Mummy stuff

All I ever wanted

Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas was blaring out of the speakers above my head as I waded through the aisles of shingly wrapped perfumes and luxurious cosmetics. If only money could buy you happiness, I thought as I scanned the shelves. I would have bought the whole lot, re-mortgaged our house and bought the darn bloody Dutyfree Shop, if only it could make my grandmother happy.

But the only thing she wants is the one I can’t give her. Not that she’d ever ask for anything. She never asks me to come again or more often or to bring the whole family. She only smiles a forced little smile, one that she can bear given the bruises and the swelling on her face.

Seeing her like that, so soon after her fall, was heart breaking. I didn’t want to cry, didn’t want to make her feel sad in any way, but I might not have succeeded. It was ok after the first 20 minutes; I managed to be happy again and hopefully have left a bit of my happiness in that sterile hospital room.

There’s something humbling and very grounding about visiting my grandmother. It makes me realise what’s really important in life and that all can be nothing if you are missing the basic things: company, compassion and a little bit of a human touch.

I can get quite upset about the fact that my mother and my stepfather dragged my grandmother from her house when she was at her most vulnerable after losing her husband. She ended up at a place where she didn’t know anyone, under the pretence of being cared for by my mother – who stopped showing up when it became clear that the inheritance wasn’t up for grabs yet. Most of my grandmother’s possessions landed on the skip. The faded, pale blue China that I had sipped milky sweet coffee from whenever I had run away from the place that never deserved the name home. The many diaries that my grandma had written back in the days. The photographs that document my brother’s and my early childhood, banned by my mother because they also show our father.

I am trying not to get upset about the fact that I would have liked to hold on to some of these things. I don’t really need them to keep my grandmother’s memory alive. After all, I am carrying her name (her first name, Klara, is my middle name). My grandmother has made me the person I am today. My stepfather used to yell at me ‘You are like your f****** gran!’ What was meant to be an insult soon became a comforting thought. It’s all I ever wanted to be.


  1. Oh what can I say, I have big fat hot wet tears streaming down my face. As I remember about my parents, I am their echo. I hold them close to my heart and know that they have made me the person I am today. It is not the things, but their spirit that lives on in me. My thoughts are with you

  2. Simone says

    Oh you sweet girl, you are a good person & a wonderful grand-daughter… heart really goes out to you, I am so sorry that this is all happening.

    My Dad is in a nursing home & currently it is not working out at all – it’s s nightmare but at least we can drive & see him, frustrating tho so many issues are. I can only imagine how hard it is to leave her.

    I am sure you know what you mean to each other, I am overwhelmed every time I visit my Dad that “these are the moments”……these will be my memories…the thoughts, conversations, the looks, the exchanges – I know how it feels to leave your loved one not knowing if it’s for the last time…’s impossibly hard and emotionally overwhelming. Corny tho it may sound, I feel as tho every time I leave, I am locking these moments away in my heart & my memory.

    Look after yourself, lots of love to you X

  3. Wow, I am already a hormonal mess and this just put me over the edge. It is very beautifully written and I want to be there for you and hold your hand and stroke your hair. The idiocy of grown adults always astounds me, and even more so when there is family involved. Know that you are in my thoughts today.

  4. Oh petal..all I can say is that if you’re like you’re gran she must be a lovely lady too! I’m sorry about your situation right now and it sounds like you’re better off being like your gran than your mother. xx

  5. Heartbreaking stuff. Just so sad that your mum didn’t take your gran’s feelings into account and put her in a home and didn’t visit. And threw away her treasured possessions. I hope you are a comfort to your gran though you sound like you really care about her.

  6. Oh, what a heart-rending post.

    I’m glad you have her name, and it’s a beautiful one.

  7. Oh Sweetheart, visit her as often as you can and take advantage of the time you have.

    I too am more like my Grandma than my Mum, and I feel very lucky to still have my Grandma around. However it will not be long, as she is in her late eighties and is starting to get confused, so its downhill from here. Love your Grandmother with all of your heart – that is all she can ask of you in return for the inspiration she has provided you.

  8. This is so incredibly sad. You have described her sweetness and those wonderful cups so beautifully it makes me feel quite tearful…

  9. Loved your piece. I had two lovely grandmothers, but one was really special and I can’t imagine how my mother could’ve done anything like yours did. I am so sorry to read that. I thank my lucky stars too. -HMx

  10. What a beautiful post. I wish you could have kept some of those things for yourself too – but your bond with your grandmother clearly transcends possessions. Sending you both my love x

  11. Its a strange and horrible situation to be in. My Grandmother was in a nursing home, and like your situation, my Mum didn’t get along with her (she was my Dad’s Mum). My Dad died before my Grandmother and my Mum said she couldn’t face visiting her without my Dad. I felt sorry for her alone in a home, but my Mum said it was what she deserved, awful, really awful. My Grandmother passed away 15 months after my Dad, and to be honest, I think my Mum was relieved to have the burden of guilt lifted. Luckily I managed to save some of my Grandmother’s belongings, its so sad you didn’t.

  12. You share your grandmothers name, and both of you share love. Keep in your heart the best of times with each other and give her the gentle touch she needs from you. Thinking of you.

  13. things don’t matter as you say memories and the person do- still it’s a vindictive and hurtful thing to take away photos and things. When my Granfather died our relative shared nothing with our side of the family and destroyed all the photographs of my Grandmother (who was my Grandfather’s first wife, she died and her remarried later).

    But love is the thing really and you sound like an absolutely brilliant Grandaughter xx

  14. That is very sad, but at least your Grandmother has you to remember her in the way she would want to be remembered I’m sure. It is truly amazing what people will stoop to when there is a whiff of money involved. You shouls always try and treat people the way you would want to be treated yourself- and I you quite clearly do that with your Grandmother 🙂

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