but I have gained a level of empathy and openness to others that has brought me great joy. I love my estranged ones (yes, plural) and always will. But self love and care are so important. You have been through one of the hardest experiences a parent can face and you need, and deserve, good things in your life. The pain does become bearable and satisfaction and even happiness will enter your life again. Those Easters were gifts you gave to your family. They will be happy memories again. It takes time. Get through this your way in your own time, and know that so many people are with you.
Grace you are so right, having estranged children in your life is one of the hardest things a parent can go through. Dwelling for your children that are still alive and not dead but they have decided that they don’t want anything to do with you ever again, it’s just a nightmare. Not understanding and our questions of why and sometimes hearing that little voice in your head that maybe I was a terrible parent. I thank God everyday for giving me the strength little by little to accept what is happening and to start healing my own way. I was so sad and crying every day that I was neglecting my husband and our 12 year old daughter I guess I can say I was there for them but my mind was always on thinking and just hoping and praying that maybe that day was going to be the day I would get that phone call from my estranged children and everything would go back to normal. Till this day that phone call or that knock on my door has not happened. The love for your estranged children will always be there and the praying for that one day they will realize that they made a mistake and that they want to be a part of your life again will never go away. Every day I remind myself that I deserve love and respect because I did my best as they’re mother and I have to be there for myself and the people that want to be a part of my life. Getting to this place in your life is not easy and it takes so many tears but we have to tell ourselves that we deserve so much better, I am proud of myself for deciding to not let it control my life in a negative way I consider myself a warrior.
It was in my 7th year that I hopped up and began a new perspective on this estrangement of my adult child. At that moment I realized I would have never known how strong I had become with this happening. I learnt to forgive my child who was not sorry. I learnt to accept an apology that I never received. It is now 11 years and out of disperation I was contacted. I still do not know our future. I still have no expectations. I have strengthen my faith knowing it has nothing to do with me. I continue to forgive him now. I continue to pray for him and his family. I think loving thoughts and send lots of love to them, I have learnt that the person who owns the anger has the problem to over come. Finally I have realized that I am the only person who loves him enough to still love him. I do not support his choices but I do support his growing and learning about life. So, in the meantime; I now live with humour and happiness. I no longer care what other people’s judgements are. I no longer compare my relationships to their relationships. I choose to be content knowing I was a very good Mother. I know that I was the best Mother I could be and one day he will learn that too. Laugh, Love and Learn as Life is so short. Just keep moving forward until you realize your life is about your lessons in self love too. If I can move forward my friend, so can you……. 🙂 Thank you Sheri for having the courage to share and start a website like this. It was a blessing to find your book and know I was not alone in this journey.
Sheri, I appreciate your messages knowing that I am not alone in missing our estranged daughter. Some of the responses to your Easter note broke my heart. Although I don’t have the answer to why we are experiencing this heart ache, as a Christian, I do know the One who can give peace in the midst of life’s storms. He sees our tears, He hears our cries, and He cares. Only God can change hearts, but He never disappoints those who seek Him. May all your readers find comfort on Him this Easter.
Hi Barb. Thank you for your short and very sweet comment. I’m a Christian as well and ask God all the time why he allowed this to happen. Of course, I never get an answer. I have always heard that God gives us a free will. I do know he is the only one that can change hearts. I ask him if I did something so terribly wrong for my son to abandon me. I not only see him but my 3 three grandchildren as well. Anyway, I’m trying to not give up on him and lose hope but honestly it’s hard. Anyway, I just appreciate what you wrote and I do know that God is with me on this difficult journey. I hope you have a wonderful and blessed Easter! God bless you always!!!
I always feel bad during any holiday and I’ve been estranged from my daughter, her husband and my three grown adult grandchildren for several years now. I did email all my friends an Easter Hello. Some of them are also going to be alone tomorrow, so I’m not the only one! That helps knowing that others have to think of ways to make it a good day for themselves, whatever that means. I plan on taking a walk outside and will make myself a nice dinner and set a pretty table, just for ME. My grief is like “waves,” comes and goes and all when I least expect it. I am now 70 y/o. There are more years behind me than ahead of me. I must make the best of those years. I am responsible for my own happiness. I guess we all are. Good luck to all of you struggling with the heartache. Knowing we are not alone certainly helps. I wish all of you a Happy Easter however YOU choose to spend it. Really, it’s just another Sunday. Do something special just for you. You are worth it! Be happy in your own way.
Sheri, Although I understand your attempt to make some puns to try to lighten the load on the hearts of others, your words just hit me in the wrong way. I made some Easter treats for a dear friend’s grandchildren today, for their celebration tomorrow, and I started crying as I delivered them to her this afternoon. I felt so lost, and I know I am blessed that my friend saw my pain and immediately put aside her preparations and had me sit down and spend time with her. All I could seem to think about was what Easter used to be. Getting new outfits to wear, family dinner, putting baskets together full of fun items and candy. It was never a big religious holiday for me, but it was a harbinger of Spring, I’m afraid I no longer have any faith, in a religious way. Over the past 2 plus solid years of estrangement from our daughter, I find it very hard to take any comfort from praying. It’s hard to believe anyone is even listening anymore. I miss my daughter so much, and after reading something she posted on Twitter, realize she most likely will never return to us. She is our only child, and it looks like we will be imprisoned in this never ending cycle of heartbreak and sorrow forever. It seems like it is easy for some other parents to move on but I truly don’t understand how. Letting go of hope, of missing her, of trying to figure out what I did wrong means letting go of her, and I haven’t found a way to do that. I think I must be the biggest failure as far as recovering from estrangement – I just can’t find a way out of this deep, dark chasm.
You’re not a failure. You’re a mom. Having said that, what do you want for yourself? Your choices are to be sad forever and struggle, or to take charge of your future. Choose the second one. It doesn’t mean you will forget her or give up hope, necessarily. But it means you choose what’s best for you. You might still feel bad on the holidays, but you can shift a bit. You might forever feel sad at times, but you don’t have to feel sad EVERY moment.
Hi , May I say, your not alone. It’s been almost 6 yrs and I still haven’t been able to to let go. My daughter planned her move and followed through on the day of her 16 th bd. We had a few shopping dates since then and she did come home with her laundry a few times as well as some random text messages asking to meet up but always canceled at the last minute. I haven’t heard from her since the last text 3 years ago. She doesn’t respond to my emails anymore. There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t have my moments. I go through the motions of preparing for various holidays just to have feelings of normalcy but it’s not the same.
My 3 adult children are all in their 50’s and I know they are disappointed in me that I can’t just say to hell with her. You adopted her and gave her the best life and she turns around and does this to you.
I was an empty nester for 10 yrs before I brought her home from hospital as a newborn. She was my life and the best child ever growing up. She has become a beautiful amazing actress and it pains me that I’m not part of her life.
Well, one of the central themes of the Easter story is one of betrayal. The betrayal of Christ by one of his own. Next, if you listen to Handel’s Messiah, there is the heartbreaking but comforting refrain, quoting the scripture ‘He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief’.
I feel the same as if it was yesterday. It’s been
almost 6 years.
Susan, my heart breaks as I read your words because I know exactly the pain you are in. My estrangement is 14 years from my daughter and with that the loss of 3 grandsons. One I have never even met. There isn’t a day that goes by where I do not think of how it all turned out for me and wonder how this could have happened. It has taken me years to recover from this. And by recover, I mean simply, not crying everyday, being angry and feeling like a failure. I have examined this from every angle, sought counseling, and tried everything to ‘fix” this estrangement. The simple truth is, she doesn’t want her family and has made her choices. There will be a void and sadness that lurks in me for the rest of my life. With that said, I have reclaimed my heart by doing things I love to do, taking time for me and realizing the true value of the job I did as a mother, and allowing myself to be happy. I deserve to be happy and so do you! It takes time, be patient with yourself but I implore you to make your happiness a priority. The icing on the cake for me was Sherris book (Done With the Crying). Best wishes on your journey 🙂
Susan, I felt that way in the beginning, except I did pray, and I believe that is why I was able to move out of that “dark place”. I know prayer may be difficult for those who are not accustomed to it. But I do it, and it can be difficult at times, as my mind easily wanders.
Sometimes looking up your EAC on social media only makes things worse. It is very tempting to do so, but you may be better for it. In my case, my daughter’s instagram account is private, and I don’t go to her facebook page, because they know when you’re checking up on them…and that is another form of “interacting” that is not healthy for me. Your post has inspired me to include estranged mothers in my intentions, as I pray for others. And I hope to see the day when churches include bereavement for parents who have experienced estrangement, a different type of “death” that in many ways, is much more difficult to handle.
Thank you for all the encouragement. Years have passed and I thought I would never be able to stop hurting and crying. I read the books,joined support groups but couldn’t stop the unbearable loss of my daughter and my 5 grandsons who called me Ama and loved me as much as I loved them. While I am crying as I write this I rarely cry or think about the loss of my daughter today. You see I had come to the point that I really couldn’t see any reason to live.
And thought of how to finally end it. I even knew it would not bother my daughter in the least. The only thing that kept me from going through with it was my dog Buddy. Who would take care of him. And my elderly neighbor who was alone in this world and depended on me. It took couple of years of fighting to live but one day I realized nothing will change even if I die. So I’ve built a new life. And have learned to take care of myself and enjoy life again.
I may never know what caused my beautiful daughter to turn on me. I know it is something abnormal.
I hope others that are hurting can somehow find a way to live again.
Hi Sherry. I just got done reading your comment and can relate to how your were feeling when you talked about taking your life but sparing it b/c of your dog and neighbor that needs you. I felt the exact same way after my son abandoned me back in June 2019. I also have 3 grandchildren that I don’t see anymore as well. My son’s wife wanted me and my ex and daughter out of the picture for a long time so she finally got her way. They accused me of taking her steroids after I helped my DIL with her last chemo treatment. I never knew she was on steroids to begin with, Long story short, I think they just came up with an excuse to keep me and the rest of my son’s family out of their lives for good. It would have been better if he just came out with the truth that they didn’t want anything to do with us anymore. My son told my daughter that it was either his marriage or family. Who does that? Any way, I thought about taking pills and ending my life many times. The hurt and pain that goes with losing my son and grandkids is unbearable at times (as you know). What spared me of it was that I have a very close relationship with my daughter that lives with me. She will be 30 this year. I thought if I took the pills that would just confirm their way of thinking that I’m a pill addict. Anyway, your messaged encouraged me. Holidays are the hardest so I’m just hoping today goes by quickly. It’s nice to know there are others out there that can relate to how I’m feeling and what I’m thinking. I’m so glad I stumbled across this site. It really helps a lot and talking to others like yourself. Sending you lots of love, hugs and blessings!
I was an abused child . I was given for the.day when I was 5 to a guy that just got out of jail. At 1 I pulled myself up at the end of my crib and on the dresser was a a open box of double edge razor blades. My 20 year old sister and my mother were going out but my sister insisted on checking on me. She went in and found me covered in blood- I was shaving. There were many horrific incidents in my life- so many I stopped crying. No one cared then, no one cares now, no one cares.
Someone does care about you…YOU. If not, Ami must start finding things to love about herself. They may not have been able to care back then. Forgive them and move on. The future is YOURS!
I am sending you hugs, Ami…and want you to know I am so sorry for all you have suffered!! I too suffered abuse from my dad for many years…well, till he died the emotional abuse went on. Even that has marked my life, and sounds much less than what you suffered. So you surely must be oh so sad. I hope you can find someone to comfort and help you. I would suggest a Jewish Rabbi if you live near one…often they are trained to help and there should be no cost to you. One who helped me some years back told me that with some parents, the best thing you can do is to break all contact with them and live your life in all the best ways possible…because even so doing is a type of parent honoring thing to do. (Both parents were gone by the time I talked to him, but it was comforting for him to say that as I always believed the Bible and what it taught). While most of us, if not all here, probably have been shunned for no good reason, there is the fact that some forms of mental illness…well, there is simply no way to find a resolution, other than no contact perhaps. We live in a most difficult time…but we have some places online to find solace, fortunately. Take care of yourself…wishing you the very best…you are worthy of love, Ami…You were put on earth for some reason. I hope you will find out what that purpose is for your life. Do not give up searching!! Even your name has meaning…to my knowledge it means “beloved”!! Remember that.
Another year of remembering where I hid the eggs and who was hot or cold as the eggs were normally all found by the eldest anyway… who was never happy to let the younger one find theirs. How even back then we tried so hard to be fair during the hunt but still pointed out the hidden eggs to the younger chickies.. lol.. but someone would always feel bad no matter how many time you played or tried to make it even.
How I wish for those moments to come back just one more time this coming Sunday. When the only problem was who found the other siblings egg and if someone cracked an egg that they didn’t color:( and it was on purpose….
If we had only known then that the eggs someday would stop getting dyed and being hidden.. and it would soon be our hearts that would end up so discolored…wishing, hoping to be found and to be nestled back into the safe happy basket that was so important and never forgotten… even if it was put together at 2am from CVS 5 hours before Easter Sunday morning .
I think I missed my introduction thank you for having the site I’m sure I will find some peace of mind when I listen to everyone else’s pieces and we can all help put ours back together again:)
Thanks so much Sheri! It’s tough to get through the holidays, but you always have good words for us who have estranged children & grandchildren. I appreciate all you do. I feel like you are family! Happy Easter!❤❤
Ourhappyfamily…you nailed it. It is those memories that creep up whether it’s are you hot or cold or who’s going to eat the nasty cookies that were left for Santa!
Holidays seem to bring it all back to the forefront. I guess we just have to keep those memories in a treasure box next to our heart and thank God that we have them!!
Well done, Sheri.
I have a friend who loves puns and although she is not estranged from either of her children or from her grandchildren, thankfully, I know she will enjoy reading your clever post. She was a great support to me during Christmas time, when I had trouble coping with my daughter’s ‘dutiful’ but unfriendly first contact since the previous Mother’s Day. Of course your book, Done with the Crying, was invaluable. I only wish I had revised it before Christmas night.
I understand…It’s not “making light of the problem of estrangement”…It actually is shining light on the darkness of estrangement…Thank You for your time, energy and thoughtfulness in all of your words…I hope they bring comfort & smiles to all the Dear Ones that visit this website…
In Friendship, C.A.
What “pun” Sheri!! Enjoying your play on words this morning…Thank You for the revisit on past posts that truly are timeless and ever-so-helpful…
“Hoppy/Happy Easter To You Sheri & All In This Online Community!!! May You All Be Blessed In Body, Mind, & Spirit…
In Gratitude, Peace, Love, & Joy…
Hi Carrie-Anne! Thank you for your note! I always feel a little leery about having fun because I would not want to make light of the problem of estrangement. We really must laugh though! It’s good for us. Thank you. I really appreciate your words!
HUGS to you,