Monday, 31 March 2014
The reality as shown today is that a charity not only kept a grandparent on hold for 40 mins last week, but when she requested a call back call, it took a week.
Now I have grandparents contact me, who are desperate, distressed and need to talk to someone immediately not in a weeks time.
I am speechless.
Sunday, 30 March 2014
A day for spending precious time with your family, and for Mums/Grandmothers to sit back and remember.
Remember how is was carrying those little bundles of joy for 9 months, remembering the overwhelming love for the new baby and the years that followed.
The trials and tribulations of family life.
Of course there are also many thousands who will just want this day to be over as quickly as possible.
Mums and Grandmothers who for a variety of reasons won't be recieving flowers or breakfast in bed, they are the Mums aching to hold their children, not just today but everyday. They are the same Mums who carried their children but for now there is a huge void in their hearts.
Grandmothers who were Mums first, will be wondering where it all went so badly wrong, why do their children want to put them through this agony, will this be the last Mothers' Day that they have to face this emptiness.
If I have one wish that could be granted, it would be for everyone who is either causing this pain or those who are on the receiving end to put the past behind them. There may have been hurt and misunderstood words but can it not be put behind them, for the sake of the children. All of these children were carried by Mums and Grandmothers, they are part of one another, just removing them physically will never remove them from the spirit and soul of us all.
Not only is it Mothering Sunday but it is also the beginning of Summertime, a time for new beginnings, new life and a time to look deep into ourselves and to put the children first.
Friday, 28 March 2014
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Thursday, 27 March 2014
You would expect me to strongly disagree, and you would be right.
I have written before on the importance of grandparents, and it is a two way relationship.
Children can experience history through their grandparents, they can learn in depth about older members of their family who are no longer with us, grandparents are part of their identity.
For grandparents the children are a window to life as it is now, they bring such joy, so much hope for the future.
Grandparents can feel rest assured that the world is in safe hands.
When a grandparent was talking about the relationship with her grandchildren and her own parents, so the great grandparents, she said, "My parents hearts leap when they have a visit from the boys."
What a fantastic sentence that is, one that I will carry around with me for a very long time.
Wednesday, 26 March 2014
Tuesday, 25 March 2014
If you are part of an organisation that would be interested in hearing about the reality of family separation from a grandparents point of view, please let me know.
Monday, 24 March 2014
Sunday, 23 March 2014
It was a question that made me think, how do I cope?
It was not just how do I cope with my own living bereavement but it was how do I cope with the thousands of grandparents who contact me.
I think we all have our own ways of coping, we can pretend it isn't really happening to us, we can become engulfed in the grief or we can share.
On our website I talk about turning a negative into a positive and that was what I felt I had to do when I was faced with being denied contact with my granddaughter.
It is true to say that just sometimes I have to recharge my batteries and take time out.
Listening to so many heartbreaking stories, so much sadness of course has an affect on me. I do have to go and shed a tear or two every now and again, but the positives totally outweigh the negatives.
I have 'met' so many wonderful people and I hope made lifelong friends because we have a common bond.
Although I may have just put the phone down on a terribly distressed grandparent I then pick up the phone to a grandparent who has not heard anything from their grandchildren for years only to have just been contacted by them. The overwhelming joy in that grandparents voice is so powerful, I only wish I could share that emotion with everyone.
The kindness I receive from others is immeasurable and I will be eternally grateful.
BGSG uses Twitter a great deal, it is a great tool for reaching people and today I had one of my blogs RT'ed underneath they said they followed the Good Guys and they said I was one, I have never met these people at all, they just read my blogs, and it made me cry.
I am not a 'Good Guy' I am just a gran who misses her granddaughter and if I can lend an ear to others thats fine, that makes it all worth while.
Hang in there everyone we are here for each other.
Saturday, 22 March 2014
As you know we don't have a membership fee, but as with everything it costs money to keep the group going, postage costs, phone costs including calls, website domain costs, ect.
You will also be aware that we are going to become a registered charity, but to be able to apply for charitable status you have to have an annual income of £5k, which is a daunting task.
Once again thank you everyone.
Friday, 21 March 2014
One is will they forget me?
I would say no, the children don't forget you, they just have to hold you in their hearts until the time is right for them to reach out to you again.
We have to remember that the children have to live their lives, they have to do what makes life as easy as possible for the time being.
Children know that if they keep talking about us it causes all sorts of problems for them, so they don't.
We have all been in situations where we know that talking about certain subjects can cause controversy, so if we are sensible we keep off that subject.
Children are no different.
A grandparent who hasn't been part of their grandchildren's lives for several years, was told by a mutual friend that they had met with her grandchild, quite by accident and in conversation had said how much their grandparent missed her, and she replied, "Yes I know and I love her, it's just that it is a bit difficult at the moment."
Believe me, your grandchildren will never forget you, they are just waiting.
Thursday, 20 March 2014
Are you a parent whose parents don't want to fulfil their grandparent role, and yes there are some, would you like to have someone to be build up a relationship with your family in that sort of role.
I realise of course that there has to be safe guarding issues dealt with.
Please let me know.
Wednesday, 19 March 2014
Monday, 17 March 2014
As you know I go on and on about never giving up hope and this is why.
The children's voices are being listened to, which is how it should be, they want the relationship back that they hold so dear. Memories of good times with granny and grandpa, they have asked questions and are expecting answers.
There may be a long road to go, but if the will is there on both sides, it will work.
Allow the past to go, don't go over old ground, work towards a better future.
Respect each others differences and grab every opportunity to have a loving relationship once more.
I wish the grandparents involved all the love in the world and I expect to see photos!
Sunday, 16 March 2014
- “A very big "Thank you" to Jane Jackson and her husband for all that they do for Bristol Grandparents Support Group, not only for their kindness and hospitality but also for the part they are playing in changing attitudes to parenting and grand parenting - remarkable progress during last five years, thanks a million ! “
- “Thank you so much for the support you give. Without your group, I think that many grandparents would go under.”
- “Until yesterday I had never spoken to anyone who had suffered similar agonising grief. Friends can be very kind but there is a limit to how much they can take of your grief before their eyes glaze over and the jolly invites begin to dwindle.Yesterday I met and heard people talk about their experiences and I was stunned by the fact that we all have the same feelings and the same grief no matter what event actually triggered off the alienation. I am not the only person who lives in a state of total bafflement, grief and feeling of helplessness. I am so glad that I was able to make contact with you after your appearance on 'Inside Out West' and that I came to the meeting yesterday. The support group allowed me to feel that I am not alone and that there are people who are working hard to increase public awareness of the damage such emotional cruelty does to so many people, not least the very grandchildren for whom we all grieve.Thank you for your devotion to this group. I will see you at the next meeting.”
- “I had been left with a huge hole in my heart not being able to see my grandchildren, as I love them so much. Before I met Bristol Grandparents Support Group , on the surface I was functioning but inside, my emotions were raw. I felt ripped apart it didn’t leave me, I woke weeping everyday.Meeting Jane, prevented my feelings getting any darker, listening to others in the same situation. What was important was that the environment created by Jane as Marc, felt safe as the womb. Warm, friendly, knowing exactly what it feels like at every stage, caring, sensitive and managed in a professional way without formality. The group gives me a feeling of acceptance, because all the grandparents in this situation suffer the feeling of shame and failure as well as the pain, longing and regret. Everyone there knows all these feelings. Listening to others stories in a completely open, safe environment means that you learn to cope. I have heard some situations that are worse than mine which gives a sense of balance and hearing positive news when some grandparents are reunited gives me real hope, which in itself is healing.After a meeting, I feel I can cope a bit better until the next meeting. When the next meeting is due, I really feel I am beginning to wear thin and feel more desperation and hopelessness and am screaming inside for help. I can’t see any service in the NHS that can compare with the well-being that is created by the group. Jane and Marc offer their own home, to anyone, and it costs nothing.”Although the group consists of people from all walks of life, the atmosphere is always the same all through the seasons. Relaxed, calm, warm, healing, uplifting, lt's like coming home really. The feeling of support is really strong and powerful. It is empowering. Thank you.”
" I have not been able to see my grandchildren for several years and at the age of 70, I feel that time is running out for me. To be able to share my most innermost thoughts with others who feel the same helps me get through the day. If I am need ofencouragement I will ring Jane, I usually put the phone down with a smile on my face."
- " I am just writing to say thank you for all your support over recent months, I am pleased to tell you that yesterday, for the first time in many years I was reunited with my grandson. I can not express how I feel, I am just busting with happiness. If it hadn't been for you and your group I don't think I would be here today. Thank you so very much."
- " Coming to your group is my life-line."
- " BGSG has become so vital. The grief you feel when you are shut out of your grandchildren lives is unbearable. When there are no more visits, no more telephone calls,no laughter, all you have are photos and memories, you have to find support. Some where to go and grieve, to plan, to hear stories and share,to find hope. This sort of support can not be found in family or friends, it needs to be people who know completely. BGSG allows a flame of hope to quietly burn for all our lost grandchildren, in the messages we put on the Christmas Tree,or in the blogs we write, in simply sitting together. Just knowing you are not alone."
- "The friends I have met in the group will be life long friends and their support is immeasurable."
- When I found this group - I was borderline on going under - hadn't seen the grandkids for two years and it was now beginning to take it's toll beyond anything before. I was considering therapy.Then as if by magic - I saw Jane's group.I emailed - then I rang - and I had renewed hope - it was Jane's words "They won't forget you - kids remember everything£That's what got me through.The next day I woke up more positive than I had done in a very very long time. That first step put me on the right road and I haven't looked back.A huge heartfelt thank you Jane and Marc.
At the moment we are a small charity with a constitution and trustees, but to enable us to reach more grandparents we have decided to apply to be a registered charity.
To become registered you have to have an annual income of £5k, which is a somewhat daunting target for us.
It is a chicken and an egg situation in so much as, business and companies are reluctant to back you if you are not a registered charity but you have to have backing to even apply!
We are being given sound professional advice, for which we are so very grateful.
The aim is that we will become an umbrella group, where other grandparents will be able to set up their own groups with support from us.
We hope to visit those who are contemplating setting up, and to hold networking meetings.
We will raise our profile attending exhibitions and community based events.
Funding will also enable us to design and publish information booklets, leaflets and to update our website.
To date, as far as I am aware, we are the only group in the UK who focusses purely on grandparents who are denied contact.
We are looking forward to the future and to continue the ethos of BGSG which is to remain focused on the needs of the children who are embroiled in adult conflict.
Had better add that it doesn't mean that BGSG is going to disappear, it isn't, it is remaining exactly the same.
Saturday, 15 March 2014
I use these pages for keeping people up to date with what is going on, and for offering a place where people can share their stories, feelings and to hopefully get support.
There is one big problem with communicating this way, very often I write quickly, I write from the heart and I make spelling mistakes, and grammatical errors, but one thing that can happen is that the written word is misunderstood.
When you face someone we all pick up on how a person is really feeling and by watching facial expression and body language we can actually 'speak' to one another without the use of words.
Recently when inviting thoughts and opinions on a subject, it was misunderstood, completely.
The result can be of some of us being left saddened and hurt.
I know that what ever I do I can not possibly please everyone.
The trouble with a situation like this is the ripple effect on others.
BGSG is a support group, a group of people to support one another, to boost each other on those particularly bad days, a safe place. It can't be a place where a difference of opinion upsets others.
So yet another note to self, re-read and re-read before writing anything.
One of my aims is not to be someone who is just at the end of the phone or computer, to give a 'stick a plaster on the wound,' reaction to a grandparent who needs support, but to be someone who is there for as long as it takes to walk along side them on this difficult journey.
I want to be someone who recognises that every person is unique, although it is estimated that a million grandparents suffer being apart from their grandchildren, it is not helpful to say things like, "Oh yes I have heard it all before,"the truth is that every individual family has their own loss.
We will often say ourselves, or it will be said to us, " you need to get back to how things were before," it isn't a case of moving on or returning to normal.
Things will never be normal or back to how they were, but we learn to live differently and to except what has happened and for it to be part of our life.
Life throws numerous experiences at us on a daily basis, some good some heartbreaking but they all make us what we are today.
So I would just ask please that anyone reading these posts, that I want to get it right but sometimes I falter.
Thursday, 13 March 2014
Although I understand so well why they do it, as they are desperate to see there precious grandchildren.
I would stronger urge you to take a step back, put yourself in your grandchild's place.
How is it going to affect them if they see you?
The children are embroiled in adult conflict that they don't understand, they are trying to unpick their own feelings, you will not help them by going to their school.
It is possible that in their own confusion the only place there is any resemblance of consistency is school. A place were they feel safe, a place were they can learn and grow without conflict and disturbance.
Possible the only place they can just be a child.
So please think of the children, and don't put the Head in an impossible situation.
They can not allow a grandparent to see a child without the permission of the parent.
In 2007 I was denied contact with my granddaughter she was 7 years old and we had been in her life up until that point.
I could have so very easily continued down that dark tunnel but decided that I owed it to my granddaughter to be pro active.
So the long and sometimes very difficult journey began of reaching out to grandparents who were going through this living bereavement.
Seven years on and well over one thousand grandparents later, the stories continue of heartbreak and sorrow, but there is always hope and grandparents do become reunited and we all can celebrate their joy.
Every grandparent I speak to is unique their own personal story but every one makes an impact on me, and every now and again I need to recharge my own personal batteries and I do that by remembering a beautiful, now, young woman who keeps me strong and urges me on, my granddaughter.
Also when I receive emails like this one it gives me strength. Many thanks for the grandparent responsible for this email and in giving their permission for me to share it with you.
"Today - is the most positive 'waking up' morning I have had in a long time.
Tuesday, 11 March 2014
Monday, 10 March 2014
That first ring on the doorbell made my heartbeat race, deep breath and I opened the door.
What was so clear was that the grandparent on the other side of the door was much more nervous than I was, after all at least I was on home ground.
Within a very short time we began to relax, as more people arrived we all had one thing in common we were being denied contact with our precious grandchildren.
Although of course we were all sad, the care and concern for one another lifted our spirits, we realised that we could actually help each other. Just for those few hours we could share and give suggestions of how to try and move forward.
Amazingly, there was laughter and smiles.
It continues to be that way 7years on, masses of cake and copious cups of tea have been consumed but most importantly, real friendships have been forged.
If you are reading this for the first time, and thinking about joining us, please do.
It will be me who is at the end of that phone when you ring, and I also know that, you have just taken the first most difficult step, that first step of ringing that number. I have grandparents contact me who have had our number in their pocket for 6 months before plucking up the courage to ring.
I am not scary, honest!
Don't worry if you get upset, I won't go anywhere I will just sit and listen and wait, for as long as it takes.
I don't have the answers but I do understand and I do know every emotion you are feeling.
We will get through it together.
So please, lets talk.
Sunday, 9 March 2014
The focus for me has always been and will continue to be the children who find themselves in this bewildering situation.
It is a support group, here to listen and understand.
To be empathetic and to celebrate good things that do happen.
As we are an independent group we don't have to tow any 'party' line, we do not have to be affiliated or linked to other organisations that in my opinion only have principles that suit their pockets in many cases.
Does that sound scathing, I certainly hope so.
There are big organisations taking large subscriptions from vulnerable people and what exactly are they giving in return, maybe a couple of back dated mags, the opportunities to attend seminars/conferences at exorbitant ticket prices, and on a helpline to be told, "you need to get on with life," that particular grandparent told me she was suicidal, but who is working at the coal face?
Who are the people who are really listening?
As far as I can see it is the people who work so hard, day after day, having those all important one to ones with people, the locals supporting in their own communities.
What questions are asked when these organisations are appointing trustees etc, do they ask have you got the correct principles for this group? Apparently not.
Saturday, 8 March 2014
Friday, 7 March 2014
I will still say, it is the very last resort.
When we did the item on The One Show at the end Esther met with a family lawyer, who gave sound advice.
Last week I had an email from him, asking if he could come and have a chat. I responded as you would expect, with caution! He replied saying he thought there may have been a misunderstanding and that he wasn't as it were 'looking for business.'
So on Monday afternoon he popped in for a cuppa.
What came across was his genuine concern for grandparents and a clear understanding of how they need to be supported.
This is BGSG really getting it right, grandparents joining together to give each other their special support.
Thank you so much.
Thursday, 6 March 2014
Wednesday, 5 March 2014
|Dear Ms Jackson|
Thank you for your email of 14 February, addressed to the Prime Minister, regarding the Children and Families Bill. Your email has been passed to this department as we are responsible for the policy on family law. On this occasion, I have been asked to reply.
I want to assure you that the government recognises that a father’s role in his child’s life is a very important one. The government strongly believes that children benefit from a continuing relationship with both parents following family separation, when it is appropriate and in the child’s best interests. It is for this reason that the government has included the parental involvement clause in the Children and Families Bill which is currently before Parliament. The clause makes clear the expectation that a child should have the opportunity to benefit from the involvement of each parent who can be involved safely, and whose involvement is consistent with the child’s welfare.
The legislative framework which governs family law cases is gender neutral and is focused on the welfare of children, not on the ‘rights’ of parents. However, the government recognises that there is a perception of bias in the courts. One of the aims of the parental involvement amendment in the Children and Families Bill is to address this perception and help restore public confidence in the system.
Once again, thank you for taking the time to write to us with your views.
Your correspondence has been allocated reference number 2014/0016170. If you need to respond to us, please visit: www.education.gov.uk/contactus, and quote your reference number.
As part of our commitment to improving the service we provide to our customers, we are interested in hearing your views and would welcome your comments via our website at: www.education.gov.uk/pcusurvey.
Ministerial and Public Communications Division
Tuesday, 4 March 2014
Monday, 3 March 2014
Meeting tomorrow night - Tuesday 4th March.
Start at 7.30pm. Please be prompt - seems like there are quite a few needing advice as we start
the new year.
As usual, we will be at The Brunswick Club in Brunswick Square BS2 8NX. Here's a link for directions.
All welcome, including partners. We'll be on the first floor.
There is parking in the Square but if you park in the middle, charges apply. They don't seem to apply
for parking on the road around the square.
Finish around 9.30. If we need to overrun, we can always chat in the bar.
Hope to see you tomorrow night
Sunday, 2 March 2014
Good to see so many of you using the forum/blog, and I include a very warm welcome to grandfathers of this group.
It has always been a concern of Jane's and mine that very few grandfathers come out and talk about the pain and sorrow they feel at the constant feeling of loss due to not seeing their grandchildren, I know that no day goes by without thoughts of my lovely "Sweet Pea" surfacing and bringing back that pain, soI fully understand what you're going through, I also understand the need felt by men that they have to stand strong regardless of the inner turmoil that fills every day.
There is no weakness in admitting your deep love for those missing children and no cowardice in giving in to the sorrow their loss causes.
If by opening up we can ease that pain a little then so be it, join in.
This lady is now in her 30's and is still scarred and bemused by why her mother lied to her.
She spent years listening to her mother telling her that the family were no good, that they didn't care about her that they never supported her mother financially, physically or emotionally.
It has only since her mother has died that she has made the decision to find out for herself, she now has a daughter of her own and wants her to get to know her family.
I knew her and her mother from afar while this was taking place and so I know the truth, which is somewhat different from the poison that was fed her.
Her mothers' family did everything to support and help her for years. The adult child's grandfather, for years bailed out her mother financially but it was never enough. Everything he and the rest of the family did was never enough, for some reason she believed the world owed her a living.
The sadness in the alienated adult child is palpable.
So many questions but very few answers.
There will be many days, months and years for the healing process for her and her daughter.
She will have to be shown by her family members who are still alive to show her that she was never forgotten and was always and still is loved.
Building bridges, brick by brick with fast setting cement to help give her the security of family bonds, that she craves, will have to take place slowly and sensitively.
For those who poison children in this way, need to understand that at some point the children will turn against them, that the memories they hold of late parents will be memories of betrayal.
Saturday, 1 March 2014
If you would like to meet up with a grandparent in your area and share a coffee and give support to one another let me know.
Just meeting up with other people who understand without explanation is very helpful.
Here is the link to the closed FB group to request joining