New York

‘I BEGGED my mom to get my stepfather out of my bed. He would just ‘fall asleep’ there. How convenient for him. I started thinking my mother knew, and just didn’t care.’

“In third grade, we moved. I thought it was so fancy! Surely nothing bad can happen in the suburbs. I slept over at my friend’s house one night, and was woken by something startling. I froze, I didn’t know what to do. I started to silently cry. ‘Why isn’t my friend waking up? If she wakes up he will stop.'”

‘They lost touch. But he remained very dear to my dad, and years later, Dad asked if I could try to find him on the internet. I tried, but had no luck. Part of me was a bit relieved.’

“At the top of his planner was a name I didn’t recognize. I called. ‘Hello sir, my name is Sarah. I’m the daughter of Eugene. He has you here in his phone book but I’m not sure how you know him. Are you from his days in New Jersey?’ At that moment, my memory came back, and I could feel the surge of emotion in me.”

‘At 80 and terminally ill, she was self-conscious of how she looked. ‘They’ll think you’re a rich, eccentric old Hamptons lady,’ I told her. Having aspired to be one, she was happy with that.’

“We wanted to give her one ‘last hurrah’ before the end of her life. A police officer told my father of a place he just HAD to take my mother. ‘People find it only if they’re lost. It will remind her of Ireland.’ I pulled over. There, laid out, was horizon as far as her eyes could see. She was seeing the ocean she had crossed all those years earlier, for the very last time.”

 Share  Tweet