January as I have written before does seem to be a ‘down’ month.

Grandparents having got through Christmas, always a difficult time if you have no contact with your grandchildren, then  have to face a New Year.

For us this is the 11th year of not seeing or hearing from our granddaughter, does it get any easier as the years tick away?

No, it doesn’t but what does change is your attitude to what has happened and a realisation that life still goes on.

I am often asked,” how do you cope?”

I think that it is true to say that everyone is individual and each person has their own coping strategies. So what works for some may not work for others.

I have become a strong believer in living for the moment, noticing who and what is going on around me. I love nature and all its wonders, after long dark winter months life is just beginning to break free. Just walking around the garden the earth is erupting as little tiny shoots of snowdrops, crocus, dafs ,just to name a few,  the soil groans with growth.

Wonderful yellow, fluffy catkins are blowing in the wind.

I do find peace outside, listening to the birds and just being, is such a pleasure.

I am eternally grateful that I have been lucky enough to live in the house I was born in, so for 65 years I have watched many, many changes, within my family home, and all the ups and downs of family life. The surrounding area has changed beyond all recognition, neighbours have come and gone, some are still here.

As we get older we often hanker after a time gone by, but it is just that gone.

What never does change is our memories of those times, whatever happens around us those memories will be with us come rain and shine.

Certainly in the early days of estrangement BGSG was a lifeline to me, discovering that I was not alone in my grief, was a revelation. Getting to know other grandparents has helped me over the 11 years so much. Being able to give support to others has also been enormously helpful to me. If you are giving support to someone it stops you thinking about your own sorrow.

We do actually have a choice, we can continue to go down the long dark tunnel of estrangement, or we can rise above it.

Being grateful for all that is good is the healthy option.

Looking after ourselves is the first step, taking care of ourselves, making sure we are as healthy as we can be in body and mind, allows us to cope with anything that gets thrown at us.

I know that many grandparents will think ‘I can’t think of anything else because of this terrible loss,’ but you can. It is you who has to take back control, you who has to take back your life and to live it to the full.

So many people are not given that choice.

Jane.