Yesterday I was joined by 16 wonderful people at BGSG’s Christmas lunch.

!6 people that I would never had met if I hadn’t been estranged from my granddaughter.

People who walked into my life, looking for support and reassurance, I hope that they found those things, but what I found was tremendous friendships that will last a lifetime.

One grandparent said to me,” When we are all together it just makes me feel normal.”

When we find ourselves going through being apart from family members, we feel ashamed and anything but normal. People start to judge us, and say that we must have done something for this to have happened. Even though we know we haven’t, it is easy to start to doubt ourselves, and to question.

As I sat and watched and listened to the chatter and peals of laughter, I remembered those same people who had arrived at my house in the past, feeling nervous and filled with sadness, or who ¬†spoke softly almost apologetically on the phone for the first time. There they all were just being ‘normal.’

Over the last 8 1/2 years, I have got to know many of them very well, I have had the honour of experiencing all sorts of different times with them, not only their pain but the  joys and celebrations, of achievements, of passing milestones and the reconciliations.

I was present at a retirement of one grandparent, where I sat and listened to tribute after tribute about her, of being at the end of the phone as tears poured as a grandparent told me he was now seeing his grandchild, of witnessing the extraordinary love shown by an alienated grandchild towards their grandparents.

Just normal stuff!

Except of course, they are all, anything but normal, they are exceptional people, people who I value beyond words, people who have enriched my life.

Thank you.

Jane