That awkward moment when your sister’s new kitchen makes you cry

I had a bit of an embarrassing moment this weekend. I felt kind of silly about it, so thought it was probably something I should share. What is a blog for after all if not for making yourself look silly in front of far more people than is strictly necessary?

It happened on Sunday when I was down in Somerset visiting my family. My sister lives just around the corner from my mum and she asked if I wanted to pop and see what they had done to their kitchen – they have been doing some refurbishments and had knocked down a wall and blocked up a couple of doors.

Sounds harmless enough doesn’t it?

So I got there, and went into the hall. I looked at where the door from the hall into the kitchen had been and saw a blank wall. “What do you think?” my sister asked.

“It looks good!” I said. And burst into tears.


I tried to compose myself, but every time I looked at where the door used to be I felt my lip start to quiver.


Let me just give the situation a bit of context so you don’t think I am a complete mad woman.

Last year my sister and her family moved into the house that my Grandma and Grandad used to live in. My Grandma and Grandad had lived there for over 60 years – my Grandad built the house for them in the early 1950s. They lived there all of that time until recently my Grandma and then my Grandad died, and it was their pride and joy. The lawn was always perfect, the parquet floor in the hall buffed to a perilous sheen.

Their house was an absolute constant in my childhood. Everything from the swirly carpet and always-well-plumped emerald three piece suite in the living room to the little place in the kitchen where you had to take off your shoes – nothing ever changed.

We moved around a lot as a child and although I don’t think I felt it at the time, having a place like this that remained always the same was really important. I have never had a ‘family home’ – somewhere I grew up in that I can go back to – but I think that having my Grandma and Grandad’s house made me notice this less, and made it less important.

This house is really the last place for me that has all of those childhood memories associated with it. I have never thought of myself as sentimental, or emotionally attached to stuff, but seeing it changed so much felt like a physical blow. It took my breath away.

I wonder too if there is a part of me that hasn’t really taken in the fact that all four of my grandparents have died within the last ten years. When I saw that door blocked up a small voice in my head said ‘but how are Grandma and Grandad going to get out of the kitchen now?’



  1. 21 August, 2013 / 3:59 pm

    GAH now I’m nearly crying.

    • admin
      21 August, 2013 / 5:20 pm

      Sowwee!! xx

  2. Chris Hutson
    21 August, 2013 / 4:27 pm

    I know how you feel! I had a trip down memory lane today and went to see my grandparents house. They moved out sometime before they died but it was where I spent holidays and Boxing day with my dad and them. The front of the house has been extended and Upvc cladding put on the concrete facia. The front garden has been turned into a driveway. I knew it would be different but wasn’t expecting such a change. The same happened when my cousin changed my family home. We always have the memories of childhood and don’t expect it to change :-(

    • admin
      21 August, 2013 / 5:21 pm

      It’s so weird isn’t it! I have on my list of things to do before I’m 40 to visit all the houses I have ever lived in, but am wondering now if that might not be a terrible idea! I’m hoping it will be different though as I never stayed in one long enough for it to feel like a proper family home.

  3. 21 August, 2013 / 5:10 pm

    Ahh you poor thing. I totally get why you were so upset.

    I find it hard to walk past the house i grew up in as a child, we lived there for 25 years and it feels sort of ghostly when i see it now!

    • admin
      21 August, 2013 / 5:22 pm

      That must be really strange for you Katie – do you live nearby still? Do you have to see it often?

  4. 21 August, 2013 / 6:29 pm

    Aw I completely relate to this. I am very lucky to still have one set of Grandparents but we too moved a lot when i
    was younger and i have since had 38 addresses (! useful infomation discovered from my credit report!!!!). SO i think when you move you attach a lot of emotional significance to childhood homes, especially those of Grandparents. They always seem like constants. I still mourn my Grandma’s house in Teddington where i lived fro m 7-11 and i also miss my Nana’s house where she lived from when i was 9-27. I miss my Nana so much that i am naming my (currently bun in oven) daughter after her. Houses are very emotional places. I totally understand your tears! Xxxx

  5. Kate
    22 August, 2013 / 7:32 am

    Aww. I wish that I had a family home to return to as well. I hope that one day I can give that to my kids but my life seems quite transient so far. Touching post.

  6. 22 August, 2013 / 11:24 am

    This made me feel a little bit sad. My grandparents are nearly 90 and my little boy is lucky enough to have two sets of great grandparents but they’re at the age now where things have been deteriorating for my two grannies. I love them both to bits and would feel the same. I am sure you’re sister has done a great job though and didn’t expect a sad reaction to her lovely home developments.

    • admin
      22 August, 2013 / 3:05 pm

      No, I’m sure she didn’t!! I tried to reassure her partner that it wasn’t a reflection on the quality of his workmanship but I’m not sure he was convinced!

  7. 22 August, 2013 / 2:08 pm

    awwww, our grandparents hold special places in our hearts don’t they.

    When my nan moved from her home that she’d lived in for as long as I could remember I remember getting upset!! And that was just a move!

    Can image how you felt seeing the wall :(

    • admin
      22 August, 2013 / 3:06 pm

      They do, and I’m not sure you always realise or appreciate it at the time. I often don’t feel like I did, and wish I could go back and tell them.

  8. 22 August, 2013 / 2:20 pm

    I know exactly how you feel. I’m lucky that the house where I grew up is still my parents home. I’m not sure how I’ll feel when one day they won’t be there. My grandparents lived in the same house for 50 years until they both died and it still feels strange that someone else is living in it now, when we used to love playing in my Grandad’s garden when we were little.

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