A situation last month had me thinking of what the proper response was:
My close friend's Grandmother passed away last month. She was emotionally, verbally, and otherwise abusive to both of her children, Jane and Jill (the mother of my friend) as well as her grandchildren. She drove a wedge through the children as well, favoring one and then the other, and since the two children lost contact with each other, neither knew that the other had, for all intents and purposes, given their mother the cut direct.
Towards the last couple of years of her life, grandmother seemed to want to try and reconnect Jill. She never acknowledged what she did to her children or their families, but she would occasionally show up for family events, and would stand on the side not interacting with anyone.
When she passed, her family was not upset - she left some things for her family after death that was extremely cruel, of course as well as the way she treated them while she was alive. However, many people who met grandmother within the last few years, seem to think she was absolutely the kindest, most generous person. People want to share their stories with my friend, spending time talking about how kind her grandmother was, how she would always stop with a kind word or a gift. To my friend, who was treated nothing short of cruelly by grandmother, these words cut through her. She does not want to diminish the memories of others, but she would prefer not to hear their extended memories. What can my friend say to these people that would at least extricate herself out of the situation?
For the record, my friend listened to their comments, made the appropriate noises, and then moved away when the opportunity presented itself, but she would have rather been more proactive.