My grandmother often comes up in daily conversation. Not quite as much as a year ago, but often enough that there’s not a day she isn’t thought of.
There was a time when she was like a friend to me. I would talk to her about boys, we’d watch late-night PG-13 movies with my friends, turn up the radio in the car as we drove into town, and talk about the weather.
She was also like a mother to me, helping me through my teenage years. The break-ups, the boy crushes, fighting with my little sister, and all other things associated with a teenager’s upbringing. Adding to my story, the court hearings and custody battle, and my parent’s divorce. None of which were easy for me.
Something happened in the years that passed. She grew to be hateful, like she was mad at the world. Her friends would never know this because she put on a front; acted out to impress them. I began to see through it, through her. She knew it too. It made her angry.
Then her friends started noticing the change in her. She was mad at the world, but she was also mad at herself. Then she cracked.
She lost her mind. After she experienced what she referred to as ‘a brush with death’, she lost her mind. According to her, everyone was out to get her, and she had to get them before they got her. She didn’t say this, but I could read it in her facial expressions, no matter how inconspicuous she was trying to be. It was sad to watch her becoming who she was. She grew to be old and hateful. No matter what any of us did, it was never good enough for her.
She blamed a lot of people, for a lot of things. She blamed her mama and daddy for where she lived, and her mama for her tortured adolescence. It was their fault that she married the men she did, and it was their fault she didn’t marry her one true love before he died. Her first husband cheated on her, the second husband beat on her. She feared marriage because her prince charming became her living nightmare.
When her one true love passed away, she was mad at him for leaving her, she was angry with herself because they never married, but she was also angry at herself because she didn’t see the signs of his medical decline. When she looked back after he died, every sign was there, but not one registered. She was also angry with her ‘Heavenly Father’ because ‘he took her one true love from her’.
There are many things her friends don’t know about her. For instance, she loved to embellish on her stories about when she was growing up. She has certainly told some tall tales.