It  is now nearly 9 years since we last had any contact with our granddaughter, and I am often asked how  I cope.

I don’t think cope is the right word, and actually everyone deals with it in their own ways.

It has to be acknowledged that it is like the different stages of grief you experience when someone dies, except this is a ‘living bereavement.’

In the early days you are filled with shock and denial, this can’t really be happening, of course it will get sorted I can put it right.

Then there is the pain and guilt, that awful physical knot in your tummy that just won’t go away. You feel you must have done something, you should have seen it coming, it’s your fault.

The anger you can feel is so strong, anger towards the person who has caused this, anger at everyone involved, and thinking ok if I do this or that it will get better.

It is at this point that you feel at an all time low, you feel so depressed, isolated and lonely, someone has been taken from your life and you question what life can possibly hold for you without them in your life.

This can be the turning point, because you have to ask yourself what is the alternative. You start to look at things a bit clearer and you will begin to experience  a little light in the darkness.

You can begin to function in a more positive way, think about what you can do to turn this negative into a positive, using self-help tools, help others, offer support ect.

The last stage is one of accepting the situation, that doesn’t mean you have forgotten or that you suddenly feel radiant, it is more about being at peace with yourself. A realisation that, ok you will never perhaps be the person you once were, but you can use your experience in a way that helps to move you forward and in that process allows you to live your life.

Whichever stage you find yourself at, remember it is just that a stage, so it will change, and that you are never alone, we are always here to listen.