When I was a little girl my maternal grandmother loved me with such ferocity it was frightening. She was the same with everyone. She had to know that you loved her back with the same passion; that she was your favourite grandma or that you loved her more than your own mother, father, sister etc. To ensure she would be number one in your affections she would employ a number of different techniques.
Technique number 1 - shower you with money.
Technique number 2 - take you shopping - interchangeable with Technique 1.
Technique 3 - buy you lots of your favourite food until you could no longer stand the sight of it.
That doesn't sound so bad you think but all of the above came with conditions, mainly that you had to listen to ranting about all the people she didn't like ( there were lots ) and not disagree with her about anything. Usually the vitriol was directed at your mother, father, sister or other relatives or friends. If you dared to disagree or speak up THAT WAS IT! You were either publicly humiliated, she would lie to your family about you and then send you to Coventry for a long time. She would only forgive you if you agreed with what ever it was you initially disagreed about and apologised in a public fashion.
It was a frightening relationship for all of us. You were always on tenterhooks and an innocent remark could find you in hot water. For example " we don't need another tv, stereo, car etc why don't you spend the money on yourself? " could land in you in exile for months.
She once made me pretend to be someone else when I had to visit my mother in hospital just after my sister was born, dressed me up in strange clothes and was generally acting quite bizarrely. All because my mother had just had my sister and I had been the first to know and not her. I was 10. She then didn't see my mother or sister until my sister was several months old.
When my mother died my grandmother had not been speaking to us for some time. I haven't really had much to do with her since. That was over 20 years ago. Sure she has dipped in and out of our lives but I haven't really seen her for over 5 years. The last time I saw her she blamed me for everything that was wrong with her life. This was with much finger wagging and melodramtic speeches on the door step. The last time I spoke to her it was my sister's fault. The time before that? Oh who cares!
Her entire family do not speak to her. The friends and distant family that she has adopted over the last 20 years have all fallen foul of her techniques and she has been physically thrown out of people's homes, people cross the street to avoid her. You see not all little old ladies are nice. She is now in her 90's. We think she has lived so long pickled in vitriol of condensed proportions.
She is now in the hospital having suffered a stroke, or so we are to believe. I have been to see her with my sister. At least she was asleep but we are aware that it is going to open the door to an awful lot of bitterness that I just don't want anymore. The silent phone calls, the personal attacks, the playing off the kids against one and other. Such intense love is frightening and over whelming. It is such a shame that she could have had so much enjoyment with her family over the years instead of taking such glee in conniving to upset them.