‘Hineni’ growls Leonard Cohen in ‘You Want it Darker’, his last CD. Hineni: Here I am; I’ll do it; Send me.
Some people seem to have a Hineni gene. We become aware of something that badly needs doing, needs putting right, needs some social salve to stop the pain and restore harmony. It’s always worth doing because it matters. Those of us with the Hineni gene reach over ourselves to do what needs doing. It’s often scary and it can get you into trouble.
Lorraine Bushell sent out an email asking for alienated grandparents to take part in a short film for the BBC. We all want this tragic and destructive alienation business flagged up and looked at in the clear light of day. Children need all the help and love they can get so a banished grandparent doesn’t help. I’ve already told you about the chat I had on the phone with Rob-the-Filmmaker. In due course we had a face to face chat.
Thoughts and phrases flowed during this chat. I’d piled the books that helped me on the table. I greeted Richard Gardner and Amy Baker again as I pried them from the bookcase. They sat with all the autobiographies of alienated parents, plus the Families Need Fathers do-it-yourself manual for self-litigants. For good measure I added Thordis Elva and Tom Stranger’s book, ‘South of Forgiveness’. If it’s noticed it will send a message about the challenging process we go through in processing our most overwhelming hurts.
‘We’ll do a mock-up of the court scene’, said Rob finally. ‘Oh ok’ I said in naive enthusiasm. Later I even wrote a script for this little excerpt before it dawned on me what a quagmire I was happily stepping into. The thought of repercussions assailed me. Sleep fled. I saw Andy and my daughter watching it and all the credibility I’d built up being reversed as the horror of the court was revisited. I had to buy a lot of St John’s Wort capsules from Holland and Barrett. I sweated as I emailed Rob to explain that the not-really-privacy but secrecy of the Family Court was considered sacrosanct. Fortunately all this was run past a remote and powerful person called Sally who decided it would be best not to get into hot water over a court scene.
Phew. That left the interview and I could remain anonymous for that, although I expect people who know me will know it’s me. If the worst comes to the worst and Andy and my daughter glimpse this eight minute ‘Inside Out’ film, I can point out all the precautions that we took not to identify anyone. I don’t think my daughter will see it and think ‘She could have outed me but she didn’t. She wants to forgive me and she still loves me.’ No she won’t think that. She’ll think ‘That witch has even conned her way into a BBC film just to annoy me. Did anyone ever have such a dreadful mother.’ The snares of Parental Alienation are wound into her mind and heart. I can’t do anything about that; only she can. I can only control myself and my reaction to Parental Alienation. My voice started to croak and wobble when I said I still had love in my heart for my daughters
You might think an interview for a few short minutes on film would not take long. Well, that bit didn’t. The multitude of lights and gadgets took ages to plug in and position but finally the main camera stood like a triffid in my living room. Then we had to make little vignettes to illustrate the story: my poring over the books to understand what happens in PA and the damning letter coming through the letterbox. Rob had to stand outside in the rain for ages doing this before it landed properly on the mat. There was the wrapping of a parcel and the writing of a card. It all took five hours so it wouldn’t surprise me if a lot is edited out. Anyway it’s all over now and I don’t need to start worrying again until September when it will be shown.