Over the last 8 years I have spoken to so many grandparents, grandparents who are feeling so sad and desperate. Being able to support them through those difficult times is such a privilege.
Then, there are the calls we receive from grandparents who suddenly hear from their grandchildren or estranged members of families, tears are shed for a completely different reason.
The total joy in their voices and the tears of sheer happiness is infectious, and it is wonderful to share in their delight. This year we have had many grandparents who are just carefully beginning the long journey of building bridges and recovery.
For everyone who finds themselves on the road to reconciliation, be mindful that every minute counts, leave the past in the past, however hard that may be, don’t be confrontational or judgemental, put the grandchildren first.
I have said so often, that we are all individuals, we may not agree with other family members over things, we don’t have to be in each others pockets, but all parties must respect one another, and agree to disagree.
What everyone is trying to achieve is a stable relationship between all concerned, for parents to have support, as and when it is needed and asked for and for the grandchildren to be able to continue the unique relationship between grandparent and grandchild.
Families should be the bedrock of our society, a stability in an unstable world. A place for everyone to feel safe and protected, not a place of conflict and anger.
It takes enormous courage to say sorry, particuarly if you are unclear as to what you have done wrong, but we teach our children when they are very small people how to say sorry and to mean it. Perhaps sometimes we have forgotten our own teachings?
Of course apologies work best when offered and reciprocated, each person can then move forward and face the future together.
For those of us who are still apart from a grandchild, it is also perfectly natural for just that milli-second to think, “Why can’t it be me?” you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t feel that way. What I can say is this, every one of the grandparents who have been reunited this year, never thought it would happen to them, but it has.
So in the meantime, whilst we are waiting, be kind to yourselves, treat yourself as you would a friend going through the same thing, look at the good things in your life and be thankful for them.
Keep yourselves strong for the day, someone knocks on your door, and says,”Hi Gran/Grandad I have missed you.”