In 2003 Pearl, my Grandmother died. Three weeks ago I saw her for the first time
But, this isn’t a ghost story.
When I was growing up there was a pressed glass cake stand took pride of place
in our living room. It had belonged to my Mum’s grandmother and I was not
allowed to touch it, it was too precious.
I have always known that my Mum was in a children’s home during WW2. My
granddad was serving overseas, my mum and my aunt were
brought to live with their grandmother amongst a vast extended family of aunts
I don’t know when it happened, but I became aware that I didn’t have a grandma
like all my friends did. So where was she? And, more to the point, who was she and do I look like her?
Eventually I become curious enough to write a letter to my grandmother after I
found her name in my mum's address book. I didn’t tell my mum; In the back of
my mind knew that it was a sensitive subject. I got a letter back. Pearl spoke
about seeing me just once after I was born and how she thought about me
around my birthday I felt so guilty, I never wrote again.
Time went by and I began searching the internet for my family tree. I got an
email from a man claiming that my Granddad was also his and
amazingly, it turned out to be true. Pearl had had two more children and my
granddad was recorded as their father.
Pearl died in 2003 and because of this my Mum re-established a relationship with
her Aunt when she went to the funeral. A few weeks ago my mum celebrated her
70th birthday and a simple “Happy Birthday” phone call from her Aunt led to a
family tree and photo’s being sent in the post and there, after all these years of
wondering, I am suddenly looking at a picture of Pearl, my Grandmother. And I'd
love to tell you that I looked into her eyes and knew we were connected but it
just didn’t happen. She was a stranger and she always will be. But the things that
have come from this, the other photo’s the stories, the documents, they all give me a
link now to a part of my past that I didn’t know I existed. Finally I know exactly who I look
like; I saw it clear as a bell in a photo of my mum aged 3 and compared it with
one of mine. We are mother and daughter through and through and thats enough.