This is a memoir which focuses on the descent into madness of my mother, when she was coerced by my father to give away for adoption, her seventh child. It is also the story of the disastrous consequences on the remaining seven children and the impact of our mother’s bizarre, cruel behaviour on our lives.
A dysfunctional family was made more chaotic by my mother’s back street abortion, spiralling debts, the death of another of her children, and chronic illness. Her manic depression was exacerbated by increasing physical frailty.
My mother’s seventh child was taken from her at birth. She never saw her daughter. Nor did she ever want to. Six years later, however, sitting in the audience of a music festival where two of the daughters she had kept were competing, she suddenly spotted a girl who looked like her own children, getting ready to compete. The strange girl won the competition. Some primitive instinct told my mother this was her abandoned child.
I was with my mother at the time, learned the girl’s name, and later encountered her at our grammar school. She never learned who I was, but I observed her carefully. The morning after my mother died I passed her in the corridor, and I thought, ‘That girl’s mother died last night, and she does not know.’
This memoir answers as many questions as it raises.