As you know we all come to this place of estrangement for a variety of reasons. It can be that our sons and daughters have separated from their partners or it can be that our own sons and daughters have decided that we can no longer be part of their family. This morning I want to focus on those who are denied contact by their own adult children.

Yesterday I was delighted to be in the company of a very special grandmother whom I have known for many years now, and we have walked together through this minefield of separation.

She is a wonderful caring compassionate lady who gives her time to anyone who requires it, she is utterly selfless.

Her compassion for the human race is clear to see, and she worked in a caring profession all her life, never put herself first and dedicated her life to bringing up her family and looking after her home.

I had the privilege to be invited to her retirement celebration, way past her retirement age I might add, where she had worked and cared for those who were facing life limiting illness.

The love for her that evening was self evident,incredibly  moving for me and overwhelming for her. Words of thanks, of joy and of love poured out.

Patients had written their thoughts of her as well as all the people she had worked alongside, inspirational words and a fantastic testament to her.

What a terrible tragedy that her own daughter was not present, to hear of the enormous respect that was being bestowed on her mother.

Talking yesterday about her feelings produces tears from both of us.

My tears for her pain, her tears for her loss.

She spent years giving her children a good home, where they came first, she nurtured them, taught them wrong from right, gave them a good education and prepared them for the world outside the safety of home. We all know being a parent is tough and it takes it out of us all, but to be able to watch those children begin to make their own way in the world is worth it all.

I asked her what she felt about becoming a grandparent and why is it that we all feel so bereft when we are estranged.

” I suppose having spent all that time being a parent it was now the time when I could perhaps sit back a little, and just receive this wonderful gift of being a grandparent. Having been so hands on for so many years with the little ones, it made me feel needed and loved, the love I was given in return from them was priceless.

Since being parted from them, I feel empty, my very existence has no meaning. It is horrible to think this way. What is the point?”

Sitting next to my dear friend, watching her so, so sad was and is , well I don’t know what it is, it is too deep.

Her word she uses for the grandchildren, says it all- they are a gift.

A gift that brings such joy,such promise we all want to be able to impart our experiences, our wisdom and  family history, so that the next generation grow up knowing all about what their family were doing in 1874 right up to present day.

Not to be able to share that, is devastating.

As parents we don’t do what we do, for thanks or gratitude, we do it because we are Mum and Dad, all we ever want is for our children to be happy and healthy.

For anyone to make us feel worthless and to question our very existence is unforgivable.

Jane