In Raleigh, North Carolina, nearly two years ago, I met you for the first and last time. It was a hasty 30 minute visit. You looked polished, pretty and sophisticated and your clean house smelled like berry potpourri. You offered me a glass of expired vitamin water and out of politeness, I drank it. We introduced you to Beckett, your only grand-daughter, and you refused to hold her because you thought you might get her sick (even though you weren't sick). There were pictures of your three children, Michael, Ivy and Rob on the walls, shelves and side tables. If I hadn't known your story before arriving, I might have assumed you were a doting mother, a mother who beamed when talking about her kids and grandchild, a mother who was present and responsive to all her childrens' needs. But I knew the story...
At least a fraction of your story, told by your oldest son, Michael. The story about your misery, abandonment, anxiety, sorrow and sadness.
I realize there are several unknowns and missing parts to your life that your children nor anyone else ever knew. There were things you may have wanted to do or say but didn't. Things that may have been done to you. The abuse you may have suffered as a child and as an adult. Reasons for why you needed to escape again and again.
I do know that at one point you were a tender mother to your children. You may have stroked their hair when they were sick and you probably sang softly to them as they slept. I know you loved them. Even if you couldn't always locate that love within yourself.
It's obvious you lived a tortured life. I hope this death you've chosen will finally bring you some peace.
We will miss not knowing who you really were,