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'AITA for taking my children away from their grandparents after my husband passed away?' UPDATED 2X

'AITA for taking my children away from their grandparents after my husband passed away?' UPDATED 2X


Grief is incredibly stressful for all affected.

"AITA for taking my children away from their grandparents after my husband d*ed?"

I (34f) met my husband while I was doing an exchange semester in Australia when I was 20. We later got married and I moved to Australia permanently. We have two kids 6f and 4f and I'm 4 months pregnant. My husband passed away 3 months ago. It was and still is horrible. With my husband not being here anymore I want to move back to my home country.

I think it will be good for my kids because the education system over there is heaps better but the main reason is that I need my family. My 4 year old doesn't really have an opinion on it, my 6 year old is excited because my parents have horses. Here in Australia, my husband's parents look after our kids Monday to Friday as my husband and I both had full time jobs.

So, obviously they are close. Mil and FIL are very attached to the kids and love being grandparents. Last weekend I broke the news to them. I didn't expect them to be happy but I was hoping they'd understand. They didn't. It was ugly. They asked me how dare I taking away their grandchildren after they lost their only son.

They said my husband would be disappointed and he'd want his children to grow up in Australia. I had to leave because I couldn't handle the situation. I feel guilty because my husband did want to stay in Australia but mainly because that's where we settled. I don't think he'd be disappointed. I think he'd understand. But I feel so guilty but also angry? I feel like it was cruel of mil and FIL to say what they said.

I plan to come back to Australia regularly because I don't want to deprive my children of their heritage and it has become my home over the years.

Basically, is it wrong to move back home?

People kept it real in the comment section.

[deleted] wrote:

NAH - These situations just come up when a loved one dies. You need your family, and they need theirs. I'm not going to call someone an AH for reacting adversely during their grief, and I'm not going to call someone an asshole for wanting a support system.

Initial_Elderberry wrote:

NAH. Everyone is grieving right now, and all of you have valid emotions. They lost their son and now they're losing their grandchildren. You lost your husband and now you're alone in a foreign land. Family therapy is definitely needed here, but I dont think anyone is TA.

Dull-Community wrote:

I hesitate to pass judgment because this is such a rough and hard situation for you as a parent. But I will say this. Please keep in mind that your children have been raised with your husband’s parents as a constant fixture in their life.

Your kids are too young to grasp what it means to be in Switzerland vs Australia and their grandparents - who have raised them almost as much as their parents, who they have seen nearly every day of their remembered lives - gone.

Going from that consistent exposure to seeing them only a few times a year will not be a smooth transition, and you can’t assume it will just because the 4 year old doesn’t understand what’s going on and the 6 year old is excited “because horses.”

You have to do what is best for your family. But rest assured your parents in law are not being AHs. Your children WILL be devastated, there WILL be an adjustment period, and it will NOT be easy. X

grayser75 wrote:

NAH - but you should at least be honest. The grandparents will be lucky if they see the kids in person again. They will not be flying to Switzerland as they can’t afford it. The cost of living between the 2 countries is massive. I doubt you will be flying 3 kids under 7 to Australia on your own on a regular basis either.

Same goes for long haul flights in your seventies. You need to be realistic about how this will really pan out and not painting a picture that puts you in a better light. What happens when you meet someone else in Switzerland and settle down with them? Will they be planning on traveling with you?

The grandparents aren’t stupid and know this is pretty much it for a standard relationship with their grandkids. This, just on the back of losing their son. You have the right to move back and do what is best for you but don’t sugarcoat it and acknowledge the reality the grandparents face.

Three weeks later, OP shared another update.

It's been nearly three weeks since my last post. A lot has happened since.

First off, we're back home in Switzerland, the kids are okay. As planned we moved in with my family. The kids are bonding with their grandparents and cousins and the animals. They're set up for therapy as am I.

The events leading up to this: I went back to my in-laws to explain my side of the story. I told them again that we would be coming back but that right now I need to make sure that I can be a good mum to my kids. They were very understanding and asked if they could take the kids the next day. I agreed and dropped them off.

However pick up didn't go as planned. The kids weren't ready and FIL told me that they decided it would be best for everyone if they stayed with them for a while as I was clearly unstable. There was screaming, tears, threats and lots of ugly things were said. I called my lawyer who told me to call the p***ce.

Luckily it didn't come to that and they gave me back the kids. But honestly that was it for me. Trust gone. I booked flights for us and arranged what I could in such a limited time span. I told my in-laws that they had seriously hurt my trust and that I would need time to think what this means for the future. They were allowed to say goodbye to the kids in person.

We arrived at home on Monday. The kids already video called my in-laws as I want to make it as easy as possible for them to transition. I am very hurt and disappointed that it had to end this way but also hopeful for the future. Right now I'm enjoying to get pampered by my mum who's very excited to be part of this pregnancy. In the future I'll try and rekindle the relationship with my in-laws.

The internet had a lot to say in response.

justanotherpolyglott wrote:

Hey! As a fellow Swiss I'm glad you made it back safely. I'm sorry about how it all played out but it seems like you made the right choice.

OP responded:

Thank you.

TOGTFO wrote:

You now know what their plan was, to try and act as if you were mentally unstable and take your kids from you. Possibly sticking you in a ps*ch ward to cement their position. I'd be frank with them and say you don't plan on going back now until you get over their complete betrayal and trying to kidnap your children.

That you had thought they were going to make it easy to keep the kids in their lives, but they made sure that is not going to be an easy thing. You're now surrounded by the people you can trust and I suggest staying there and healing until you feel like you want to go back to Australia.

OP responded:

I'm afraid you're right. I just feel bad for my kids.

polishirishmomma wrote:

Don’t go back. They will try it again.

OP responded:

You're probably right unfortunately. My heart just breaks for the children as this means they probably won't see their grandparents again.

sk1292pa wrote:

Grief makes people react in a number of ways, but it seems to me your in laws might have let their true colors slip through a bit. Best you removed yourself when you did. I am so glad you made it safely home and are now in a place where you can receive the necessary love and support, not threats and anger, during this difficult time. Best wishes in this new chapter.

Nearly a year later, OP shared another post.

I (35f) am Swiss and married an Aussie. We mainly lived in Australia. My husband died roughly a year ago and left me pregnant and with two kids. The kids are now a few months, 5 and 7. A few months after my husband died I made the decision to move back to Switzerland. My in-laws who used to look after our kids did not take it well and possibly tried to kidnap my children.

This sealed the deal for me and we moved back. People here on reddit were giving me grief for making this decision and I did feel bad for taking the kids away from my in-laws just after they’d lost their son, so, I made sure to let them video call the kids regularly.

Things have been going really well for us since we moved back to Switzerland. We live on my parents’ farm with my sister and her family. My oldest started school and has made many new friends and they love that we have horses. We were all in therapy but my children are doing great and don’t need to go anymore. They are happy here and are thriving.

Now on to the problem: Obviously, my in-laws think I’m a horrible person. They made that pretty obvious. When we first got back they’d try to talk badly about me on the video calls but because I was listening secretly (I know, I know) I was able to tell them to stop or we wouldn’t call them anymore.

That seemed to work for a bit. But now FIL is seriously ill. He might not have that much longer but we don’t know. Apparently MIL has told the kids that it’s my fault that FIL got sick because I took them away and that was. too much to handle for him. She said some nasty things which made both of the kids cry.

5-year-old doesn’t want to talk her grandparents anymore because they said mean things about mummy but 7-year-old is extremely angry with me. She was very close to FIL and has been convinced by MIL that her leaving caused him to get sick. Ever since MIL has been telling her that I’m the bad guy, I ripped them away, I’m responsible should FIL die.

I really just want to cut contact but I don’t think 7 year old could handle that nor would it be fair to her. I realise that this is a tricky situation all around and I really just want to do what’s best for my kids. What should I do? Cut contact? MIL won’t stop I’ve tried talking to her. How can I minimise trauma for my kids?

The internet shared their thoughts.

vornash2 wrote:

No, this is extremely t*xic behavior and is 100% unforgivable (even after being warned not to talk shit once). Even if moving to switzerland did cause him to get sick (highly unlikely), that's not on you. You have a right to seek out your personal support group in a time of crisis (husband dying).

It's extremely selfish on their part to only consider what's best for them. You need to talk to your 7-year-old about why they cannot talk to their grandparents any longer, and that when she grows up and becomes a mommy herself she will understand why she had to protect you.

She loves her grandpa, but what they said is unfair and immoral to say to a child. 100% no-contact is the only viable solution here. Your kids are very young they will get over it just like they got over the death of their father.

czhunc wrote:

Are they still seeing a therapist? I feel like they should weigh in as this is an extremely delicate issue. Honestly if I were you I would sit within ear reach and as soon as the MIL starts saying something nasty I would end the call immediately. Repeat as necessary.

And just in general 5 and 7 is still a tender age. I don't think there's anything wrong with supervising their calls at all.

booourns82 wrote:

If MIL tried to kid**p your children before and badmouths you to them to the point of blaming FILS likely passing on you (which the 7 year old believes), why would you think going to see them in person would have any kind of happy ending and not just escalate the trauma and possibly endanger your family even more then it’s already been through?

spottedbastard wrote:

First your kids need to talk to their therapist about this. What your MIL is saying could have lasting effects. Second you need to stop the calls with MIL for awhile. And make sure she knows why. Who tells small children they are responsible for someone being sick and possibly d*ing??? And who tells them that after they lost their own father? Your MIL sounds horrible.

Sources: Reddit
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