Most undaughterly

On the day my grandad died, I passed my mum at the entrance of the hospital. She was leaving – she’d ‘just popped in’ to see him. She’d told him that his brother was going to be visiting later that afternoon and he got upset, saying he didn’t want to see him. ‘Did he seem alright apart from that?’ I asked. ‘I s’pose so. I don’t really know.’ she replied.

He was dead within the hour.

I vaguely remember telling a nurse to call my mum and get her to come back to the hospital, but this memory is hazy and confusing. I seem to remember my mum having a conversation with the consultant who had turned up – with awful, awful timing – just as my grandad was starting the process of haunting me, to tell us that there was nothing more they could do for him. He’d be a DNR; no further suggestions would be given. Grandad’s dying; why is this man trying to take my attention away? But she was there, right?

I honestly don’t know. She was squeamish around dead things, fathers included, so I think she merely came back to say goodbye and walked in on that instead. And then she left again. That was the last time she saw him. Kind of. She didn’t actually look.

After his soul had evaporated and there was no more noticible grandad-energy left in the room, I was at a loss. Who do I call? I didn’t want to call a friend, not even my best friend, and Ryan was in New York sleeping off the previous night’s show.

So I called my dad. Yeah, that dad. I just needed someone who’d know what to say to me, and I can’t even remember what he said but it was heartfelt because he’s not really bright enough to feign emotions. But I needed someone who wasn’t going to do something like fucking ditch me at the bloody hospital when I’d just witnessed – I’d held his hand and fucking felt it – the old man die.

I have formed a lot of the emotions I was left with into a very intricate but very squashed pretzel that I keep in my internal carotid artery. Every now and then it stops blood getting to my brain properly and I can’t think straight. I need to take better care of my pretzel.

Offering me no support at all was pretty much to be expected of her. However, she managed to sink so low just after his death that even I, with my terrible life choices and squiffy morals, look at her and think: ‘Well, at least I’m not that fucking bad.’

The first thing: The funeral. While I was looking after him, and while he was in hospital, I was in charge of everything. The bank stuff, the bill stuff, etc. My mum even waived her right as next-of-kin/emergency contact so that I would be the one who made decisions at the hospital. Totally unselfishly, I’m sure. I’m certain she wouldn’t have even entertained the idea that it would mean absolving her of all responsibility. I bet she wasn’t eve- okay, you get it.

My grandad wanted to use the same funeral home for himself as the one he’d used for my nan. It would be the same crematorium regardless, but he specifically wanted that one. Instead, my mum’s boyfriend said that we had to use the one his family used when his dad died, and my mum just agreed. I asked why, and was basically told ‘Because I fucking said so.’

So, Mum, if you ever read this – strike one. You went against his final wishes.

The second thing that she did was promise me that she’d help sort through his things. She didn’t do that. She came round and took my nan’s engagement ring and wedding ring. She also found the earrings she’d been ‘promised’, and told me that the cocktail cabinet/radio player/record player thing was hers. Then she left.

I don’t think my grandad wanted her to have any of them, but there was no will so they were, technically, hers. I took some of my grandad’s old army stuff and a few other bits, but I didn’t want the rest of it. I just didn’t see the point. It’s just stuff.

Strike two. Another broken promise, and you’re a selfish bitch.

The third thing to piss me off was along a similar line. I had control of his bank account, and he didn’t have much in there – even when you added in his savings. ยฃ2000 tops, maybe? – but my mum really wanted it. It probably was rightfully hers anyway, but even she felt slightly uneasy about taking a dead man’s money from the girl who looked after him. Not that uneasy, though. It bugged her that – if I wanted to – I could go and take it and do what I wanted with it. She’d constantly question where I was going and ask me if I was definitely coming back.

When I went over to see Ryan, my grandad gave me a few hundred pounds to spend but I didn’t end up using it. I went over for comfort and intimacy (and chili dogs) so I didn’t have the time, energy or inclination to go shopping. It sat in my wardrobe in a cup, gradually being dipped into. I had a little bit of my own money. I didn’t give a fuck about the money in the bank. I wanted to see how desperate my mum got; what she would try to do to get the money from me.

First, she asked me to draw out the money – for safekeeping, she explained. She didn’t want the bank or probate or whoever to have it. Fine. I went to the bank and took the whole lot out.

As a brief aside, the women in the bank were heartbroken that he’d died. My grandad was a totally shameless flirt who gave pic’n’mix sweets to cashiers – in the bank, the supermarket, wherever – and he’d remember who liked which sweet and got pissed off with me every time I stole one from him that was meant to be for such-and-such (‘I thought you wanted me to eat more?’ ‘Not the Raspberry Ruffle, I didn’t – that was for Daphne.’) It might sound a bit creepy but he was totally smooth about it, even with me sighing and rolling my eyes behind him. The worst place he did this was in the doctor’s surgery, because getting a prescription required him to give his name, which he did – along with a cheeky grin: ‘Byron. Lord Byron.’

(‘Oh mate. He shagged his sister.’ ‘I’m going to clip you round your ear if you’re not fucking careful.’ – I was totally unappreciated as a wingman.)

Anyway, the money. She said we should split it in half – that was astonishingly generous! However, there was the smell of ‘but’ in the air and then… ‘but I think we should let <my mum’s boyfriend’s boss> look after it for a while.’ Huh. Obviously she didn’t know that I had been having an affair with him, and I was finding this funnier by the second. Why did we need to let him look after the money? I understand the choice of person: a millionaire isn’t likely to steal a couple of grand from some peasants, but I can’t remember why she suggested giving it to him in the first place.

You’d think funeral costs or something, right? But no. My mum cashed in his life insurance AND applied for a benefit grant to cover the cost. She got the money twice over, but only had to pay once.

She just wanted the money away from me. And I didn’t care. I saw it as the perfect excuse to take my budgie and move two counties away. I posted her my front door key, told her I was in a different city entirely, and finally broke ties with her completely.

Strike three.

I called her boyfriend’s boss six months or so after I’d moved away, just to make sure he hadn’t forgotten me. I didn’t ask about the money. If I had, he would have said he still had it and would have given it to me – and I would have never known if it was his money, replacing what he’d given to my mum – possibly by now realising his mistake, or if it was my grandad’s. And I honestly didn’t care.

I took a sky full of memories, an ocean filled with guilt and moral high ground as tall as a big fucking mountain. And I’m downright awful; I’m the opposite of morals. I’m mutiny in eyeliner and over-the-knee boots.

When I was 18, I got into an argument with her over the phone. I can’t remember what it was about. I got pissed off.
‘What colour are my eyes?’
‘You heard. What colour are my fucking eyes, Mum?’

She didn’t know.

49 thoughts on “Most undaughterly

    1. Well… I don’t feel all that strong (yet – I’m getting stronger!) and I always thought my mum was pretty strong just because she always acted so hard. But you’re right. I never really thought of it that way! And I do have plenty of regrets, but I’m working through them. Thank you for such kind words – I really appreciate it ๐Ÿ™‚ x

  1. Where there’s a will, there’s a relative and with no will, sheesh. It astounded me, the things I found out about my siblings after the death of my father last year, not all bad, but certainly, some things were not right. I put it down to people having different ways to deal with grief and left it at that. This is well written; sharp, observant, uncompromising and painful. Well done.

    1. It’s a very strange thing. I can understand when it’s personal items with sentimental value – so I don’t begrudge her taking the jewellery and stuff – but money? It’s a clichรฉ, but she really was circling me like a bloody vulture! I just wanted my grandad back… And thank you – I’m glad you found it interesting. I really appreciate the feedback.

      1. It’s not even the money, per se, it relates to the relationship they had and how much she thought, he thought of her. Unfortunately, the only way to measure that, for her, was the money. She might’ve resented his love for you and measured it with something she felt was not in her relationship with him

        1. I’m sure a huge part of it was ‘I’m his proper daughter, not her’ – although it may have been her boyfriend telling her to do it, or any number of other factors. But he was always there for her, and she wasn’t there for him – it just depends on how she perceives that, I suppose. The funny thing was that she never asked outright – for some reason she felt the need to try and ‘trick’ me. I tend to read that as her knowing deep down that she didn’t ‘deserve’ anything, but still felt like the rightful heir. Which she was, really.

          1. I’m trying. It’s hard, but I’m getting there! And I know… life is far too short. Thank you again ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it ๐Ÿ™‚ – and thank you for the hug, I needed it after writing all that out!

  2. Wow that’s a hell of a story. You are far better off without that callous negativity in your life. What a loving beautiful soul you have and to come from such horror. It makes a good argument for nurture over nature, your granddad sounds like a great influence and an awesome man. I totally want to be that shameless flirt with the pick n mix when I’m older. Actually I really want to start now.

    Such a well written piece there’s so many twists if emotion it was a captivating read. I only wish it were fiction if only just so you’d have been saved tortureโค

    1. Ah, I’m no beautiful soul – I’ll get round to writing all the bad things I’ve done at some point and you’ll soon see that! But her influence is probably to blame for that, and my grandad saved me from being a true horror.
      Oh, you should totally start! Everyone loved him, even when he wasn’t bribing them with sweets – and he was flirting with the nurses until the end!
      Ahh, by this point I was pretty jaded and numb to it all. If you search on here for the posts titled Ancestry then you can read what she was like when I was a little girl. It wasn’t fun ๐Ÿ™

      1. I’ll have to do that, as horror filled as I imagine they are you tell the stories so well.
        Well all have our growing pains when we skirt lines of morality but you grew up…She clearly didn’t. Beautiful souls are always damaged that’s what makes them beautiful. It takes the pain to understand.
        I’m off sugar so I might not tempt fate just yet buying sweets but this one is sticking with me. I’m terrible with women I need all the help I can get! Haha๐Ÿ˜‰

        1. I need to compile a reading guide before the blog gets too many posts… I think the family and childhood tags have the majority of the horror, anyway!
          Well, I’m still pretty bad sometimes. Depending on your views, anyway. But yeah, she’s still the same, as far as I know. It’s been nearly ten years since I saw her last. And I think all souls are beautiful, the damaged ones just have more interesting things to look at ๐Ÿ™‚
          Ha, I’ll try to think of more ideas for you – my flirting skills are awful but I’m sure he had more tricks up his sleeve… ๐Ÿ˜‰ He was just a proper gentleman to be honest though!

          1. I need to do the same. The short stories are okay but the poetry really needs organising and I keep writing more. I’m really not that judgemental everyone gets a chance, im far more concerned that I am not judged and I meet other people standards. It’s kind of sad in a way, a need for attention.
            Ah the proper gent, I think I’ll be good at that if I bothered to go outside. Haha. I have no tricks, I just be me and apparently it doesn’t work. Haha.

          2. I find it hard to categorise stuff on blogs. I either end up with too many tags and categories or not enough.
            I’m kind of the same… I compare myself way to other people way too much, and I want their approval even though it doesn’t really matter. I do try to give everyone a chance, though. Everyone deserves at least one!
            Haha, I don’t go outside much either! And I’m oblivious to people trying their ‘tricks’ sometimes, so that’s awkward… But I’m sure the right person will be delighted with you, exactly as you are ๐Ÿ™‚

          3. Ah that mysterious right person that is very very late. Haha
            As much as I loath to admit it I do want and need approval. I guess it because I write to entertain more than anything. That why here is good simply to learn how to get attention the right way.
            I don’t think many of us here like going outside, creatures of the imagination that we are.
            I’m thinking of doing a massive change through mine, just do a total redesign but I’m bad at the whole design thing. If only I could get someone to do that part and let me just focus on the writing. Haha.

          4. You’ll find them ๐Ÿ™‚
            Yeah, this place is definitely good for that. Also, in response to your other point, I actually started the blog on here simply because I had made a few blogs using my own domain/hosting and I spent so long messing around with the design that I never got around to writing! Major procrastination issue. I figured if I came on here, it would be so restrictive design-wise that I’d be forced to just write. The social aspect of it is a definite plus, though ๐Ÿ™‚

          5. Ahaha that is major procrastinations, I just don’t have the skill for that. I’m sure I could learn but I’m lazy ๐Ÿ˜‰

            I never really thought of the social aspect I came to give a home to a novelette I’d written then started doing some poetry and it all spiralled from there. Once people started engaging I found it so much nicer an environment. I barely commented on other social media so I abdondoned them or closed them entirely and now I live here. While the real would slowly kills me I can be here and smile.

          6. I taught myself basic html/css years ago because I admired the people who were really good at it, and I wanted to be able to say that everything on the site was created by me – images, code, words, all of it. But I get so fixated on perfecting things that I forget why I started it in the first place…

            Ah, I don’t really use social media much anyway. I haven’t been on facebook in years and I have instagram/snapchat/whatsapp but I hardly use them. I use twitter quite a bit at the minute but I just act like a dick on there so it doesn’t count! I’m glad you have somewhere that makes you smile, though – I’m totally grateful that I’ve met such awesome people on here! ๐Ÿ˜€

          7. I’m the same with that admiration for those who can built with html/ccs but I’m just useless when I try.
            I think social media will always reflect your personality. My Facebook is dead just no use for it. I have a Twitter but it’s just a reserved name. It’s a weird one cause it can bring out the worse in you that heat of the moment fury. I only recently got Instagram cause of my recent photo spree down the beach but it’s innocent fun to play with your photos.
            I don’t count whatsapp and snapchat as social media. Whatsapp is just a great tool for messaging and snapchat always has the stigma of trading selacious photos. Not that I’ve ever had that pleasure *sigh* Haha ๐Ÿ˜‰
            There just seems to be better people here. A friend of mine at work called this place social media for intellectuals. I have to agree, clever kind people who want the world to be a better place and want to enrich other people lives.

          8. I actually find something really zen about coding. You know those colouring books aimed at adults that are meant to be relaxing and stuff? Well, coding has the same effect on me. There’s something really intuitive about it. That’s the trouble – I can spend days working on one thing that isn’t even all that important!
            I deleted my Facebook because it made me too easy to track down. Even if I used a fake name and locked my account, people could figure out who I was by going through my friends’ friend lists! I do like Twitter, I have to admit. I’ve met some really nice, funny people on there – I don’t really get into fights on there or anything like that. I actually prefer Flickr to Instagram, but I’m not using either at the minute really. I like using them when I set myself little photography ‘projects’ though! And yeah, you’re right about WhatsApp and Snapchat – although the majority of the photos I ever received on there were people showing me how bad their hangover face was… I never got/sent anything saucy either haha.
            Oh shit, intellectuals? I think I may be in the wrong place… I can help with kindness and trying to change the world though! ๐Ÿ˜‰

          9. I’ve never done the adult colouring book. I’m too much of a kid, I have a pirate one ๐Ÿ˜‰ I get the whole zen thing though. I don’t really have a zen, do strawberries count?
            Urgh Facebook just annoys me now I’m tired of the people there, really brings out the horrible people.
            Ahaha well I took intellectuals as a compliment you should too! ๐Ÿ˜„

          10. Hey, pirates are cool! And you can count whatever you like as zen ๐Ÿ™‚ What is it about strawberries?
            Facebook is fucking dreadful. The kind of people who have to have drama in their lives spend their entire lives being totally obnoxious on there. I hate it.
            Oh, I’m definitely taking it as a compliment! I just don’t think I’m an intellectual in any way… It might explain why I’m a bit intimidated by some of the amazing people on here though!

          11. You’re damn right pirates are cool. I would love a musketeer one. Love musketeers!
            Strawberries are just must current favourite snack. I’m off added/refined sugar so fruit is my go to for sweetness. Last month it was raspberries. Haha!!
            I doubt I’ll go back to Facebook it’s really lost its appeal.
            Oh I get intimidated all the time by the people here but if you get talking to them it’s the best smile you’ll get over the Internet.

    1. It’s possible she doesn’t even see it that way – at some point she told me that she imagined they were watching over her and she had conversations with them and stuff… But if that’s the case, why didn’t see come and see them when they were alive? Or, of course, she doesn’t care. Her boyfriend’s wishes are more important than anyone else’s, sadly. Definitely not good, either way .

      1. That’s one thing that absolutely sets me on fire….people who show up at funerals…or sit around and reminisce….and these people are the same ones who wouldn’t give that person the time of day when they were alive. I HATE that.

        1. I know! She said all that and I thought to myself ‘Have you not even given the slightest thought as to what he’d say to you?!’ – but she’s the kind of person who’d have a conversation with him in her head, apologise to him, forgive herself and then get over it.

          She told me she cried sometimes, though. So maybe I’m wrong.

  3. You’re a terrible person. Terribly strong, terribly brave, terribly resilient, and terribly intelligent. Just terrible.

    I’m sorry you went through all this.

    1. Hahaha, I read the first bit and was like ‘oh fuck, I knew it…’ – so thank you, you’re terribly sweet ๐Ÿ˜‰
      I really hope one day I stop feeling like such total garbage. I’m starting to understand why I’m such a nervous wreck now, though. I always put it down to weakness, but I’m not really sure what the “normal” response to all of my experiences would be.
      And that’s not even all of them, yet!

  4. Kim, your honesty is astonishing. Don’t ever loose that! As for your mum draw the line in the sand and be done with it. Why you even gave her the money I don’t understand. Just to get her off your back? Now that I get, totally, because money just isn’t worth someone hounding you. Keep on writing and keep on healing. When you get to the place you can say you really LOVE yourself, that is when your life will truly change. People will begin to come into your Life who truly appreciate you and Love you. Your post is beautifully written!!! BIG (((HUGS))) Amy <3

    1. Thank you! I’ve only just started being this honest – it’s a bit daunting!

      I have drawn a line, it’s been nearly a decade since I spoke to her last and I don’t plan on doing so ever again. I gave her the money because she was his next of kin and he had no will – although my grandad may have wanted me to have the money, she was legally entitled to it. And I didn’t care; I couldn’t have my grandad back and I just wanted to get away.

      I’ll definitely keep writing – this is helping me so much. I’m nowhere near being able to love myself (I’ve only just got to grips with liking myself!) but I hope it’ll be as good as you say. Thank you so much for commenting!

      1. You are so welcome, Kim. I truly am very sorry for your loss. May your Grandad’s Love remain in your Heart as you learn how to Love you. That’s where the real victory will come in with your mum. No matter how she treated you, YOU will have learned to value yourself, respect yourself, and to LOVE you. And you will. You are well on your way! <3 <3 <3

        1. Thank you – I will always love my grandparents, no question about it. I’m just trying to get over the feelings of guilt (which is what I’m working through on here…) because that is by far my biggest hurdle. But I’m doing so much better than I ever have before! Thank you again x

    1. Thank you – I’m glad you like it. I’m starting to find it easier to be more open about things, so it’s helping!

    1. Thank you – I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment! And yes, it definitely is. I’m starting to feel a lot better.

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