A while ago, I posted about an issue with my MIL and Thanksgiving.
Basically, she was going to be out of town, we made plans, and then she switched her plans. DH assumed we'd take her with us to dinner with another family member. I was trying to figure out how to smooth things over as much as I could because, while MIL would be welcome at the family member's house, there could be friction involving the meal (we went non-traditional) and MIL's ... strong ... personality.
Plus, I didn't want to be in the position of just inviting a new guest along or fishing for an invite.
I tried to explain as best I could how we really didn't want MIL to be alone at Thanksgiving, not at all, and that I was just looking for advice on the best way to handle it. There were a few people who advocated simply letting her figure out her own plans, and I understand why, but she would have been hurt beyond words to be left out, and there's simply no way we would have left her on her own. Even though our meal may have offended her sensibilities of what was "right."
(The situation resolved itself without MIL ever knowing we'd made other plans when she re-established her original plans.)
MIL died a few days before Thanksgiving.
I loved her. She drove me nuts. She loved me. I drove her nuts. She would have preferred a DIL who was more her religion and her political viewpoint; she tried to hide that (not always perfectly) and welcomed me anyway.
She was a wonderful grandma; she was, sometimes, an over-stepping grandma. She raised the man I love and went through hell and back side by side with him when his dad, her husband, was ill. And she often took him, and his sibling, utterly for granted and drove them crazy.
It doesn't seem possible that that vivid personality is no longer with us.
This is why, despite all the difficulties of revising plans and dealing with that personality, we never would have left her alone on Thanksgiving. She was fully capable of driving us nuts, and did on a regular basis. We loved her anyway. I'm sure the reverse was also true.
I understand why some people choose to cut off contact with family members; I really do. Some people are toxic, even when they're family. This does not refer to those situations.
But this is why sometimes you do things you don't want to do, even for the family members who drive you nuts. Because they're there and then they're ... gone. And you never know when that might be.