Kat sat in Louise’s office and blurted out her story. “Everyone’s turned on me. They all complain that I keep too much stuff and I like to be at home with my things. Don’t they realise I’m doing it for them? And now Kylie insists she doesn’t want anything to do with it. And nobody ever helps me sort it out. Bill wants me to leave it and go travelling. But there’s still so much work for me to do. Even my friends don’t understand.”
When she’d run out of steam, psychologist Louise quietly asked, “Kat, what do you want your legacy on this earth to be?” The question hung in the air.
Finally, Kat replied, “Well I want the family to appreciate what I do for them.”
“Is that who you’re doing it for?”
And with that, the session was over. Kat pondered on those two questions all the way home. What’s her legacy and who is she doing it for? Her mind went back and forth, trying to sort out her real thoughts and feelings. The answers were elusive. One thing she knew was she’d need a new journal to write in. She stopped at the newsagent on her way home and treated herself to a lovely new pen as well.
The next day she was still pondering. Bill tiptoed around her. He could tell something was on her mind because of the way she sighed as she wrote notes in a journal he hadn’t seen before. He called Kylie and said, “Something’s up. Ever since Mum went to see Louise, she’s been troubled. Any chance you could bring Tiffany over to cheer her up?”
The very next day, Kylie and Tiffany dropped in “unexpectedly”. “Mum, would you mind spending the day with Tiffany? I have a couple of appointments in the city, and I don’t want to drag her along.”
Of course, the answer was yes. Kat cleared a corner of the dining table and produced some paper, colouring pencils and stickers from the third drawer of the dining room buffet. “Here you go, I’ve been saving these for you.”
Tiffany sat at the table and Kat went back to her armchair, her journal and her ponderings.
“Grandma, what are you writing?”
“Oh, it’s just something I have to think about.”
“Well, someone asked me a couple of hard questions and I’m trying to figure out the answers.”
“What questions are they? Maybe I know the answers.”
“Oh I don’t think so, darling.”
“Ok. The first thing is I have to think about how I want to be remembered.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, let me ask you this. What do you like about Grandad?”
“I like that he taught me how to fish and he let me stay in his caravan. And he’s funny.”
“Ok. What about your dad’s mum, your Nanna?”
“She lets me lick the spoon when we bake cupcakes. And one birthday she took me ice skating and she fell over and we laughed so hard. And then we had hot chocolate watching other people fall over.”
“All right. What about my birthday presents? Were they good? Will you remember them forever?”
“They’re ok. I’m not really into dolls anymore.”
Kat clenched her teeth but smiled at her dear granddaughter. “Well, what will you remember about me when I’m gone?”
“Oh, that’s easy. I’ll remember how much stuff was in your house. And I’ll remember that Mum didn’t want you to have it. And I’ll remember that I couldn’t come for a sleepover because of the stuff.” Tiffany could see that her answer hurt a little. “But I still love you” she said and gave her grandma a hug.
In that moment, Kat realised that this precious child didn’t blame her or shame her. She was just sad. All the conversations she’d had with Bill, Kylie, her friends and even Louise didn’t mean as much as this one.
Catch up on all the past Adventures of Kat here.