By Cynthia Hamilton
It took a life-altering crisis to make me realize that despite having known my mom for 50+ years, I didn’t know who she was as a person in her own right. I had firsthand knowledge of many of her trials and heartaches, but that only gave me a one-sided view of what her life had been like, with many gaps.
Nothing I knew about her had prepared me for what I found prior to her move into a nursing home. In the process of rummaging through eight decades of possessions, I came across an old photo album under her bed. As I opened it, an insert slid out, revealing a photo taken when she was 19 years old. The sight of her hamming it up for the photographer, so happy and confident, completely knocked me for a loop. Who was this person? Why didn’t I know anything about that time in her life? How could I know so little about my own mother?