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Woman Uncovers Late Grandma’s Diary: “Now I Have Her Loving Words Forever!”

When Natalie Carlomagno finds her late grandmother's diary, she soon discovers what a treasure it truly is

In the solemn days following her grandmother’s passing, Natalie Carlomagno found solace in an unexpected treasure — a journal in which her grandmother had woven a tapestry of memories that would illuminate their beautiful relationship in ways that Natalie had never imagined.

Natalie Carlomagno’s heart ached, when, in the fall of 2023, her beloved 81-year-old maternal grandmother, Susan Bowden, was diagnosed with cancer that was so aggressive, there were no treatment options.

Still, the 21-year-old Tallahassee, Florida, college student didn’t expect to lose her so quickly. But just one month later, her “Nana,” who also suffered from Alzheimer’s, passed away. 

Natalie found her Grandma's diary
Natalie was very close to her Grandma all her life

To compound the grief, Natalie’s grandfather died that December, after years of battling an undiagnosed illness. 

Raised by a single mom, Natalie had spent countless hours at her grandparents’ home growing up. Now, she held tightly to those precious memories.

An unbreakable bond

A lot of Natalie’s favorite moments as a youngster had been spent in her Nana’s shiny white BMW. “She’d pick me up from elementary school every day. She always had a pack of strawberry Mentos and gave me two for the ride home,” Natalie fondly recalls. 

Grown-up Natalie with the blue BMW given to her by her grandmother
Grown-up Natalie with the white BMW given to her by her grandmother

As Natalie grew, so did the bond with her grandmother. They even remained close when Natalie, her mom and little brother moved to Marietta, Georgia. Natalie would call her grandmother every morning and they’d chat until the school bus arrived.

Instead of hanging out with friends during her spring breaks in high school, Natalie would hop on a plane to her grandparents’ house.

When she went to college in South Florida, near her grandparents’ home, she would visit often—driving over in her Nana’s BMW, which she’d gifted Natalie (and always with a pack of strawberry Mentos).

Grandma holding Natalie as a baby
Grandma holding Natalie in the hospital

Sadly, as close as they were, Natalie never had the chance to bid her grandmother a personal farewell. She had to say her goodbyes over the phone — a heart-wrenching moment. 

“I told her how much I loved her and that I was sorry that I was not there. I thanked her for a wonderful childhood, and I let her know that it was okay to let go,” Natalie shares. 

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Uncovering memories in Grandma’s diary

As Natalie, her mother, and younger brother began the task of clearing out her grandparents’ home, an unexpected urge led Natalie to search for her old Harry Potter books.

Venturing into the garage, she found a box with her childhood collection. Among them, an unmarked book caught her attention. It was a soft-bound beige scrapbook with a tiny pink rose on the cover. 

To Natalie’s astonishment, it chronicled her life. 

Grandma's diary
Natalie found her Grandma’s diary, and unlocked a whole treasure of special memories

The first entry was made the night before Natalie was born — May 23, 2002: Stephanie and Vic left this morning to embark on a new path, the baby road. Hopefully, we will hear our long-awaited news — the very first, very special Carlomagno.

Flipping through, Natalie found many heartfelt notes: Natalie is one week today and all is well

Another page marked a huge milestone: Today you & I have a secret. You took 6 steps all alone. We can’t tell Mommy or Daddy. They have to be the first ones to see you walk. 

Grandma holding Natalie while she walks
In Grandma’s diary, she wrote about the beautiful moment when Natalie walked for the first time

There were also bittersweet entries. Often I wish my own mother could get just one look at you. She would just love you to death, as we all do

There was even an entry about their time in the BMW: You love to go into my car, turn on the lights, flick the blinkers, climb all over the car & generally enjoy yourself. You are my joy and my love. 

An entry from Grandma's diary
Natalie read all about how her great-grandmother would have loved to meet her in her Grandma’s diary

Touched, Natalie shared her find on social media — the post currently has 8.6 million views —and messages poured in, many from grandparents inspired to create similar journals for their grandchildren and others from people wishing they, too, had such a precious memento.

Despite the grief of losing her grandmother, having the diary has provided Natalie with a sense of peace.

Natalie's grandma
After finding her journal, Natalie has peace even though she misses her grandma

“I feel that she meant for me to find it,” Natalie says emotionally. “Finding this journal is all the more special because due to her Alzheimer’s, she hadn’t any idea who I was for a long time. To have all of these incredibly loving and kind words from her is surreal. Thank you, Nana.” 

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