Even after nine years it doesn’t get any easier, listening and supporting people who are feeling so sad.
I listen to the most upsetting stories of family estrangements, be that parents, grandparents or grandchildren.
As adults we have to try and work our way through the mire of despair, often up against those that have made the decision to cut us out of their lives, those who talk about us as ‘toxic,’ never have I ever understood that word. We were and still are parents, we tried our best to bring our children up in the way we thought was the right way, to be caring, loving people, so how do we become toxic?
To be a child or grandchild who has to deal with the fall-out of an adults broken relationship day to day is crippling for some.
The letters from grandchildren we received , when we did the work with Esther Rantzen and The One Show, was heartbreaking. Grandchildren who begged us to help, to intervene, to somehow make it right.
I found that the most distressing thing of all.
Children, crying out for help.
Children who were not allowed to see grandparents and even when those grandparents were ill or tragically died they were still not allowed to see them or to grieve for them.
They live with those regrets for ever.
I wonder how those lost children will cope with life, with healthy relationships in the future, will they ever trust adults again?
All children learn from a role model, so if your parent is neglectful of your needs, strips you of self-esteem and never puts you first, what sort of parents are they going to be?
Children who have been estranged actually will often say, that they will make sure that they never treat their own children in the same way, that the will make sure that whatever happens in their relationships that their children will not be subject to such terrible treatment and unjust behaviour that they have had to endure.
They say that although at times they appeared to have forgotten their non resident parent or grandparents, they just kept those precious memories tucked inside their hearts. They never forgot.
If you are a child or grandchild who is apart from a parent or grandparent, please remember they are still there, they have not given up on you, they will wait, always there if you need them.