As Christmas moves into the shadows we look forward to 2019.
None of us know what the new year has in store for us, there will no doubt be, a few bumps in the journey but also there will be those breath stopping moments, of wonderment.
Sometimes we feel as though things will never improve, that the darkness will never lift, but it does and it will.
At this exact time last year, when I was reflecting on an old year and wondering what 2018 would hold, I would never, ever have thought that Boxing Day 2018 would see our whole family celebrating, all of the grandchildren charging about having fun and causing mayhem, just being a family, as it should have always been.
It wasn’t always that way.
The previous 11 Christmas’s, there was always a shadow hanging over us. We all carried on and Christmas came and went, we all were wondering about our granddaughter, was she safe, was she happy? Questions that we couldn’t get answers to.
I will never forget those feelings of helplessness.
I was helpless to mend a son’s heart, I was helpless to take the pain away from a husband, I was helpless to join our fractured family.
Over the last year, I have been able to share the utter joy that many grandparents have experienced as their grandchildren have found their way back to them, sons and daughters have reunited with Mums and Dads.
Each and everyone of those reunited families, will continue to work towards the rights of children and grandchildren in being able to continue relationships after family breakdown.
Government and society as a whole must make changes.
We can not allow alienation in all its forms to continue to reck children’s relationships.
Children need to know they are loved by all family members, and to be allowed to grow up as children without the burden of adult issues on their young shoulders.
All family members must put children first.
A family is a chain of links joined together, it is each of those links that gives it, its strength, when one of those links is broken, the strength fails.
Family values and the importance of family must be at the top of the political agenda.
So I welcome 2019, and working with others to do what is right by the children.
I wish you all a healthy and happy and hopeful 2019.