Rereading some of her parents’ divorce documents, she’s newly struck by the fact that she’s again forgotten some critical points.

Is there a difference between blocking things out and just forgetting? People forget plenty of not-painful things.

Things forgotten: That her mom had taken a small handful of pills, said she didn’t want to live, went to the hospital. Was diagnosed as a gesture rather than a genuine suicide attempt. (Note: It does line up that her mom would do this as a gesture. Imagine what you think an opera singer might be like at home, and then crank that up past ten. That said, there’s little doubt that she never had a proper mental health diagnosis, or at least one that her daughter was ever made aware of, or at least one that resulted in her behaviors and moods changing overtly for the better.) Later told a neighbor she’d kill herself if she didn’t get custody.

Things remembered: Letter from shrink indicating that her mom probably had postpartum depression at the very least, though neither of those words were used. That the shrink and her dad communicated about her mother without her knowledge. That her grandmother said her mother’s efforts to avoid changing diapers were adolescent, and that her father corroborated that his daughter had ulcers and scars from those ulcers from repeatedly unchanged diapers. That her father has a list of dates her mother spent away from her from 1964 through 1967, which totaled approximately two and a half years when she was between the ages of three and six. That when she and her mom moved to New York, she wasn’t allowed to see her dad until the divorce was final, meaning she didn’t see him at all for most of 1968 and 1969. This part she actually remembers from life: She saw him once outside of her school, when he was in New York for a meeting with the lawyers. She was brought outside and talked to him through the fence and told him that her mom would be mad and he should probably go home. She wished she could go with him. But she didn’t tell him that.

To review:

Mom gone for long stretches of time in early childhood, likely mental health issues.

Doesn’t see Dad for long stretch of time in early elementary school.

Stays single until she’s forty-one, hoping she’ll know enough by then to get it right on the first try.

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