84-year-old Maggie is being denied contact with her grandchildren, after years of protecting them from their drug-addicted mother.

I am an 84-year-old mother and grandmother, recovering from breast cancer. After many years of caring for not only my grandchildren but also their drug-addicted mother, I have now been completely shut out of their lives. My son has been reduced to supervised visits with his children on a fortnightly basis. 

My son, his wife, Karen (that’s not her real name) and their children came to live with me after Karen admitted that she had a drug problem and could not look after her family. During this time, I experienced many outbursts by Karen, but I continued to support her and care for her children and my son.

I had devoted my whole being to Karen and the children, nurturing Karen through all of her ‘darkest moments’ and caring for the children on a daily basis for many years. During this time the children were often left in the care of their father and me 24/7 due to Karen’s constant absences from home, sometimes at unknown locations.  I believed, in spite of many dark moments, we maintained a strong loving relationship, envied by all our mutual family and friends who are willing to testify to this.

Karen and I exchanged and declared our support for each other often, and I always welcomed her back into the family without question. By her own admission she was mentally unstable for quite some time , admitting to me that  she was bi-polar, and ADHD , and I always treated her without condemnation or judgement, not reacting to her death threats, nor threats to burn down the house with us all in it and destruction of my property etc. I was always there to support her on her journey to recovery.

While Karen and the children were living with me, I had to call police to my home on several occasions during psychotic and violent tirades by Karen. She was always able to talk her way out of being taken into care by agreeing to leave the house on some pretext she was either going to an AA meeting or to a friend’s home. Even with signs of her physical attack on my son the police would not act unless we made an assault charge. This was not what anyone wanted knowing that she was, by her own admission, mentally unstable.

After many years of caring and unconditional love and support for my son, his wife and his children in a happy and loving environment, it is difficult to comprehend Karen’s despicable actions over the past 18 months or so. Not only have the children been denied any form of contact with me, but that of all other paternal members of our family, including their son’s Godfather, without explanation.

Karen’s change in attitude followed a 000-call made out of my concern for her and the children. This call was made after I found Karen totally intoxicated (noted on police records) after having spent three years in AA. Her demeanour and actions in the previous two days raised my concern and I feared she was in danger of returning down a dark path of drug/alcohol abuse, and that of her association with disreputable persons.

I felt compelled to ring the police for help. The police video shows a darkened house and police knocking loudly on the garage door where she was. Karen admitted that she had a friend over but denied drug use. The police chose to believe her story, not mine. This resulted with me having a police charge hanging over my head for having made a “vexatious call”; a charge that carries a 2-year prison sentence.

The charge against me did not surface until 6 months later. Karen’s mother had a friendly relationship with a detective who also ended up making damning statements to the Family Law Court, full of unfounded accusations deeming my son a monster capable of murdering his ex-wife and children. There are no charges in place nor any evidence to support these claims and this detective has never interviewed or spoken with my son re any such accusations.

My day in court regarding the ‘vexatious call’ ended up being adjourned after a wait of eight hours. At this announcement I witnessed the detective, Karen – and her AA sponsor high fiving and hugging each other as if they had won. How the DPP would find it necessary to charge (at public expense) an 84-year-old woman battling breast cancer with a crime that calls for a two-year jail sentence is beyond me. If and when my case is finalised, I will be taking my own civil action against the DPP, if I should live that long.

I have found that even the Family Court lawyers are totally biased. My son is now being judged by a 24-year old female ICL (Independent Children’s Lawyer) with little or no experience.  Needless to say, Karen has told lies proving herself to be the perfect single mother, coming back into the family following two years “on the streets” due to drug abuse.

No one in the legal system has considered all the evidence, including the fact that Karen has a criminal record which resulted from her biting my son whilst he was trying to check her bag for drugs. She was arrested on that occasion, and the contents of the children’s money boxes were discovered in her bag. Yet they believe all the lies Karen has told about me and my son.

The battle now is all around the children. Karen has had full sole control of the children for the past 18 months with not a single person monitoring her. My son was finally allowed supervised visits at my home after having not seen or heard from the children in 12 months. He felt it was in the best interest of the children, as he was not getting any co-operation from the ICL who was clearly taking Karen’s side. I now have to leave my own home in order for the children to be allowed to see their father as Karen will not allow my son access if I am present.

These supervised visits come at a cost of $400 dollars for 2hrs and 40 mins. I have to provide for this cost out of my pension as my son has not been able to work for the last 18 months and, unlike Karen, has not been successful in obtaining any government assistance. I have had to mortgage my home which will result in losing a great amount of money off its value.

These charges and incidents are taking their toll with my son who is now undergoing extensive treatment for anxiety and stress after two years of worrying about his children whilst in the care of their mother. He remains unable to work and relies on me for care and support, both physically and financially.

My other concern is that the children have obviously been led to believe that I dislike them too. Karen is now accusing me of disliking her and the children and abusive/bad parenting. My own grandchildren are suddenly unable to make eye contact with me or respond to me in any way, keeping their eyes on their mother as if looking for guidance. I can only hope one day they will come to realise the truth.

It is not my intention to hurt or demean Karen in any way, but I need to know why she has chosen to emotionally destroy and abandon me in such an evil manner.

Read more stories from mothers of sons who have faced injustice here