Saturday 3 December 2016

Every family should have a 'Granny Grunt'

Many elderly misguidedly isolate themselves from their families for fear of being 'a burden', writes Florence Horsman Hogan

Published 10/10/2010 | 05:00

About 18 years ago, totally out of the blue, our family acquired an adopted 'granny'. One cold winter's evening an intriguing little character dressed in a black rain Mac, white runners and crowned with the most fabulously wild white hair knocked on our door. Her excuse at the time was, I think, that she was looking for her dog. Successive evenings later it was her cat/broken door lock/needing milk, and so on. Each time she came, I got a little less irritated and wary.

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Each time she got a little closer and closer to our fireplace, stayed longer, and like a stray pup, slowly and inexorably wormed her way into our hearts.

Initially, I felt compromised and hemmed in. Being quite shy, I found making day-to-day conversation with strangers incredibly awkward. I was also feeling a bit guilty because although I knew that the aunt who'd reared me was lonely, I selfishly considered my time, with a career and family of my own to care for, as being precious; too precious to spend travelling to see her. I've since regretted this, of course, as always in life, when it was too late.

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