Friday, December 14, 2012


I was in school to become a therapist before my mom died. You have to do a lot of self-analysis. In one course, we wrote papers about ourselves every week. My professor wrote a note on one of mine, almost at the end of the semester, that said, "Abused children can't." I think I stopped breathing when I read it.

A while later, I said to my mom, gently, carefully, in the car, "Did you hit us a lot when we were little?" I don't know what I thought the answer would be. Maybe, "sometimes," maybe, "once in a while," maybe, "oh, when you were bad."

She said, "Yes."

Long pause.

I wanted to know more and I didn't want to know more. I asked, "For what kinds of things?"

She said, "Anything. Everything." She was staring straight ahead, not looking at me, and I could tell how painful it was to her. So I didn't ask any more. Within the month she'd been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and five weeks later, she was dead.

Akira didn't come out of nowhere.


  1. I faced some things about my grandfather long after he died. It was tough.
    I really loved Akira. Sorry that you suffered.

  2. I love Akira, too. And also my mom. She was wonderful, truly. My best friend, biggest supporter, the person in my life who was always on my side and always there for me. My eulogy for her:

    That said, I think if she could have rewritten my childhood, she would have.

    People are complicated. And we do stupid things sometimes that we then have to live with for a long, long time. I have no memories of being hurt by either of my parents. If she had said, "no, never" in response to my first question, I would have accepted it with relief.

    I'm tired of living with it as a secret, though.