‘I Made peace with My grandma’

Woman (UK) - - Real Life -

Becky Hors­brugh, 49, is a jour­nal­ist and lives in Lon­don

other peo­ple’s grand­moth­ers might knit jumpers or hand out sweets, but my grandma, Sheila, was dif­fer­ent. She wore pressed, clean-cut dresses with sharp neck­lines and hems. She had strong, tra­di­tional val­ues – we al­ways had to be on our best be­hav­iour – and her lack of tact is some­thing I’ll never for­get.

when I got mar­ried in Italy in 2007, she couldn’t come, as the flight was too much for her. But when I showed her the pho­tos after­wards, I saw her frown.

‘It’s your dress,’ she said. ‘I don’t like it.’ I wasn’t of­fended – that was just Grandma, hon­est whether you liked it or not.

as I got older, the dis­tance be­tween us grew un­til I stopped see­ing her al­to­gether. when she passed away in 2014, aged 104, I hadn’t seen her in at least a year. I’d al­ready lost my fa­ther and brother be­fore her, which I found dif­fi­cult to ac­cept.

af­ter her death, the fam­ily cleaned out her house and found one of Grandma’s old dresses from the 1950s, a black and gold dress from a Lon­don bou­tique. my mum thought I would like it as a me­mento, but I just shoved it in my wardrobe with­out re­ally look­ing at it.

Dressed to im­press

In march this year, I had to go to an event at the Houses of Par­lia­ment, and I was at a loss for what to wear. Then I saw the dress and re­alised it was per­fect.

Hold­ing my breath, I zipped it up. It fit­ted me per­fectly.

I know Grandma would have been de­lighted that I wore her dress to Par­lia­ment and got so many com­pli­ments. In a way, I feel like I’ve fi­nally made my peace with her. I guess we were more alike in ways I never knew.

Becky in her grandma’s cock­tail dress

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