An update on my trip to locate my daughter and hopefully reconcile with her.
On my first day in the UK I went to the address that she was last at. There was no-one home and the neighbours on either side were also not at home. As it was Saturday there did not appear to be much I could do so I drove to friends for the weekend. We visited Cambridge on the Sunday and on the Monday I drove back to the family I was staying with.
Their son, who was away for the weekend had returned and on Monday evening he drove me back to the old address where we found the new tenant home but she had never met my daughter having moved into a house that had been vacant for a month. However the next door neighbour was very helpful and invited us in and went out of his way to assist. He called the owner of the house that my daughter had lived in but she had no forwarding address. However this chap said he was certain that my daughter was still in the village because he had helped to load the removal van and they had made frequent trips. His daughter said that she knew the name of the road where my daughter had moved to so we drove there and parked. Then we walked the road, knocking at every door where a light was on and asking if the people knew which house my daughter had recently moved into. A couple of people mentioned a family with two children and this did not seem right, however checking the following day with my son revealed that her partner did have a child from a previous relationship that may or may not be living with them. It was an extremely difficult thing to do, knocking on strangers doors but I must say than no-one was rude to us and many tried to be helpful. Eventually we had to concede defeat and drove back home.
The following day I went to the letting agents and asked to see the boss and explained my mission to him but he confirmed that the data protection laws prevented them from giving me her new address and all they could do was to contact her and ask her to contact me. Whilst I understood their position with regard to the law it was very difficult to accept this and I went back to the car and cried my eyes out and then phoned OH. He suggested that I go to the local police station and try and get some help there. I found the police station quite easily – it is a drop-in centre manned by volunteers and a very gentle police officer invited me into the back office and took all my details and confirmed that he could not pass on my daughter’s address if she did not want contact but he undertook to track her down and go and see her on my behalf.
I later heard from him that he had spent 20 minutes with her and she was adamant that she wanted no further contact with us. He said that she seemed rational but was disturbed that I was trying to contact her. When he left he said to her that he hoped that if he had to knock on her door again it would not be with bad news from South Africa but even that failed to soften her heart.
She then sent my son an email saying that she would meet with me on condition that it would be the last meeting and the “harassment” would stop. Needless to say that all attempts to set up this meeting failed and I now believe that she said that just to get her brother off her back.
So I returned having not seen my daughter or my granddaughter. The trip cost a lot of money, especially as I had to pay a penalty to rebook my trip after OH had his heart attack but I had considered it money well spent if I got the desired outcome. At least I know that I have done everything within my power to reconcile with her, and she knows it too even if she is unwilling to be reconciled.
Before I left the UK I sent her an email saying that I would not contact her again but that she knows where to find us if she should have a change of heart. I’m not expecting a miracle anytime soon.
Our son and a good friend and ex pastor of ours who knew her very well are convinced that she is mentally unstable and has concocted an alternate reality in which we are the enemy. Having told her new partner this she would be exposed as a liar if we had in fact met up. Personally I don’t know what to think, I have no idea what goes on in her head anymore. The girl I raised and with whom I had a very good mother-daughter relationship does not exist anymore for whatever reason. I have to make my peace with that and concentrate on OH and my son and daughter-in-law who have been so supportive.
Whilst away I developed a sore throat which turned into a chest and ear infection and I returned home very sick and without a voice. I now have my voice (croak) back but I am still coughing a lot and feeling weak.
Also whilst I was away a good friend of ours had a severe stroke and was flown to Cape Town by helicopter. His wife and family moved in with OH as we live near the hospital and poor OH had to counsel and support the family as they were told there was no hope of a recovery, the brain damage was just too severe. He passed away in the early hours of Sunday morning so I came home to a house full of sad and emotional people. Because I was so sick we were not able to attend the memorial service on Wednesday but today our son and daughter-in-law are going to our holiday home and taking J’s ashes with them to return to the family.