My mom when I was about Lily's age.
It's the most beautiful morning in a long time. The sky is clear and a cool breeze blows through my window. All is quiet but for the birds singing. I woke up thinking about my mom and wish I could put my arm around her soft shoulders. I think about her as a young woman in the Vietnamese resistance against the French, living clandestinely in remote areas, moving around constantly to avoid detection. All her possessions were bundled up in a small bag that doubled as a pillow at night. I have an indelible image of her and my dad moving camps with their colleagues under the cover of night, with the sounds of the ocean waves as their only guide for direction. She tried to tell me all this as an explanation of why it is so difficult for her to be without my dad. They shared a lifetime of such intense experiences, and now she is all alone, clutching her memories like a lifejacket to keep from drowning.