The ethos of Bristol Grandparents Support Group has always been one of Hope.
In our world today, all too often it can feel as though there is no hope, be that in a global sense, the fear of Covid-19 or in our own relationships, the clouds seem to be surrounding us and that dark spiral of hopelessness can and does engulf us.
Is it any wonder that the number of people suffering from severe anxiety is off the scale?
As individuals the enormity of these issues bear down so heavily on us, it is relentless.
Of course we must all try and make a difference, however small it might seem, those small things add up and can make a difference.
I know that many people are still feeling really concerned about getting back to the new ‘normal’, you only have to look at local high streets to see how quiet they are and there is an uneasy atmosphere around. Our high street feels like it did when I was young, with that Sunday vibe, but everyday.
Even in these uncertain times, there are people and things that can raise your spirits, we just need to notice them.
Personally, it has been a difficult time recently, times when it felt like I was drowning under the pressure of it all, when quite unexpectedly, something lovely happens.
I received the most lovely card and letter from a grandparent, thanking BGSG and saying we have been a ‘lifesaver’ which is what I need to focus on, and a grandparent whom I have known for years unexpectedly popped in, she had me laughing until I cried, I am so grateful to these wonderful people.
There will always be those who try to discredit and attack us, but we can’t allow the few to win.
The positives will always outweigh the negatives.
We need to learn how to put those positives at the forefront of our minds.
They are the ones that matter.
Over the last 14 years I am privileged to have met some wonderful people, people who have enriched my life, people that I would have never had contact with, had I not been estranged from my grandchild.
Again a positive from a negative.
It is those people who remind me that we can be hopeful.
There are wonderful support group leaders doing outstanding work in supporting grandparents, I am eternally grateful to each and every one of them. They have continued in the last 18 months to give support when required, on the phone, email or zoom doing what they do best, listening.
We must never forget to support the supporters, without these wonderful people, who give of their very precious time, voluntarily, there would be no support.
Yes, the world is facing and uncertain future but we have to live in the present, to be kind to one another, to be there for one another so that no-one needs to feel alone.
Even though we may be facing some really dark moments, we have to push ourselves to imagine a better time, and be ready when it arrives.
Hope can be an emotion or it can motivate us into some sort of action which can be a coping mechanism for loss. Hope helps to build our resilience.
Resilience is not only about being able to face difficult times in our lives but also enables us to live a fulfilling life. It is also accepting things that are out of our control.
Of course it is very difficult to be hopeful when everything around you seems to be in disarray, it is more about expectation that things will get better.
A starting point needs to be self-protection, making sure we are looking after ourselves is vital.
Knowing others are experiencing the same feelings as ourselves shows we are not alone, no matter what, we are in it together. Being able to share our feelings in a safe place, somewhere you can have open discussion really helps.
None of us know what the future will bring but we must never give up Hope.