September 25th, 1971
My Dear Lucy,
I find myself writing to you on your birthday, as though I could just post this letter and you would receive it. I imagine you, a young woman now, tearing open an envelope from your big sister in America. Sharing it with your husband, your children.
I turned thirty-six just a few weeks ago, my children are all in school and I have long moments to myself. Moments to write, to think. Moments I haven’t had in many years. Through the whirlwind of grief leading to marriage and three children in quick succession. I put you out of my mind.
There are times when I am brushing my hair when I remember. I remember longer hair, hair that fell almost to my knees. Long velvet dresses that were so much more delicate and beautiful than anything I wear today.
That all seems like a dream, a fairytale, really. Horseback rides and archery. The stories I read to my children with talking animals stir a part of my brain. I have lived two lifetimes. I have rejected the hands of Kings and conversed with bears and boars. That girl, she was carefree and not burdened by the grief that overwhelms me. My in-laws talk in hushed whispers about my family sometimes. To inform a new acquaintance about where I come from. “Her family – they all died in the war.”
It was not the war that took them, no bomb that fell. No brothers in uniform. It was the Lion. How can I forgive Him? He stole you all from me. Most of all you, my beloved baby sister. No precious diamond cordial could save you. No trumpet’s song could pull you back to my world.
I live on. The age I once was and beyond. My brothers, my sister, you all cease to be. I alone grow old. I alone raise children. Too much was my grief to name them for you. Too much was my grief to stay in the country of my birth.
An ocean does not divide me from the memories. An ocean cannot make me forget that I was a queen.
Your loving sister forever,