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Something very very odd indeed...

(15 Posts)
Witzend Fri 27-Dec-19 10:09:28

Shortly before Christmas I received 3 identical small hampers from an elderly aunt (my mother's much younger sister) who's lived abroad for decades. We don't have very much contact with her any more, since she was always very judgemental/opinionated and said some extremely tactless and upsetting things right after my mother died a few years ago.

Plus she had told me very bluntly that it was my mother's own fault that she'd got dementia!! If she'd been more like the sprightly 91 year olds at her church.... etc. etc.

So I'm at a loss re these hampers! AFAIK has been no sign of dementia in her, although her husband has it.

My initial feeling was that she'd intended one each for me and 2 UK siblings and made a mistake on the order form - but it's unheard of for her to send presents at all!

I have 3 email addresses for her, none of which I have used for ages, and have sent a (very nice) thank you to all 3, saying I assume a mistake and I would pass other 2 to siblings.
Once has bounced back, but nothing from the other 2.

So I shall have to write.

My nasty inner cynic is wondering whether she's thinking to soften us up for a UK visit - apparently her dh is going into a home soon, so she will be relatively free. She used to make an annual visit to see a sister (not my mother) who died several years ago. She is well aware that she's really upset us in the past, particularly my elder sister, which is why I'm wondering about the attempt at softening us up!

If she does want to visit I will certainly have her to stay, but can't say I will relish the prospect - she's never been able to keep her judgmental/know-it-all opinions to herself.

ladymuck Fri 27-Dec-19 10:13:54

Some might call you a cynic, but you know the woman better than us. Prepare to be blunt and honest...having a guest come for a brief visit is one thing; if her intention is to move in with you, make it plain that it is not going to happen.

Witzend Fri 27-Dec-19 10:29:47

Lord no. Ladymuck, no question of moving in! She's got her own dcs and Gdcs in the same country - I think she might just want a final visit before she's entirely past a relatively long journey.

notanan2 Fri 27-Dec-19 10:54:48

I dont think you're being a cynic. I got my fist christmas card in a decade last year from someone who 2 months later sent out invites to a big milestone celebration. I went dutifully, with gift.
Roll around this Christmas: no card again! Havent heard from them since their big event.

Some people treat people this way, they'll call/write and feign interest in you if they think they'll have a use for you soon.

notanan2 Fri 27-Dec-19 10:55:05


bingo12 Fri 27-Dec-19 13:08:53

Why not try to contact the business they were sent from - asking them if they made an error?

starbird Fri 27-Dec-19 13:15:19

Maybe she fears dementia is looming and wants to see family while she can. Perhaps there was supposed to be a message with the hampers which she, or the company that sent them, forgot to put in.

Witzend Fri 27-Dec-19 13:29:26

Thanks v much for replies - it’s all very perplexing!
She did add a short message, identical in all 3 hampers, just Merry Christmas from X and Y, no name of the recipients.

I do wonder, if she is getting dementia, whether she’d ever admit that it’s her own fault, same as she said about my poor mother!
Though given the nature of dementia (sadly I have far too much experience of it) she v likely wouldn’t realise or be able to remember that anything was wrong.

grandtanteJE65 Sat 28-Dec-19 15:36:17

I wouldn't worry about it. You have tried to thank her, so that's that.

You don't like this woman, and seem to have good reasons for not liking her, so I wouldn't have her to stay if she does decide to visit. Simply say it isn't convenient if she proposes coming.

kircubbin2000 Sat 28-Dec-19 15:58:06

Perhaps it was the company who got the order wrong. Just accept and enjoy your hampers.

Chestnut Sat 28-Dec-19 16:21:13

I am always up for a family reconciliation. If there is any way to put the past behind you then do so. Have her to visit and stay friendly and open. You can always choose not to see her again if she still behaves badly.
It does seem as though the other two hampers were meant for your siblings so I would pass them on.

Witzend Sat 28-Dec-19 17:48:38

I will certainly have her (for a few days!) if she asks, Chestnut - I think my mother would wish it, even though she and that sister never really got on - the aunt was fond of criticising my folks’ parenting, even from thousands of miles away! One of those people who always know best, and what’s best for everybody else.
A great shame really, since I don’t think she’s a bad person at heart, but just can’t keep her big mouth shut.
On her tombstone, if she ever has one, I can imagine, ‘She meant well, but...’

endlessstrife Sat 28-Dec-19 18:02:39

Enjoy the hamper(s). As for having her to Nastiness should never be tolerated, and she lives too far away for it to become an issue.

Fiachna50 Sat 28-Dec-19 18:16:49

Id write a thank you note for the hampers. Wish her a Happy New Year and leave it at that. It does not leave the door open to any 'visits'.

Chestnut Sat 28-Dec-19 18:19:08

You say you don't think she's a bad person at heart and that says it all Witzend. Some people are critical by nature and then just blurt out their thoughts without thinking how it will affect other people. Maybe she regrets some of the things she's said, maybe she realises she has caused upset. Stay open minded and observe her behaviour. You may get the chance to talk calmly and openly about past problems without either of you getting worked up.