Ex-father in law question
I feel a little weird posting an "ex" question on a marriage forum but here goes. Long story as short as possible:
I lived apart from my husband since 1998 due to his drinking and DV problems. He died suddenly in 2001 of a heart attack while we were still legally married. We had a son, now age 19. None of us had any contact with my FIL since the early 1990's because the constant battles between him and my LH escalated into a full-scale war. FIL did the whole stupid "rewriting the will" bit, etc etc, the whole nine yards.
However, now after my LH's death my FIL is insisting that my son call and visit him on a regular basis "because he's my grandson." My son much prefers not to do this and has been avoiding it. (And personally, I can't say I blame him! My FIL is a very demanding, self-centered, and selfish person who also has a drinking and 'temper' problem although not as bad as my LH did.) As a result, I end up the recipient of angry phone calls demanding to know why "his grandson" hasn't called, etc. I have been making the usual lame excuses - "he's been working this summer", "he's been away with friends", "he was busy at college" - but I can see this isn't going to fly much longer. I do promise to ask him to call - and do - and the result is that my son never gets around to calling, because he really does not want to. And so the cycle continues...
Now my opinion is that at 19 someone is an adult, and that it's not my place, even as a mother, to stand over him and force him to make a phone call to anyone. Even if that person happens to be a relative. And there was no traditional grandparent relationship between them in the past. Thus, it's not as if they used to be close but then lost touch.
So my question is, do you think I should continue to make excuses or just tell my FIL point-blank that yes I have asked my son to call but that I cannot MAKE him call - and then refuse to be drawn into an angry conversation as to "why won't he call" and how "wrong" my son is for not calling?
My own inclination is to be honest about it, even though I'm sure it would be considered rude. Personally I would be just as happy to have nothing more to do with my ex-FIL myself, because I no longer consider myself part of that family and have also legally resumed my maiden name. But that applies only to myself; if my son wanted to maintain a relationship with his grandfather I'd have no problem with it. I want him to act according to his own wishes in the matter, and not have any pressure from either his grandfather or myself either way. Do you think that allowing a 19-year-old to make his own independent decision about something like this, is reasonable and proper?