What was it like, to be one so young and shoulder a burden so heavy? Were you frightened? Were you angry? They make it sound like you accepted your task with grace and humility. In all the paintings you look like a woman grown, experienced and capable and wise, but you weren’t. You were just a child. How could you not be afraid? I think you were probably terrified but you couldn’t say no, could you? Neither of us could. You don’t get a choice with that kind of destiny. The angel appears to you and suddenly everything is different, forever, and you are drawn along the journey whether you like it or not. And in the end, I guess I wouldn’t change any of it, anyway. There were probably nights when you cried yourself to sleep too, or lay awake wondering if you were mad, if you had made it all up. They’ll never tell that side of the story – they need you to remain the quintessential mother figure, meak and mild – but I think I know the truth. I know how long those nights can be. I know how crazy you can feel. Yet I bet you wouldn’t have changed anything, either.

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