"This book should give you a little insight to my youth. I wanted to write a little note to you as well. I'll also try to tell you where I was during different periods of my life. I hope this lets you feel less deprived of my childhood. I think you can never get that back, but maybe this will ease the loss for you.
I had a decent childhood, and didn't want for much. I'm sure things would have been very different with you, given the circumstances. I am very happy now. I have a wonderful husband, good career, and great friends. What more could you ask for? (Okay, winning the lottery would be nice!)
My amom did a pretty good job of writing down the year and age on photos, so check the back of the photo for more info, especially the black and whites.
I want you to know you did the right thing, even though you didn't want to. I think trying to raise me as a single mom in that time would have been hell for all concerned. The important thing is that we have found each other now, and can get to know one another. I'm looking forward to that.
I hope you like this little book, Merry Christmas."
The day was warm September, and high noon sunny and soft.
The man who had been driving the pick-up walked across the grass with me until I spotted the marker myself, then stood with me a second before quietly walking away.
Kneeling, I wiped away the dried grass and dirt around the edges of the stone, and traced the letters of my father's name.
"Here I am."
I took off my shoes and sat in the grass. There were no words. The trace of a melody of a song hung somewhere in the air, "...gone too soon."
Did you think of me? The leaves whispered quietly in the breeze.
The dates are there. 1923. 1993.
The words..."I told you his name before. It's Melvin."
This is not the time for anger or for rage or for hate. This is the time for mourning.
A bird screams through the sky. A part of my soul soundlessly echoes.
And then, again, there is silence.
I wait for tears, but there are none.
Nearly an hour has passed. It's time.
I stand, take a breath, and begin.
Yitgadal v'yitkadash shmay rabba.
And then the tears come. And I continue singing quietly, in spite of them.
I walk to the woods and select three small pebbles from the earth. I return and place them on the stone. "This is for observing. This is for remembering," I whisper. "And this is for hope."
On the way out of the cemetery I stopped to get the exact date of death.
My search is over.
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