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'It is that possibility that makes us unable to let go and move on because it might, just might, end happily.’‘Sad, empty; there are even times I feel suicidal.I have such a huge longing for family as it used to be, but doubt it will ever be the same again (although I do keep a little hope alive),’ came another.‘My grandchildren were taken away from me not once but twice.Joshua — their father and my son — looked as proud as if he’d given birth himself. I’d forgotten that brand new babies are such tiny scraps of life, utterly dependent.The girls felt so fragile I hardly dared hold them, balancing them carefully in my arms. To my eyes they are already beautiful with their mist of blonde hair, tiny upturned noses and skin like rose petals. At the age of 77 I am beginning to face the truth — I am not immortal after all and my future is limited.Before Florence and Romilly arrived I already had three grandsons.One of them, Teddy, aged two, is now the twins’ big brother.
I also know it from callers to The Silver Line, the helpline for isolated older people I launched nearly four years ago.After Benji was born, when a friend asked whether I visited him often, I replied ‘Not more often than once or twice a day’. I would arrive at breakfast, and again at baby tea-time. Kelly (right), their mother, looked exhausted, happy and rightly thrilled that she had produced twins, each weighing well over 6lbs.