It is always good after a grandparents meeting to reflect on what has taken place.
I am eternally grateful to grandparents who have been attending our meetings for years who are so welcoming to new grandparents, they are amazing. Each one greets them individually, holding out that hand of friendship. Ready to support to listen and to empathise.
Some of us of course have been dealing with estrangement for years, but we need to be mindful of those who are very new to this. It may be that some new attendees are just at the beginning of this difficult journey, it is still very raw. It is incredibly painful to them to hear that some grandparents are still estranged after, 10, 12, 14 years.
One grandparent said, “I can’t think that this is going to go on for so long.”
Hopefully, most of them won’t be waiting that long.
We were also able to share the joy of one grandparent, who has been apart from her grandchild for 10 years, but her son (also estranged) has begun the process of being reunited with his son. This grandparent says that as long as her son is seeing his son that is wonderful, and a dream she never thought was going to happen, has. If and when she might be able to also see him is not important, the important thing for her is the relationship between her son and his son.
I also had a message from another grandparent who is now on that road to reconciliation.
So as I say, never give up hope.
Within BGSG there are many grandparents who are estranged for all sorts of different reasons.
It is worth reiterating that being denied contact with a grandchild can be as a result of family breakdown in all its forms.
The obvious reason is when a couple separate or divorce, but it is by no means the only reason.
There are thousands of grandparents who have become estranged due to their own adult children denying contact. Most will say they have no idea why.
Then there are those who are estranged as there have been issues with drugs/alcohol or domestic abuse within the family.
Grandparents who have lost their own adult children due to a terminal illness or fatal accident often are then denied contact with the children, by the spouse or partner. In many cases the children are removed from the school they were attending and they move house. The grandparents have no idea where their grandchildren are. So not only are they suffering the bereavement of their own child but the last link of their child is removed from their lives.
Finally there is some sort of family fall out.
So the reasons are many and varied, but the result is the same.
Children being denied a loving and caring relationship with their grandparents.
Grandparents who are a link in their family history and identity. When that link is broken the family chain losses its strength.
One grandparent said as she was leaving the meeting said,”It has been wonderful to hear people laughing. Even though they are facing such sadness in their lives.”
You are allowed to laugh and to enjoy life and to be grateful for all we have in our lives.
I for one will not allow this to destroy me.