I was raised by my grandparents from the age of six weeks until their deaths, for reasons I would rather not go into. I always referred to them as mum and dad, for that's who they were (and are) to me.
My grandmother passed away when I was 15, my grandfather when I was 19. Having to witness their slow, painful decline in health and eventual deaths was tough, and had a huge impact on me and my life.
They are no longer suffering, I can be thankful for that. However, now that I'm a parent I often find myself thinking, wondering about how they would react to my becoming a mum and the various ups and downs experienced.
Dear mum and dad,
How would you have reacted, picking up the telephone to find out your 'youngest child' was expecting her first, after all she had been through years previous?
What would be running through your minds, finding out the news that I had gestational diabetes during my pregnancy? Dad, you suffered terribly as a diabetic. I would hope you wouldn't worry yourself too much about me. I was fine in the end.
What would you have said to me as I lay on the bed, crying and feeling absolutely hopeless because I didn't think I had what it takes to be a mum? You both had eleven children in total, twelve if you count me. You managed well with little.
I wonder how you would have reacted hearing me say I was too old to be a parent at 30? You took me on with no question in your mid-fifties because you wanted to do the right thing. I now accept I was silly to have that point of view.
Would you have had any qualms about me giving your name to my daughter, mum? I always believed one of her middle names should be in tribute to you. You deserve it.
Would you have been smiling just as wide as I was upon witnessing your great grandchild's first smiles? Her early attempts at talking and giggling?
How would you feel, knowing that depressed, lonely shell of a woman your granddaughter became is now full of hope and happiness? I no longer wish for it all to end. I now hope for a long, healthy life.
How would you feel, seeing me with my new family? There's still moments where I don't feel so good in mood, but those moments are not as often as they used to be. I feel hopeful and I'm now looking forward to a bright future with those I love.
You're both missing, though. You should be experiencing it all with us. Your passing away still pains me to this day, but I look back fondly on our time together when I was a child.
I wish you could see my beautiful daughter. I wish you could look upon her with pride, hold her and speak to her. I wonder what tales you would tell her of my childhood? There's quite a few!
I want my child to feel just as loved and fortunate as I did in your care. I want to emulate some of my fondest memories of us, such as the days we'd bake pies and cakes together while singing old, funny songs. I want my girl to look back on her life believing her parents didn't do a bad job.
I wish I could send this letter to you. I wish you could read it.
I love you both. Thank you for all you've done for me.
I miss you.
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