Mummy stuff


Every time I picked up the phone to call my grandma during the past months, I dreaded that she’d fall asleep on the phone again, that she’d again confuse names, that her speech again was slurred and that again, I would feel her health and her spirits deteriorating. I found excuses not to visit her – after all it is an eight hours drive away. But you can’t avoid your demons forever.

I took the red-eye to Dusseldorf yesterday in the wee hours to get to my grandma’s care home in the morning. What I found was devastating. My grandma, the woman who has cared for her daughters her whole life long, who accommodated both my brothers in her home when my mother couldn’t have cared less, who gave literally everything, is alone, left in an environment unfamiliar to her, a filthy, hot and horrible room, and she is slowly and painfully dying.

Holding her hand yesterday, I couldn’t help but wish she would have died there and then. I know that this is an awful thing to think, but at least she wouldn’t have been so alone. 96 years of sacrifice for nothing?

I am so angry and unbelievably sad that my mother and her sister have taken everything when there was something to take and now don’t give back. At all. I would love to move my grandma to a home in London, but then she wouldn’t understand a word of what’s going on around her.

What shall I do? What shall I do? What shall I do???


  1. Oh sweetie, I am so so sorry and sad to read this, I have a lump in my throat as I write.

    The stress of caring for my grandma as her Alzheimers took hold actually killed my grandfather and now 11 years later my grandma is in a home, not in the town she lived in all her life, she’s 92 and doesn’t recognise any of us. It is absolutely heartbreaking to see her, really difficult…..I can imagine what you are going through. It is so awful to watch her….I was very close to her when I was young and I don’t mind admitting I can hardly bear to watch her now, she is unable to communicate, it’s just miserable. Quality of life is everything….

    However, she is in a lovely home and my mother and my uncle can see her and we know she is cared for. I can only imagine how your grandma’s abandonment (I apologise if that’s too strong a word) has affected you…it must be doubly painful to see her like this… just isn’t fair.

    I know that finding the right kind of care home is a lot easier said than done (something you never realise until you have to do it)…..are there any other options open to you and are you the only one dealing with this? I hope you have some family support….or maybe not?

  2. Oh my dear MM, my heart goes out to you! A devasting situation to see one who has given so much and be left with nothing and no one to care about them in the end. It’s sad how we treat our elders especially the ones we refer to as our loved ones. Asides from the language barrier, would there be any other cons for her if you brought her to London to be closer to you? I am sure it wouldn’t be that pleasant at this stage for her to be around people that she couldn’t understand but would it be better to be someplace where you could understand and just not have anyone who cared to share more than a few words with you? Not being in that situation, I am not sure what I would do in the end but I think if I could make it work, I would seriously think about bringing her closer to you. You know where to reach me if you need to ‘talk’, I am only an email away. I hope your heart finds a little peace this weekend.

  3. Whoops, hit send too soon!

    I don’t know how to be of practical help but please know I am thinking of you and appreciate what an impossible situation you are in…..I am so sorry.

    Hugs to you xoxo

  4. Would your mother not be shamed into doing something if you told her how you felt? (Probably not if it’s like this now.) So sorry.

  5. Your life is busy with your own family I know. So what to do? I wish I had some sagely advice for you. I think she most feel the love coming from you,and it will be of some comfort until she goes to the peace she was earned.

  6. (((hugs)) my great grandma had Alzheimers and it was awful watching my nan look after her, she eventually went to live in a home but it was nice, maybe you could try to find a nicer one if your mother agrees, easier said than done i know. thinking of you xxxx

  7. Oh gosh MM. I wish that I could offer you some amazing advice that would make everything ok but I just don’t know what to say! Can you move her to a different care home in her home town or get extra help maybe? I hope that you get it all figured out x

  8. bring her home 🙁 i will come help.
    this really touches home – my great grandma (who gave me so much and helped raise me when my madre was too irresponsible 🙂 ) is just in the process of being moved to a care home with Alzheimer. it’s breaking my heart that i’m so far away, too.

  9. Oh this is so sad. No words – just hoping that you can arrive at a peaceful decision.

  10. Oh how dreadful. Would speaking to your mother or sister help? I’m guessing not. Are the care home able to help at all? Her doctors? The distance means there is a limit to what you can do but it sounds as if you are doing your best. x

  11. I’m sorry to hear about that. My granpa had Alzheimer and at some point a care home was the best place to him, but my mother was always keeping an eye and family changed granpa several times from a care home to another until find a good one. Maybe find a better care hme is a good idea or if your family could go more frequently to check if she is ok, I mean if they are taking care of her properly. Sorry but its the only way I guess. Its hard I know… maybe you could go and sort this, I know lloks crazy, but if you care go for it.

  12. What an awful situation. Family can be the worst. I hope you find a solution. x

  13. Sorry to hear about your grandmother. Is it possible to find her another care facility. I am shocked to hear the conditions at the home that you spoke of. What is Germany coming too. Hope you can find a solution that you are comfortable with.

  14. Big M says

    It is just so unjust!

    I still think outing your mother in the local papers would be a) truly more than well deserved b) might hurt her where it counts and force her out off her gut-wrenchingly annoying state of egotistic, self absorbed, phlegmatic indifference…

    May be a bit of rage talking here, but the plan is not without merit… and you are a writer after all.

  15. Oh sweetheart I’m so sorry. What a horrible and upsetting situation and I can understand your rage and feeling of helplessness. I don’t know what the best solution is – I really don’t. I’d like my parents (my Dad has dementia) to move nearer to us so we can be on hand more but I fear the confusion of moving somewhere totally foreign might confuse him even more. My heart goes out to you, really it does.

  16. I really feel for you- you sound like a wonderful grandaughter but you have a little person here who needs you very much.

    I don’t know them of course but I think your Mother and sister sound like they are being very irresponsible- if we can’t look after our family who can we look after.

    I truly don’t understand the way we treat the elderly in the west generally. I went to hospital yesterday, for a meeting actually not for myself, and everyone there was old- it was all their old friend picking them up and visiting them- where were there children? their younger family? Perhaps they came later i don’t know but it does make you think.

    I’m sure she knows how much you love her and want to help

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