An iron fence encircles the grassy hills where granite angels weep beneath willow branches and yellow-billed ducks glide across a shimmering lake. Outside the sculpted brass gate, commuters look away as they scurry to their homes and workplaces. A lone woman seeking her brother dares to enter. With no inscription to indicate place and the lips of the dead sealed, she alone knows where to find him after reading her mother’s diary. She drops a handful of daisies on a weathered metal plaque that bears the name of her great aunt.
In the summer of 1940, a son was born with eyelids formed over sightless lumps of dark tissue and a family overwhelmed with sadness. The Finnish immigrant mother-in-law, who’d known dire poverty, kept a lonely night vigil as her beloved son and the new mother slept. The baby rested peacefully in his crib under a feathery pillow, only a week old, his powdery scent filling the small bedroom. This night was longer and colder than an acrtic winter. “I did you a favor,” the mother-in-law said the next morning as the new mother shrieked. Two mothers, two sons, two kinds of love.