Catholic ritual of Sancta Missa: ” ‘Come in haste to assist them, you saints of God. Come in haste to meet them, you angels of the Lord. Enfold in your arms these souls, and take your burden heavenward to the most high.

Parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorb the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair.

But I had never seen her that way. I had never known her as Pauline, the name he parents had given her, or as Posey, the name her friends had given her; only as Mom, the name I had given her. I could only see her carrying dinner to the table with kitchen mitts, or carpooling us to the bowling alley.

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