The Guilt that Haunts Me
Share a time when you were overcome with guilt. What were the circumstances? How did you overcome your guilt?
This prompt showed up on Dec. 01st , I did think I had ignored it , but the next day Jacquelines‘ post about it caught my attention , and yet again I tried to ignore this nagging thought right there on the back of my mind.
And then yesterday Dec.03 it was the anniversary of my dear grandmother’s leaving us a few years ago . Let me explain that I tend to let go (even forget) the date people passed away – unless it is one of those traumatic events you always associate with the date – and prefer to remember them on their birthday , the holidays , and every time they choose to pop into my head.
My grandmother was 103 years old when she died . She had fallen and broken her leg a few days before. Independent and stubborn as she was , she must have fallen while going about her house doing what she probably shouldn’t have been doing like cleaning or tidying up something , as she would usually do as soon as we turned our backs .
So you see , although it was very sad that she died , and I was very very unhappy for a while , it was not like something we were not expecting and it surely was not a traumatic event per se. All this to say that very rarely do I associate Dec 03 with my Grandmother.
But , and there is always a but , this year there were these 3 pings – the guilt prompt , jacqueline’s post , Dec 03 – that conjured to make me write about this guilt that I feel from time to time.
Guilt that I did not spend more time with her , that I did not make the time to sit with her and learn as she had loads to teach me. Guilt that I did not get to ask her about so many details of her life that I do not know about and are now lost forever.
Guilt that I was keeping myself busy , busy , busy , rushing to work , to pick up kids , to do , do , do . Never making time , saying to myself I’ll go tomorrow , next week , when things slow down. Well things never did slow down , at least not while she was still alive.
And I feel an immense guilt that I was so selfish thinking about me and all I had to do , and not about her , and all that she did not have to do , hours wasted away just waiting for someone to visit or to call .
Hours we could have spent together , talking about her youth , her family , her marriage to a man 20 years her senior when she was barely out of her professional school and starting to work ( yes , she did take higher studies in the 1920’s in retrograde Portugal ) . She was a kid when we went from monarchy to a Republic , but she witnessed two World Wars , the man on the Moon ( no big deal there I guess , as my grandfather taught Geography and Astronomy ) and the entry into the 21st century.
She must have had so many stories to tell if we just had asked her the right questions and spent a little more time with her . We would have had to be persistent though , she wouldn’t just give it all away without a lot of effort on our part . She was above all a stern teacher , and she would have made us work hard .
To my grandmother I thank above all the unconditional love she always showed for me , and the love for books she did instill in me . It was her that bought me my first “real book” when I was just starting first grade , and let me tell you , I did learn to read very very fast so I could get the next one . Can you guess which books we are talking about ? Yes , the very ones “The Famous Five ” by Enid Blyton .
My dear Vóvó (that’s granny , nanny) would only go with me to the bookshop and let me choose and buy a new one if I did get really good results in school (not A’s for her , only A+s were acceptable).
She tried to space the books out , but I read them really fast and also always got very good grades .
So she would tell me – half-jokingly – that I was going to ruin her , as books were quite expensive then .
Thank you Vóvó ❤
Five Run Away Together was nbr 3 on the series but it was the very first one I read , if I am not mistaken.
That copy on the photo up there doesn’t look so old (it is from the 60s) or much read because it is not my book , it is my husband’s one 😉 , mine turned to dust apparently as I can’t find it.
I am deeply thankful to my granny for giving me the gift of books , and the love to read and to learn .
She also taught me to always to the best job you can with the tools you have available at that moment , and so in her memory I will apply this lesson and accept that at the time I was doing my best to raise my kids the best I could , working my ass off making a living , and thinking that sitting with Granny could wait , for when I had the time .
And now I am trying hard to not repeat it all over again with my parents , so I will not be guilt ridden again over the same in a few years time .
Still feeling guilty ? Yes of course , but I understand it better now.
Lesson learned ? Never fully I guess.
Have a good weekend , enjoy your family , your friends , your pets , nature , whatever makes you happy 🙂
Turtle Hugs ❤