Going through my grandfather's effects after his death, we found several letters and photographs. Shuffling through them, I came across one that I'd forgotten even existed, and seeing it brought tears to my eyes.
Somehow during the intervening years, I've lost the picture, but I have a clear memory of it, even now. It's a photo of my uncle, my uncle's wife, and me -- taken just before we left for the drive "home" after my grandmother's funeral.
The three of us are posed in front of the family car, a station wagon. Hitched to it, a small U-Haul trailer carrying all my worldly possessions.
My uncle stands to my left, his hand on my shoulder, grinning broadly.
My uncle's wife is to my right. She leans against the car, one leg over the other, and arms crossed against her chest. Her face is expressionless, but her body language speaks volumes.
In the middle -- me. I stand, awkwardly, wearing a heavy coat and holding the strap of my purse so that it hangs in front of me.
I do not smile.
I look confused ..... bewildered ..... lost.
Viewing the picture, I feel such great sadness for that 10-year-old little girl. I wish that someone had hugged her. I wish that someone had told her how sorry they were this was happening to her. I wish that someone had told her it wasn't her fault she was being given away -- again.
But no one did, and she had to say goodbye and cope with all the losses she was experiencing as best she could.
On her own.
On her own.