A letter to Vonnie

I don’t blame you, of course. You did what you had to. But having worked so hard to become a mother myself, I don’t understand why you had to put your daughter up for adoption. It was the 60s. Wasn’t there something else you could have done? I know you and your mother weren’t friends, but where was the child’s father? You were engaged, living together even, so why end it? You told the adoption officer your bones broke ‘easily’. Did he hit you?

Your daughter turned out OK just the same, despite finding her carer dead on the floor. She was rejected a second time too, but you knew that already. Even when she was finally adopted she still struggled for acceptance. Her new family didn’t know how to handle a bubbly 5‑year-old whose world had been turned upside down. So different from their other child, but then he arrived as a newborn.

She didn’t break, your daughter. No way. She just became stronger and more determined. And she’s a great mother, always there for her children no matter what. I saw your photo after the cancer had taken hold. You were still a beautiful punk rocker, right to the bitter end. And your granddaughter looks just like you, the same model figure, the same captivating eyes. You live on through her now.

It’s a pity we never got the chance to talk. I would have been proud to know you. Never mind, Vonnie. I feel that anyway.

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