July 28, 2017:

She was raped as a child.

For years she allowed no-one to touch her.

As a young adult, to the surprise of all, she became pregnant. The marriage was necessary, and they married, she a somewhat plain and depressive young music major, he a strikingly handsome athlete obsessed with sex who beat her, and her child, until one day she packed up her baby and left.

She worked in a factory making airplanes, the same factory where her mother worked.

She rented a two-bedroom apartment on the second floor of a small yellow apartment building. She painted the walls a shade of light tan she designed herself, mixing the paint at the hardware store; and the trim a pale green. She bought unfinished furniture which she and her very young son painted together. She rented an upright piano, studied for her masters in voice, and would sing to him: "Tura Lura Lura", and "The Wearing of the Green". She played Beethoven on a tiny Sears portable, and left for work very early in the morning.

She was unsure of her child. He had obvious emotional scars, the consequences of paternal abuse. He ate little and she was frightened. For male discipline she thought of sending him to military academy: they visited one, an hour's drive into the countryside. But she couldn't part with him, and he remained thin almost all through college.

She gave up grad school and the piano, watched TV, read fantasy novels. As her son became independent she spent less and less time with him, retreating more and more into an inward space of her own creation. Her life revolved inside a narrow circle of cigarettes, television, fantasy novels, and work. When her son went away to university she was alone, and wanted it that way.

At 53 she had a heart attack triggered by smoking. It was a blood clot got loose from her lung. She explained it to herself as overexertion from yard work.

Her son in adulthood wanted to build a closer relationship. She changed cities to be near him; but rejected most of his invitations for time together. He was confused and hurt, and ultimately surrendered to the sense of rejection he found overwhelming. He moved to a different town, and although they spoke on the phone from time to time, she was then all alone.

She died of a second heart attack, alone in her apartment with her television and her ash-and-nicotine-covered furniture. Her son suspects that when the pain began, she recognized it for what it was, and instead of calling 911, got into bed to let it happen.

Her entire adult life she'd had CPTSD, anxiety and depression. She never sought treatment: "I don't feel sad at all," she'd say.

Her son wishes every day that he'd found a way to reach her. He was afraid — her rejection frightened and angered him — until he gave up.

Story of two lives.