Tuesday 21 November 2017

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

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.

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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