Yesterday I returned a call from a former volunteer, one whom I had never met but one whom I’d heard a bit about. An older woman with a finishing school accent, she was lovely to talk with.
We chatted for a while, about her history, her current life, her next birthday (80), her upcoming move, aging, community, life, and a visit I’ll be making to her in the near future to pick up some archival documents about the Farm.
She lost a daughter many years ago, a daughter whom she had for less than a decade. Towards the end of our conversation I asked her if when I visit her in a few weeks she would make time to tell me about her daughter. And I could hear on the other end of the phone this mother of a child long gone smile. There was a pause, and then, “No one ever talks about her anymore. Afraid to ask. People think it’s all solemn, and I understand that. But that piercing pain isn’t there anymore. It’s given way and now I can hear her giggles, and I like to remember the fun, the joy, the happiness. Yes, that would be wonderful! Let’s talk about my daughter when you come for a visit.”
Always ask. Even when it’s difficult and awkward.