Diane Young. The World’s Greatest Grandmother

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Diane was born in England and immigrated to Canada after the World War Two. She was a lively fun person who had a ferocious temper. She may have only been ninety pounds, but she could scare the living daylights out of me. She was honest and kind. Diane loved all of her children, and grandchildren. She had a tough life, and worked herself to the bone to provide for her family. She played a critical role in helping my grandfather start and run two businesses. When my grandparents split up she did not get what she had spent years working for, and in my opinion earned. Still, her character reinforced the idea that family unity is more important than money. She deserved better.

Diane was on deck when my parents split up and my mother left my father – and our home. She offered us her house, and welcomed me and my brothers with open arms.

Diane had other grandchildren, but ones that didn’t need as much love and attention as me and my brothers did. My other cousins for the most part have had parents with stable jobs and income. I don’t doubt that their families were at times more or less dysfunctional than ours. Every family has its problems. However, I can’t count the number of houses, apartments, and families we have lived with growing up on my two hands. It didn’t help that I would bounce around from one parent to the next in my teenage years. I did this both out of choice, and my parent’s frustration over having me live with them.


From left to right is me, my brother Andrew, my brother Sean, followed by my grandmother Diane.

When people ask me where I went to school, I usually lie and tell them one of the places I went. My school transcripts read like a bad joke. I dropped out several times, and would start at a school only to stop going a couple weeks or months later.

Hitting rock bottom wasn’t easy. I had been contemplating suicide for several years. I would go through bouts of depression and retreat inwards. It took me a long time to openly talk about this part in my life. It isn’t easy. I don’t think anyone wants to show vulnerability in front of other people.

On November 1st 2003 I was evicted from my father’s basement apartment. He packed up all my possessions and dropped me off at my mother’s doorstep. My mother refused to open the door or let me in. I sat out there for half a day wondering what I was going to do. She told me I couldn’t come back.

After several hours she came outside. She told me she would be willing to let me live with her on conditions. First, no drugs. Secondly, if I’m not in school I’m working. If I can’t follow her rules, then I’d have to go to a group home.

I was terrified. After years of pushing, I finally saw that the people who loved me most were ready to sever ties with me in order for me to change. My grandmother might have been amazing, but my mother was phenomenal. The shit I put that woman through. I couldn’t even begin to explain.


Above is a picture of my Diane at my mother’s wedding. 

My grandmother passed away when I was in 13. She got to see a part of me that was extremely hurt, confused, and angry. The person I am today is happy, positive, and confident. I have a drive inside of me, which for a long time didn’t exist. If there was one person I’d want to know who I am, it’s her. She deserved to me as I am, rather than as I was. Hopefully she can and does see me.

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10 responses to “Diane Young. The World’s Greatest Grandmother”

  1. znjavid says :

    That’s a wonderful story. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Ayesha (Miss Spicy Hat n' Sugar Socks) says :

    That’s a lovely story…thanks for the pingback!! 🙂

  3. Rob's Surf Report says :

    I’ve got a foot in the same boat; my dad’s mother died some time ago – mid-2000’s – and I wasn’t very stable at all. I had a home until I graduated high school, but then after that I was bouncing around a lot and I was never given a place to live for free because even my Mom wanted rent from me; I had to learn on my own how to endure life, and eventually how to thrive. Now, when I’ve got it all down, part of me really wishes my Grandma were around to see what I’ve made of myself, and my writing. I know out of everyone in my family, she would have encouraged me the most to do what I love because that’s the kind of lady she was.

    So here’s to awesome grandmas. 🙂

    • Ryan McInally says :

      Hey Rob,

      I find that there is some truth to the saying that paying your own way builds character. Maybe not for everyone, but it definitely made me appreciate the value of what things cost. A lot of people my age feel a sense of entitlement. Their parents have spoiled them and solved every problem they have ever had.

      I wouldn’t trade my outlook on life for all the easy opportunities in the world. You can buy a lot of things, but you can’t buy perspective. Our lives our made rich by the friends and family we surround ourselves with. Materialistic possessions are poor substitute for human connection.

      Age brings wisdom, which is what our grandmothers shared. Going through life makes you realize what’s important. 🙂

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