Running a charity is full of ups and downs. Listening to grandparents going through their own personal hell is always so difficult, allowing them to go through a whole range of emotions is vital.

Just to listen and be there.

Over the last 9 years I have met some amazing people, people who have become life long friends. When you are walking beside someone who is at such a low ebb, allows you to get to know people really well, their vulnerability and the openness of their inner most thoughts is something that you don’t often experience.

It is true to say that we can’t change the situation we find ourselves in, and we don’t have the answers but we can help and support each other, a fundamental human need.

Of course the best high of all is when grandchildren are reunited with their grandparents, the joy in their voices is infectious. The wonderful thing about  most children is that, they just pick up where they left off, all the conflict between the adults in their lives, means nothing to them, all they want is to see their family. For granny and grandpa to be able to share in what they are doing.

One grandparent said recently that hearing the words, “I love you granny,” were words they thought they would never hear again.

Even if the ultimate goal of being reunited with family members is not being reached, their can still be positives. Grandparents, just like everyone else, have a right to a life of their own, we are by the nature of being grandparents getting older and we have to be able to break free from the strangulation of despair and pain. Life is given to us and we must live it to the full.

Witnessing grandparents who are in the process of ‘getting on with their lives’ is also a privilege. Those who have gone off and taken on a challenge, those who are helping and supporting other families who need help, and those who are making a difference.

I know I use the phrase, making a difference, all the time, but isn’t that what life is all about? Whatever we may be going through, however hopeless things may seem, just by going out of your front door and smiling at someone really does make a difference, not only to the person you smile at but also to you, the giving of a smile is a very powerful thing.

So thank you to all of you who have come into my life, you are all valued and I am so lucky to call you friends.