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  • In 1975, on this day, my mother died. Or rather, as her doctor told us, there had been "an accident in the operating room." And she was gone in a moment, leaving behind my older sister, also since gone, and my younger sister, 15, whom I inherited. I was 23 and pregnant with my second child.

    We are posing across the street from Holy Name Church where we had just attended mass. My father must have been taking the picture with the Brownie camera, the kind where you looked down into the top. He died from lung cancer a few months after this so he must have already been sick and known he was dying. Ironically, he'd survived the Soviet gulag and fighting with the Polish 2nd Corps at Monte Cassino, but fell to a pack a day of Camels in only 5 months.

    My mother never recovered from his leaving her, pregnant and with 2 young daughters in the States where she never even learned to speak English. She was angry and she took it out on me mostly. It's taken a long time and a lot of work, but I don't fix on that any more. I acknowledge that the seeker I eventually became, the writer, the photographer, the observer was due to her. May be a bit of a cliche, but tonight I can think of her, not with resentment and anger, but with acceptance and finally...love.
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