We jump into bed from the floor, cold on our bare feet, giggling and laughing. Grandma spoons another spoonful of honey into my mouth. Mom would never give me another spoon of honey. And then another spoonful of honey. We say we are full, yet here comes one more spoon full of honey.
“It is brain food,” says Grandma, with yet another spoonful, followed by another, and another.
“Grandma, I don’t feel good,” is said by my sister first, but after another spoonful I balk also.
“It’s honey! It’s good for your!” Still the spoon full of honey come.
I can’t stand the sickening sweet smell of honey any longer. I don’t want more honey. “Grandma, my stomach hurts. I don’t feel good.”
“It’s only honey,” and another spoon full of honey gets put into my mouth, and my stomach empties, all over Grandma, all over the bed, all over the floor. My sister vomets along with me. Grandma had a big mess to clean up, and I couldn’t eat honey for years afterwards.
“No thank you,” were never words we could say to Grandma. Grandma was schizophrenic and we were encouraged to do everything to keep the peace, and keep Grandma calm.
It’s hard loving a person who is seriously mentally ill. As her first grandchild, she adored me. I loved her in return, but was not blind to the unfair way she treated my siblings. I was the barrier between Grandma and my siblings. I was the barrier between my Grandma and my Mom, running for help when Grandma tried to choke Mom I watched Grandma so she could not put ground glass into Mom’s drink or food.
I was happy to get things, afraid of what would happen to the other people I loved, worried about my Grandma’s illness.
How do I feel? Even today, years after she has been gone, my emotions are elusive . This thing in my life that has been hidden for so long, rarely mentioned even among ourselves, has had a lasting impact on my life. One result is an eating disorder demonstrated by a lack of understanding when I am actually full and should quit eating, resulting in over-eating. Another result is a hypervigilance of those around me, trying to anticipate needs, to skirt problems, and step in to protect.
I never ask what you need, or what you want. I am not asked to come forward. I am not asked to intervene. As a result my help is not always appreciated.
Best I can say is, I feel sad.