At a time when many are feeling concerned and anxious as we all face an uncertain future at home and abroad, is the very time we all need to be supporting one another and to focus on all that is good in our lives, and we do have a great deal to be grateful for.
12 years ago when I was feeling so alone and hopeless it was the love and care of others that pulled me through the most difficult of times.
It is so easy to only see the negative around us, so easy to think the worst of people, because those we love have treated us so badly. There is the danger that we believe everyone will hurt us and we lose trust.
We are bombarded on our TV ect of horror stories, rarely do we hear about the millions of very good people who are all around us, just getting on with being kind, compassionate and helping others.
Being passionate about something fills us with enthusiasm and that enthusiasm is infectious. It is good for our soul.
Starting BGSG was my own way of pulling myself up out of a black hole of grief, and I can honestly say that it is an enormous privilege to have given other grandparents in other areas to set up their own amazing groups, each one helping and supporting others. Observing grandparents at ours and others meetings is always amazing, grandparents who arrive nervous and wondering what is going to happen, leave with a spring in their step and a smile on their faces, the impact is instant to most.
I am so grateful to those of you who have turned your own negative into a positive as I did, and I really hope you all know what a difference you are all making.
Just to be clear BGSG doesn’t charge a membership fee, there is no cost of becoming a ‘member’. All BGSG ask for is a a voluntary contribution to go towards tea, coffee and cake, but it is voluntary. No-one should be thinking they can’t come to BGSG meetings because they can’t afford it. Obviously I am only speaking for Bristol Grandparents Support Group, we have no control on other groups.
If you are still thinking about joining or setting up a group don’t just take it from me read what members have said themselves.
Being part of BGSG has been a life saver for me. More so in the early days of my estrangement when I was so grief stricken, confused and feeling so alone. I spoke with so many wonderful people who were unfortunately going through the same thing and it definitely helped ease my pain. My wider circle of family and friends have been lovely and supportive but no one truly understands how it feels to be rejected by the person or people you love most in the world and then to be punished by not being allowed to see your grandchildren and be a part of their lives, something you can never get back, only another grandparent who is enduring the same nightmare that affects every part of your life can understand how this feels.
To be part of a group of like minded people is imperative for our own good mental health. To be able to tell another person all our innermost thoughts and fears, knowing that they fully understand is second to none. I run a support group for a different topic and am also part of this wonderful group so I see and hear both sides. It is the difference between going under or staying on top! Thank goodness for those people who, are also suffering themselves who put their heads above the parapet to help others who find themselves in impossible positions.
I think that any alienated parent or grandparent thinks that they are the only one and that it’s such a shameful and confusing occurrence that we are guilty of some terrible misdemeanour. I certainly did until my eyes were opened by hearing Jane talking on TV one morning about what had happened to her and I realised she was talking about me too. I joined BGSG that very day, now nearly five years ago. The support, kindness and empathy are life and sanity saving. I know I’m not alone now. I listened to what had worked for other members and when my confidence returned a little I was able to pass the message on. I don’t exaggerate when I say that I don’t think I’d be here today if not for the group. It’s all the more extraordinary when you think that I live in France and have only met a few members in person. I have the best of friends on the group and want every alienated person out there to join up and get the help I did. We don’t fight each other but we all fight for the rights of our grandchildren who aren’t able to speak for themselves. My memory box contains all information on the BGSG in case my grandchildren ever need it or want to know how hard I tried.
My grand daughters memory boxes did contain several e mails from their Mum to me, from their Grandpa (my ex) showing just how nasty they have been and how they are stopping my girls and I from seeing each other BUT all those e mails have been taken out of the boxes now with only Nice things, BGSG helped me realise that my girls don’t need ANY of that negative/horrible stuff they just need to know I Loved them and thought about them.
I love this group.
I have only been part of the group for a little while. It must have been before Christmas, as I gave a message for BGSG to put on their special Christmas tree. That so inspired me to join and the blogs were exactly how I felt plus like many of the group, I was no longer suffering alone! I’m not sure how I found Jane and the group. I must have been googling and fate intervened! We have had wonderful support from all our family and friends, but as time goes on, it didn’t feel right to keep expressing our hurt and concerns etc. Hence, this group has enabled me to be with a group of people who truly understand how it feels to be alienated. Friends and family have empathised, but until it happens to you personally, nobody knows what it feels like!
Since contacting BGSG, I have been able to expand ‘friendships’ within the group albeit it is only on line at the moment, but it has been amazing, in fact fate, that these ‘friendships’ have more in common with our lives than just alienation. There are times, when we have the funny comments about something, which helps to lift our spirits, but the most important, we are all together for the children and grandchildren who deserve and should have the right to see and have a loving and caring relationship with family members who have been alienated.
I thank you from the bottom of my heart, I like many others have met have been in a very “black hole” no one can begin to understand unless you are going through it, we can all empathise with each .
I don’t belong to any other group as I have found this group to be the whole package of support together with understanding and empathy where our words are not taken out of context.
I think that this is one of the best things about the blog and Group. Shared experiences help us to feel that we are not alone or inadequate. The exchange of ideas and information gives the group momentum. It is wonderful to see members become more confident and although the main reason for being here is never far away people do often start to see their problems in a different perspective. Vive the Grandparents Support Group !
This group had been invaluable because you don’t feel you have to explain anything, as everyone completely understands, and you don’t feel so alone. As has been said, years after the event you can’t keep mentioning it as friends and family can’t fully understand and their sympathy wears out! BGSG is a life saver.
Being a part of this group is so special. To be able to talk and share ideas with like minded people without the fear of being labelled, daft, obsessed. paranoid or other choice phrases which I have heard along the way is such a relief. To be able to share the many bad times along with the very special good times is such an uplifting experience.. I am forever grateful to BGSG and all the friends I have met in this group. We have never seen each other face to face but we have a shared a longing and a sadness which surpasses any ideas of shyness, coyness, or having to say ” I don’t know her / him well enough to say how I really feel” Saying nothing is sometimes enough within the group and I thank you all, dear friends.
Of course support group meetings are not for everyone, some find it all too overwhelming, but we can still offer support to individuals either on the phone, email or via Skype, so there is a way of receiving help.
Nobody needs to be alone.