When you first find yourself denied contact with a child or grandchild, it is not like anything else you have experienced.
A first you are so sad your heart breaks and you have this horrible void in the pit of your stomach that never goes away, feelings of total emptiness.
Gradually all sorts of different emotions appear, different from one day to the next.
Hence the phrase a ‘living bereavement.’
I am quite sure that like me, you all think that you can put it right, it will be ok. Then the realisation that you can’t put it right, sinks in.
Where to go, what to do, is all you think about day after day.
As a non resident parent of course you think you have Parental Rights so the justice system will sort it out, but as we know more often than not, that is not the panacea we thought it would be.
Many grandparents also believe in the justice system, and embark on the long difficult journey of going to court. Again more often than not the end result is not at all what they imagine it will be.
The complexities involved in estrangement/alienation are enormous.
As always in the middle are children, children who wonder what on earth has happened in their lives, where are those people they love so much?
I think without exception most organisations and groups say that you have to fight on, you have to fight for your children, but is that right in every case?
If you back off, does that make you some sort of failure, have you let the children down?
I can’t, and wouldn’t dream of answering for others, I can only answer personally.
We made the most difficult decision to back off, we decided that as my son had received a letter saying that his daughter no longer wanted to see him, that our granddaughter had to be allowed to get her childhood back, she had to be allowed to learn and grow without there being any adult conflict in her life. She hopefully still loved both her parents and us, but she knew that if she talked about us then there would be repercussions, so keeping quite was the best way for her to be able to get on with life. Children learn great resilience in this situation.
So for those who say to ‘walk away’ is not an option, actually it is a brave and selfless decision, a decision that isn’t made lightly, of course you question it, but you have to do what you feel is right for you and your family at that particular time in everyones life.
In truth, there are no winners in the family breakdown scenario, just a great deal of loss.