The hard part about Ksymcia is that she must have died when she was 12 or 13 years old. I don’t know how long she was in my life, or how old I was when she died, but I know I was deeply, deeply attached to her and she was the most important figure of my childhood. I don’t know if she began to become important to me when she was nine or eight or ten or even seven years old. I don’t know what age she was when she became my parent figure. But she was a child trying to care for another child, but she was my mother.

It calls up a different kind of grief, which is an odd kind of grief. It’s a specific grief for a certain person, but something vaguer and yet at the same time immensely profound.

It makes me understand in a very real way exactly the kind of parents I had. My dad was actively evil and my mother was both abusive and asleep at the wheel. They could not even parent me as well as a traumatized 12-year-old.