In the last few weeks we have been involved in several articles for the press and interviews.
After such publicity comes the calls and emails for help and support, and there were many. No sooner had I put the phone down, another call came in or a message had been left.
We always try to get back to people as quickly as we can, so if you do call please leave a message if your call is not answered immediately.
Every contact is important and every call has someone at the end of the phone who feels as though no one has ever gone through what they are going through, and without exception you can hear the outward breath of relief, when they realise it is not just them.
Of course when there is an influx of emails and calls, it does take its toll. I do often disappear to the bottom of the garden for a while just to clear my head and to release some of the terrible hurt and pain that I have been listening to.
It is 10 years since Bristol Grandparents Support Group was born and it hasn’t got any easier to listen to others despair, and it never will.
Many grandparents have been reading comments left on Face Book or under the articles written in The Daily Mail, and I have already written that I learnt the hard way very early on, not to read any of them.
Grandparents are expressing their bewilderment. Why are people so abusive, why do these people write horrible stuff, why is it so wrong to want to be part of their grandchild life?
I can’t answer those concerns, as those who write those comments are people I don’t know and who don’t know us.
It is true that some are trolls who love nothing better than to be as evil as they can hoping to get a response, but some are those who are denying contact, and believe they have valid reasons for doing so.
Some do have a good reason, not every grandparent is perfect, some have made parents lives a misery or have behaved inappropriately. We have no way of knowing whether they are genuine and telling the truth.
Once again please take my advice, do not ever read those comments, they are written deliberately to cause as much hurt as possible.
Getting back to the things that do matter.
It takes great courage for grandparents to pick up the phone and speak to us, it is vital that any helpline responds quickly and gives the support that is needed.
It really can be someones life-line.
One couple rang, I did speak to them both, to say that they are now reunited with their grandchild after many years, and he is now living with his father.
Another grandfather rang our doorbell to proudly show us photos of the grandson he is now reunited with.
I am so privileged to be able to not only share the really hard times but I also share the enormous joy of reconciliations.