That’s my mother, the little girl in the photo.
Within a year or two, her father would be dead, killed in a car accident.
A few years later her mother would leave her children to live in a rest home.
I never knew why for the longest time. Then a counselor heard the bare bones of the story, and said, “You have to ask. Yes, you hate to talk to your mother about personal things, but when your 46-year old grandmother retired to a rest home and left her children in the care of her sister – you have to ask why.”
So I did, and the answer was not, as I’d been told before, something about TB.
It was that my grandmother had twice tried to kill herself.
You have to ask why.
You have to be willing to answer.
The only thing my mother ever really could say about her father’s death – what she remembered most – were the small, sharply defined holes that the ladies’ heels made in the carpet of their home after the funeral. That’s what she remembered. A carpet full of tiny, sharp holes.