At Easter it will be 9 years since I last had any contact with my granddaughter, she was 7.
Anyone who has gone through the same heartbreak of losing contact with a grandchild will understand totally what it feels like.
It is devastating, you go through a myriad of emotions, sadness, despair, anger and total bewilderment.
Family breakdown occurs for a variety of reasons, separation or divorce, alcohol or drug dependency, bereavement or family feud, the end result is the same, relationships between grandchildren and grandparents are lost.
Grandparents describe feeling as though they are going through a ‘living bereavement,’ consequently as with any bereavement grandparents face the different stages of grief.
- shock or disbelief
As a support group we help grandparents to understand that all of these feelings are okay and that they do pass.
Some grandparents tell me that they don’t want to carry on without their grandchildren in their lives, they blame themselves, even though they have done nothing wrong. They are so afraid that their grandchildren think that they don’t love them any more, as a grandparent that is unbearable.
We have to find a way through
As a result we put together a self help plan called, ‘I will survive,’ it focuses on looking at the positives in our lives and looks at ways of how we can move forward.
Working towards peace of mind
Life is a gift and we need to allow ourselves to live a full life and to enhance our lives.
Everyone will be different in their approach but here are few ideas for making positive changes.
How about taking up art, painting or sketching, travel, visit those places you always promised yourself, explore the natural world, learn something new, helping others, this could be volunteering. Writing your own story, a wonderful way of passing on your history, grandparents are a great storytellers. Modern technology allows us to use all sorts of different media, I was introduced to an app recently, that you use on an iPad, it enables you to video your life story.
Join a community choir, you don’t have to be a great singer in most cases you don’t even have to audition. I am a member of Gospel Generation Community Choir and, however low I might be feeling, when we start to sing it just raises my spirits.
Extending your horizons, actually has no boundaries
There is no doubt that if you are helping someone else it promotes your own well-being and lifts your mood.
As you begin to move forward, it doesn’t mean you have forgotten your grandchildren, they may not be in your life at the moment but your life lives in them forever.
Never give up hope
If you are a grandparent who is apart from a grandchild, you are not alone and we are here to support you, if you would like to set up a support group contact us.