A Letter To My Grandmother Who Never Loved Me : Grief, Abandonment, and Broken Family

Note to Readers: This letter means to illustrate the frustration and the broken relationship we might have with family and family members. It might trigger some of your unhappy experiences, grief, and abandonment. This letter acts as a means to show readers that you are not alone on your journey with your family and that no families are perfect. 

Hi Grandmother (Pronounced Ah Mah in my native tongue), 

First of all, Happy New Year. I wish you good health, happiness, and wealth… hmmm… yup, that is all I have to say. Beside the traditional new year greetings that need to be said to the elders of the family, I have nothing else to say, and quite frankly, I don’t know what else to say. 

My forgotten birthday is on Jan 5th...
Oh, yes! I do have a few more things to say since I have decided to open this jar of worms. Ah Mah, did you know my birthday is awfully close to New Year? Despite being your granddaughter for 26 years, I guess you don’t because you never once wished me a happy birthday over the phone or on our big family group chat. But you make a great deal out of it when it is my cousins’ birthdays, aka your other grandchildren, with text messages full of affection and adoration, and you shower them with money-loaded red pockets. 

My phone weighs a lot when I am talking to you…
Not only I feel unloved by you, Ah Mah, but did you know every single time when you have dinners with the rest of your children and grandchildren, aka my uncles, aunts and cousins, but don’t extend the invitation to my parents and myself, aka your son, daughter in law, and your grandchild, I feel abandoned? Ah Mah, how come you invite your other grandchildren over to your place for meals, but always reject my proposal on the phone when I am just doing my best trying to not hang up on you. 

You never showed up…
You never came to my sport tournaments in High School but you went to her Volleyball games. You never attended my post secondary graduation even when my parents offered to drive, but you showed up to his graduation and took 2 buses and one train to get there. You never once said you love me or showed it, but you constantly told them that you are very proud of them. You never showed up Ah Mah, you never did once… 

I can’t say I hate you because I don’t. I can’t say I love you because I truly do not. I was born with a grandmother that many envy to have, but I don’t have a relationship with my Ah Mah and I don’t think I ever will. Out of respect and the strict Chinese culture I live in, I must respect you and not raise my voice even when I am screaming out of grief and loaded with abandonment. I must smile at you when I wish you well on all the holidays even though all you have done are all the things you didn’t do. I know I will never be able to understand why I can’t have a relationship with my Ah Mah and why you don’t adore me like you adore all your other grandchildren. I will never know because I will never ask; the last thing I need is to violate another cultural etiquette and banish me as a “bad granddaughter” even more. 


Your unloved, least favourite, abandoned granddaughter 

Note to readers: Many of us have broken pieces in our family that we mourn for or feel angry for. Here are a few good reads on characters that are also struggling with broken families and broken people, you are not alone. 

Grief, Abandonment, and Broken Family

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