We all understand how being apart from our grandchildren feels, but do we actually consider how it is affecting other family members? The ripple effect.

It is easy to become so inward thinking that others hurt and pain goes unnoticed.

Perhaps unnoticed is too strong , but I know from many grandparents I speak to that often their conversation begins with the word, ‘I’.

There is absolutely nothing wrong in that but we all need to also take note of the other loved ones in our life.

Grandad\Step- Grandad are hurting just as much and in some ways it is even harder for them.

Most of them come from a generation where they feel they are the protectors, they need to make sure that we are ok. When they see us suffering it is unbearable for them.

How should they react?

It is true that we only hurt the ones we love, and I think sometimes we are so consumed by our own grief that we lash out at those closest to us. Grandparents often say things like, ‘My partner doesn’t understand what I am going through,’ I suspect he or she does, they just don’t know how to help or express their feelings.

It may be that your partner is not the parent of your child, which is so difficult in these circumstances. They are doomed if they say nothing and doomed if they say something.

I know myself that it is ok for me to say stuff about my own family, but woe betide if anyone else does!

Relationships of any sort are hard work, they don’t just happen, it is a constant ‘work in progress’, we can see from our estrangements how easily things can go badly wrong, so it is vital that we support our nearest and dearest, all they are trying to do is to care for us.

A partner will know that if they try to talk about it, it upsets us, so they don’t. We can then think they don’t care.

We are a complicated bunch, but we must learn to talk things through, to ask our partners if they are ok? To ask them how they feel, without judging them, and just to be kind to each other.

No-one suffers more than the next person, but as individuals we deal with it in different ways, we must respect that.

If we are fortunate enough to have someone to share our life experiences we need to appreciate them, warts and all, to be so thankful that we have each other and that many don’t have that precious relationship, they go home day after day, alone.They have no-one to share their grief.

Being estranged from our grandchildren is such a loss, don’t allow it to cause further breakdowns.

We are here on this earth for such a short time, allow yourself permission to live it to the full, focus on the things we can do and hold those close to us a little closer.

Sometimes just saying, ‘I love you’ is all that is required.

Jane