12 years ago when I was looking for support as an estranged grandparent, I searched the internet for help.
I felt isolated and alone.
There was very little support out there, even the then Grandparents Association didn’t just focus on denied contact, there was no-one just giving support for grandparents who found themselves in this heartbreaking situation.
It was why I decided to do something about it myself, and I set up Bristol Grandparents Support Group.
I had no idea that I would soon be being contacted by grandparents who were all over the country indeed the world, America, France, Spain, Australia and more.
The joy of the world wide web means that anyone, wherever they live, can contact us.
One of our aims, and still is, to encourage grandparents to set up their own support groups in their own area.
BGSG is eternally grateful to those who decided that running a group was something positive they felt they could do.
As a result of publicity over time, and grandparents contacting us, Oxfordshire, Worcestershire, Lincolnshire, Berkshire, Hampshire, Congleton Cheshire and most recently East Kent now have their own wonderful support groups, all run by grandparents who are or have been estranged from their grandchildren, people who absolutely understand exactly what it means to be facing this ‘living bereavement.’
To be speaking to someone who just knows, is very powerful indeed.
These groups and others that were already established, Durham, Hendon, Milton Keynes/Northhants and Grandparents Apart in Scotland, are giving support and help just when it is required.
All groups run independently but we are all here to support each other whenever that is needed.
For those who run groups, do need support themselves.
I hope that all leaders of groups know that they can contact us at any time if they also need support.
Carrying the distress from thousands of grandparents can be a heavy burden to bare, so it is important for them to know that there is a safe, confidential place to unburden.
To everyone who is supporting, we are eternally grateful for what you are all doing, please recognise what a difference you are making to so many people. Without you grandparents would still be feeling isolated and alone.
Each and everyone of you have turned a negative into a positive.
To the grandparent who said when they rang,
Thank God I am not alone
You will never be alone.