Let’s start at the end…

Dear Mom,

I am compiling all the correspondence we’ve shared over the years into a memoir. I’m including letters sent and unsent, letters between us and letters to and from my friends, professors, confessors, journal entries never shared—all the writing that reveals who we were and who we’ve become. I’ve been storing everything in a Stor-All office box, stock number 03325.

It’s so strange reading letter after birthday card after Mass card after article filled with your mixture of grief and hate and love.


These are only the article clippings (and probably only half of them). I had to put in the two extensions for the dining room table to even fit them all here.


A tiny selection of the letters and cards and Post-It notes.

I know you love me so much. But, as you’ve told me, you’ve cut the cords.

Fortunately (or is it unfortunately?) you will never be able to fully cut the cords. You will never be completely free of me. I will never be completely free of you. Because there is still some fragment of your old self left, I’m sure. The bitterness, the paranoia, the fear, the use of religion in the name of hate, the refusal to face reality—all these things obscure the smile that smiles back at me from one of the last family photos we took, sitting on the brown couch in the living room, hastily arranged with all the dogs, leaving enough room for dad to perch on the side after starting the timer. I like to show people that picture. Invariably, they mistake ba-chan for my mom and think you’re my older sister. You look so young and beautiful in that picture.


(R-L): Mom, me, grandmother (ba-chan), sister, dad (and three really big dogs–oh, and one of our four cats).

Maybe once I’m done, you can proof it for me. You’ll be able to read yourself back to me, read myself back to me, and see if what I’ve written isn’t true.

How could it not be true? We’ve all written it together.



One thought on “June 20, 2004: WE’VE WRITTEN IT TOGETHER


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