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Bucket List 25/100

October 20, 2011

25/100
Reconnect with my Grandmother

I spent a lot of my childhood at my maternal Grandmother’s house on Arabella Street in Long Beach. My parents were divorced and the weekends I was to visit my Mother were mostly spent at my Grandmother’s house. I’m unsure as to exactly why but could only guess it was because I wanted to hang out with my young Aunt who still lived there.

My Grandmother is tough as nails. She doesn’t show a lot of emotion but she has a temper. I’m sure she’s endured a lot in her lifetime. Stories and details I don’t know or may ever know.

She was a secretary for many years at Rockwell International in Seal Beach. I’d love to tinker away on the fancy typewriter she kept on an old dressing table in her bedroom. I believe she served cocktails at a local bar most evenings too. She worked two jobs for as long as I can remember back. She drove a black Camaro, taught me to drink the milk out of my cereal bowl, and cooked up something called “Taco Pie” in a black iron skillet. She was born in Michigan on “Black Monday,” the day the stock market crashed in 1929. Last year, she suffered a stroke.

My Grandma and I had a falling out about ten years ago. Over a thank you card, as I understand it to be. Or maybe it’s more, and I just don’t know it.

We’re both stubborn. And we’re probably both a little hurt by the things that have been said over the years.

What makes me sad is that she has a great grand daughter she’s only seen in photos. Many times I’ve thought about reaching out to her in an attempt to repair things but my ego gets the best of me saying things like “she should have contacted you when you were diagnosed with cancer” or “she knows how to reach me too if she wanted to fix things between us.”  And thus, I do nothing.

Anyway, all this weighs heavy on my heart. If you were me, what would you do?

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Nicole October 20, 2011 at 4:14 pm

Call her so you can cross this off your bucket list this weekend!

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Wendy October 21, 2011 at 9:43 am

A call is unlikely. Not my style. A letter, perhaps.

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Nicole October 21, 2011 at 9:46 am

A letter won’t get very far with someone stubborn. If you really want it then ring the doorbell.

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Heidi October 20, 2011 at 5:26 pm

I would call her and straighten things out. Life is way too short and once someone is gone there is nothing you can do about it. I would give anything to be able to say goodbye to my dad before he left us unexpectedly.

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Wendy October 21, 2011 at 9:44 am

I totally agree, Heidi. It feels so much more complicated than what I’ve spelled out here.

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Chrissy @ Fireflies and Hummingbirds October 20, 2011 at 5:35 pm

It’s sad that she hasn’t met her great-granddaughter, but I must admit, I’m more bothered by the fact that she didn’t reach out to you when you were diagnosed with cancer. That would’ve been the perfect opportunity to extend an olive branch to you, if she really wanted to.

About a year ago I tried to make up with a friend because, like you, my heart was heavy. We’d been estranged for 4 or 5 years, and I wasn’t entirely sure why. I messaged her through Facebook (we aren’t friends there), and when she responded she accused me of many things. I waited a few days before I replied, because I really wanted to have a clear head. I apologized for things I’m not sure I’m even guilty of, and I never heard from her again.

My point is, your grandmother may not be receptive to making amends. She may react like my friend and blame you for wrongs you never even knew you committed. But I really, truly believe that if you don’t make the attempt, one day you’ll wish that you did. If she doesn’t want to make up, that’s on her. At least you will know you tried.

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Wendy October 21, 2011 at 9:51 am

I absolutely agree that at the time of my diagnosis I thought I would have heard from her. Alas, it did not happen. However, I did send her a card when she had her stroke last year. This is when my ego gets in the way — “I did this, she didn’t do that”…sort of thing.

To be honest, I’m definitely leaning towards contacting her simply for knowing that I tried. And we’ll see from there.

I’m sorry about the falling out with your friend. Been there too!

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Erica October 21, 2011 at 12:35 am

Im with Chrissy- shocked she didn’t reach out to you when you were dx with bc. I think to have to do one of two things-

You need to reach out to her and accept whatever the consequences will be. Meaning… If tours envisioned what this reunion would look like, or phone call will sound like – erase those expectations. Don’t let yourself he set uP for disappointment.
Or
Start therapy

You need closure regardless of what you do.

What does your mom say??

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Wendy October 21, 2011 at 9:53 am

Therapy?! HA! I’ve got far more important things to discuss with a therapist than this!! :-)

Closure, indeed. I’m leaning towards contacting her. As for my mom…that’s a WHOLE different bucket list item!!

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Erica October 21, 2011 at 12:39 am

So? At 80- whatever age, there is no excuse for being a – not nice person. I don’t care how you are brought up or how terrible your life is, you don’t turn your back on family over anything. To not want to see a great grandchild or connect over a breast cancer dx is heartless.

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Dana P October 21, 2011 at 7:01 am

I dont think it matters who reaches out first. If you decide to do it. It has to be because you want to know you tried even if the outcome isn’t what you hope for. Maybe its the simple act of trying to make amends that should be on the bucket list since you can’t control what she will or won’t do

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Wendy October 21, 2011 at 9:56 am

I like that Dana — “making amends” rather than “reconnecting.” I’m leaning that way, for sure. Thanks for commenting!

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Wendy October 21, 2011 at 9:55 am

Two replies, E? You’re really fired up over this.

I don’t know..it may be heartless. I think it’s stubbornness. I want to give her the benefit of the doubt, you know?

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Erica October 21, 2011 at 10:34 am

I am fired up. I was sick in college and friends abandoned me. I’m still not over that. I also have a grandmother who can be less than sensitive, and maybe it’s their generation or whatever, but it’s still not right.

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Pam October 23, 2011 at 1:22 pm

When I was dx with breast cancer, I went through a year of treatment and then wrote my mom a letter about it. We had been estranged for about 10 yrs. She had schizophrenia, very hard to live with. She never responded to my letter and never told my dad or sister. Mom was dead for a year before I found out – we read her obit in the online newspaper. When I finally got back in touch with family members, I found out that mom had been dealing with lymphoma and my dad had developed dementia. Had I just gone to see my parents, I could have helped. Even though it would have been very, VERY hard. I will never know what would have been the best thing to do. My dad lives with me now, so we are making up for lost time. But if I was you? I’d go see her – in person – and take along her great grand daughter. That way, maybe both of you will get some closure and a reality check. Perhaps she isn’t responding because of some unexplained problem. But whatever you do, best wishes!

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Maegan (@ByndTheBandaids) October 24, 2011 at 9:42 am

This is something I can totally identify with. For me, it’s my father.
But a difference is you have some control over the situation. I have none (will explain later).
You don’t want to go through you whole rest of your life wondering. If it’s on your heart, do it. But do it for you, not b/c you feel like you have to – then you’ll just be disappointed.
hugs!

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