Postcards of Grief

Mourning is a process.

Comments on breast cancer by proxy, written by a woman coping with the loss of her mother.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


My grandmother is locked away in the geriatric behavior unit at some hospital. She said that she’s severely depressed and can’t eat.

I have no idea how old she is. Somewhere in her 80s, I think. She hasn’t met Sanna yet, for the simplest of reasons. My grandmother and I haven’t seen one another since my mother’s funeral. Prior to that week, I saw her around the time of my grandfather’s, her husband’s, illness and funeral. And prior to that, I saw her not at all in adulthood. I made a choice not to see her. I didn’t know her as a child, after all, and I didn’t think Sanna would be any worse off for not knowing her.

But now that she’s hospitalized, my gut tells me to go there. Sanna and I will drive out on Saturday to see the woman who beat and neglected my mother.


At 7:18 AM, Anonymous Nella said...

Shit, that's got to be a difficult decision. Good luck going through with it.

At 5:03 PM, Blogger frog said...

Holy shit, E.

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At 8:35 PM, Anonymous e. said...

i know how hard a decision this is.

my grandfather died last fall. he walked out on us when i was 8. i knew he was dying and grappled with the decision to go see him one last time or not. i didn't want to but then thought, what the hell, i'd rather do this now than regret it later. it did not bring me any closure - infact i don't think it really did anything for me, but there are no regrets.

i know it's a hard choice to make and hopefully you are at peace with it.

At 11:33 AM, Blogger Victoria/Beachcomber said...

I know this comes way late but ...

I have not been in contact with my mother for ten years this year. She walked out on us when I was 6, came back when I was 12 and wrought absolute havoc as a result of her alcoholism. My decision to sever contact was difficult at the time and completely unsupported by the family. I got untold grief over it.

For the past 10 years I've been very happy with my decision. My mother returned to Canada (from the UK) about 4 years ago and moved to the town my sister lives in. It was very difficult for H and her boys (7 and 3 then) to witness my mother's alcoholism, self-absorbed behavior and inability to forge any kind of bond with her grandchildren - the ostensible reason for her move. After my daughter Carys was born, I was even happier I had no contact. I didn't want my daughter to have to experience the instability and turmoil alcoholics bring to their families.

My mother is turning 60 in August. For some reason, I am feeling a pull towards communicating with her. I don't know why. But the pull is there and fairly constant. Something in me wants to acknowledge this woman who wrought so much grief in my family. My sister mentioned recently that she wants to write a letter of forgiveness to Mom. I don't really see anything to forgive. But maybe there's something to that.


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