“I don’t want to join a support group if it makes me feel worse than I do already.”

The title of this blog is so important, and I never forget the day a grandparent said that to me.

The idea that BGSG could make people feel worse was not something I had expected to hear, here we were giving people support but were we helping or hindering?

There is no doubt that for many grandparents, a support group can in fact rub salt into the wounds, making it hard to move forward.

I hope that those who have attended one of BGSG meetings, find it a positive thing. Finding others who totally understand what you are going through does help, the empathy at meetings is clear to see.

Compassion shines through.

No one who is a member of BGSG ever needs to feel isolated and alone, once they find us.

Obviously BGSG may not be what you are looking for, but there are many other groups that might be, so don’t stop looking for your safe place.

I do know how difficult it is making that initial phone call, it takes courage.

I asked several members to write their feelings when they made those first steps.

I felt suicidal.

“I remember it as if it were yesterday. I felt grief stricken, confused, guilty and most of all, ashamed. I thought I was completely alone. If I’m really going to be honest, I felt suicidal. I was completely shocked to find other people exactly like me. I can still remember the isolation but I don’t feel alone anymore and I’m very grateful that I heard you talking on TV one morning 5yrs ago.”

I’ve made such close friends.

“It just reminds me of when I first joined. I didn’t want to be in this club but I remember every day how it saved my life. I’m happy to pass on what I’ve learned from others like me and I’ve made such close friends.”

Power and influence.

“Jane, it seems such a long time ago. It must be more than eleven years since you set up BGSG, but I wanted to meet people who were going through same experience of knocking on a closed door. I thought also that a Group would be more effective in getting the Law changed and it is but a slow process.We wouldn’t have got this far if you, Jane, hadn’t been prepared to use every means to bring the issue of alienation to people who have power and influence . I am still amazed at how family members have the capacity to hurt one another but we are here for one another and share our experiences.”

At long last.

“The feeling of ‘at long last’ someone understands why I am sobbing and telling a complete stranger about personal family relationships which I had not divulged to family (just in case they took sides). If I did not understand what was going on then how could anyone else? But Jane you did and you do – thank you so much.”

No longer felt alone.

“Oh Jane l was in complete despair when l first picked up the phone to you. Within a few days of being a part of our lovely group, l had managed to calm myself and no longer felt alone in my situation xx So grateful to each and everyone of you.”

A weight lifted off my shoulders.

“I can remember hearing about your group and wishing I could join, but not living in Bristol I thought I could just follow the public page and at least feel some comfort. When you invited me to join this group it was like a weight lifted off my shoulders. The pain was still there but FINALLY there were people who understood, who knew, really knew what it felt like. I thank my lucky stars every day that I joined this group.”

I had no worth.

“I remember only too well how I felt ..very much how some of you have described ..I was beyond desperate and I didn’t see a lot of point to life … It took two attempts before I found the courage to phone BGSG ..I am so very glad that I did …I remember sobbing down the phone , How patient and caring you were Jane !!…. I remember the first time I posted on here …It took so much strength and bravery ..I had become so used to feeling like I had no worth and that my thoughts and feeling didn’t matter , I had even felt rejection in a couple of ‘support groups’ prior to joining this one …I felt so humbled by the love, care and support that followed my post ..I felt ‘visible’ , that was two and half years ago ,I am so grateful that I belong to such an amazing Group ..I could not have survived without it and all of you … there are many Groups out there ,but there are very few that truly provide the ‘support’ that this one does ..it really enshrines the true essence of ‘support’ ..It is not easy being the ‘newbie’ but for those of you that have just joined us or have not been in the Group very long i would say ..you are so welcome , never feel afraid to share your thoughts and feeling here there are no judgements or criticisms ..just a flowing river of love care and understanding ….much love and hugs to you all and thank you for enriching my life.”

You can read more comments such as these on BGSG testimonial page on our website.

If you are suffering the ‘living bereavement’ of estrangement/alienation please do pick up that phone or send us an email, you do NOT have to be alone anymore.


About Jane

Jane setup Bristol Grandparent Support Group in 2007 after a string of incidents led to the loss of contact with her Grand Daughter.

View all Jane Posts


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