It is exactly 8 years since we all last saw our granddaughter, 8 years since we saw her smile and heard her laugh. In one breath I wonder where that time has gone, in another it feels as though it was only yesterday that she was hunting for Easter eggs in the garden, squeals of delight as she found them.

8 years ago she was a little girl, running and playing, carelessly swinging on a swing, not a care in the world, now 8 years on she has had a great deal to contend with I have no doubt. A young woman now, just beginning to make her way into the world, a world that can sometimes be a bewildering place , a place of conflict and disharmony, but a beautiful world with promise, with opportunities just waiting to be seized.

For anyone who has not been through the heartbreak of estrangement you can not possibly know the emptiness it brings. The feelings of total isolation and shame.

Never knowing if your grandchild is ok, wondering if they are happy, and the biggest thing of all, the most awful feeling of thinking the children believe we don’t love them anymore.

We are not given an opportunity to tell them how we miss them and how we just want to be part of their lives.

Every single day I think of her, everything that happens in the family I want to share with her but I can’t.

I still remember the little tot that almost fell out of the car, having had a very long journey, and running into my arms, if I close my eyes tight I can see everything so clearly. Magical moments, so fleeting yet so precious.

I can see her sitting on her Grandpas knee sharing a story with him, so contented and safe.

I can see her standing at the kitchen sink on a chair with her apron on, doing the washing up, why is it that washing up is so exciting when you are small?

Every hour we spent together is etched on my heart forever.

And so it is time to let her go, to let her fulfil her dreams, whatever they may be, for her to continue to grow and flourish.

I hope one day she will want to be in touch again, we will be here as always just waiting.

If she ever reads this, “ L………. never think we stopped loving you, whatever you may have been told, ask questions, maybe we have some of the answers? Sometimes things are not as they seem. There is not one single moment of every day that your Dad does not think about you, he loves you with all of his heart, he is always there, whenever you need him. Go out into the world darling and live life to the full, follow your dreams. Be kind to people and always give them one of your smiles, to brighten their day. Love you. x”

To be a grandparent is an enormous privilege and blessing, there is nothing quite like it.

If you meet someone who is estranged from a child or grandchild, please don’t say things like, “You must have done something,” or “ Forget them and get on with your life,” until it happens to you ,you can not possibly understand, and I pray that you never find out.

Jane