Over the last 11 years I have listened to some of the saddest stories I have ever heard.
Each one is unique and has a personal resonance to the storyteller, the hurt, pain and heartbreak shared, in some cases for the first time.
Where, there was once happy family times, now nothing but emptiness and questions.
Feelings of guilt, shame, confusion, betrayal to name just a few.
Why is it that one person makes the decision to not only cut another out of their lives, but to cut them off from all family members?
If only we knew.
What ever happened to communication?
Years ago if there was a grievance within the family, and lets face it there was always one, it was discussed and sorted. We could always agree to disagree.
Now to use the children/grandchildren as weapons has become all to common, the estimate of over one million grandchildren denied contact with a grandparent seems to be the norm and that number must have increased over the last 11 years.
Grandparents who have life limiting illnesses are accused of ‘making it up,’ by their adult children or in laws, some have sadly lost their lives and never get the opportunity to hug their grandchildren and tell them they loved them.
Do those who inflict that really never regret their decisions?
One day they will be asked the question, “Why wouldn’t you let me see Gran/Grandad before they died?” whatever the answer they get, they will have been denied a fundamental human right for children and adults to say goodbye.
We always think that death is a great leveller, but it seems not.
Many grandparents find themselves denied contact when they lose an adult child prematurely, the partner who is left, will not only stop contact but will move away from the area. Grandparents left not knowing where the last link to their own adult child are.
A double bereavement.
The perpetrators of estrangement/alienation have no conscience, have no empathy, no compassion, they are selfish in the extreme. They are not putting the needs of children/grandchildren first, quite the reverse.
The damage that they cause is wicked.
A family member who contacted me telling me that a grandparent I had been supporting had sadly died after many months of illness, said ” Her dying wish was to just say ‘I love you’ to her grandchildren, but it was not allowed.”
That grandparent left this earth in torment, the grandchildren are left, bereft. A sadness within them that they will now carry with them through the whole of their lives, and such anger against their parent who prevented that last hug.
Whatever our differences within our family, whatever arguments that may have happened, those family members who always just manage to say the wrong thing, as adults we must try and put things right, before it becomes too late.
We all have a responsibility to put the past behind us, to learn to say sorry, to accept an apology, for the sake of the children/grandchildren.
The children/grandchildren are the future, they need to know we are all there for them in our own ways, to enable them to move into good relationships themselves knowing that they are loved.
Not distrusting every adult in their lives, it is up to the adults to prove themselves worthy of their love.