All Posts · Emotional Baggage

Her Birthday

An almost burnt-down lit candle on a candle ho...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She baked herself a small cake.

She set it up with a singe candle.

She took out pictures of her family and placed them all around.

She lit her candle and sat down – alone.

She said her prayers and made her wishes.

She took a picture.

She blew out her candle.

She turned 76 today – alone.

Today is my grandma’s birthday and I almost forgot to call her.  Every year on Feb 14 I remind myself that her birthday is coming up and I tell myself not to forget.  And, every year I almost do.  Today was no exception.  However, when I called her at 8pm, she was so overly elated that I remembered to call, even if it was at the last minute.  It was probably the highlight of her day.

I asked her what she did today and as she told me, I instantly regretted asking.  I felt sad for her.  I felt ashamed of myself.  And, maybe I should.

I know she has no one else.  But, is it my fault that my dad abandoned her? Or that she has a restraining order against my uncle because he’s a drug addict?  What about my sister and my 3 cousins?  Do they feel as bad as I do?

DH said that she’s made decisions in her life, and he’s right.  But how much should we hold those decisions against her?  I know I wouldn’t feel so bad if I was at home, but I’m not.  I’m here – in my hometown – and I have no excuse for not going to visit her.  Except that it wasn’t important enough to me to even remember that it was her birthday, never mind even making time to go and visit her.

I have my reasons for not having her in my life the way a grand-daughter should.  But every Christmas, every Easter, every Holiday, every birthday, I feel like maybe I’m being selfish and mean.  She’s not going to be around forever.  Regardless, I still don’t make any better of an effort.

11 thoughts on “Her Birthday

  1. Very understandable but you feeling bad only shows you’re a caring soul. It’s very sad that the series of choices she kowingly or unknowingly made throughout her life has led her to her current situation – but your not responsible for it.

    It’s so sweet that you made her smile. Even if it were a simple last minute phonecall. 🙂


  2. You made an effort in a situation that many wouldn’t. That counts- and she was elated. I tend to always ask myself if I could have done more as well, but remember you already did something 🙂


  3. You have youyr reasons. I have a familial relationship that is identical to this one, so believe me when I tell you that you shouldn’t feel any guilt.
    None. You hear me?


  4. This makes me think of the song Elanor Rigby.
    You make the efforts you can make – you can’t control what the others do. Also, it doesn’t make you more obligated because the others don’t go. Despite saying this, I know just what you mean.


    1. I had never really paid attention to the lyrics of that song, until now. It is very, very true for my grandmother. I know I can’t carry the weight of the world around on my shoulders alone, but it doesn’t make me feel any better about it.


  5. You called her on her birthday – that is being a granddaughter. Family can be hard, so you shouldn’t feel guilty at all. You wished her a happy birthday and that was a gift. It showed that you were thinking of her.


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