Q: Dear Jackie, it’s hard to explain but I will do my best. I have [...]
Ask Jackie: terrible situationCreated by Jackie Highe in Ask Jackie, No contact
Q: Dear Jackie, I am in a terrible situation. My only child Michael had a son to his girlfriend that he murdered. She also had another wee boy who now stays with his other granny. My only grandchild Adam is 3yrs and 5mths old and since the day this horrible thing happened, wee Adam has stayed with the girls mother since that day. However I went to a lawyer a week after the murder because I did not know of any other way to see my grandson, who had stayed with me before this happened. I have been going back and forth to Glasgow Sheriff court since January 2011. The murder took place at the family home on Sunday 12.12.2010.
It now seems there is to be a proof hearing to see if I have to be allowed to see my grandson… I cant bare it; I am in an awful state. This court date is on 16th and 17th April and I haven’t seen my grandson since 25th May 201. My heart is broken. Please can you advise me of anything i can do? I do understand that the girl’s mother doesn’t want me to see Adam, but surely this is not right? I am at my wits end. I used to have Adam all the time, also I work and I have been paying lawyers fees for over 2yrs now. All I want is for both myself and the other granny to bring Adam up equally.
A: I can understand how you feel. Of course you want to be a part of your grandson’s life, but there are factors here that you need to think about. First of all, as I’m sure your solicitor has told you, in law, grandparents don’t have any automatic rights of access to their grandchildren. It’s up to the children’s parents/guardians and, failing them, up to social services and/or the court, both of whom are obliged by law, first and foremost, to act in the best interests of the child.
In these circumstances, when a murder has been committed, both social services and the court will have perhaps felt that by giving you access they would be opening up access to your son and they might feel that this is undesirable.
I gather from your letter that your grandson’s other grandma is raising him, although you don’t say whether she’s been given formal guardianship. But she doesn’t want you to have contact, and this will be a factor in the court’s decision. Put yourself in her place and try to understand how she feels. Your son murdered her daughter – you aren’t the guilty one, but she wants nothing more to do with you. How would you feel if the roles were reversed?
Think about that and then approach social services and calmly, without anger or resentment, tell them how much you love your grandson, and how much he loves you. Explain that he always spent a lot of time with you and will be missing you. Tell them that you feel he should be able to keep both his grandmothers, in a situation where he’s already lost so much – his parents. Ask them to mediate between you and his other grandma and set up a meeting with her so that you can build up a relationship, and maybe persuade her to let you have some access – even if it’s only occasionally, it’s better than nothing.
I can’t tell you that everything will work out, but if you try to build some trust, you may eventually be able to see your grandson again. For both your sakes I hope so.