The old woman closed this session with an offer for individual counseling after a break for refreshments and contemplation. As the visitors were led away, she herself turned inward to contemplate those twists and turns in her path that stood out with fond memory.
“Who am I, this particular organization of actions, ideas, experiences?” She thought, again, ready to take in the object lesson of the memories stochastically evoked.
There had not been much time to be a child. Mamma was so sick after unnamed baby sister died, after the long march, the exodus. It was a family image mind to mind of people walking, straggling, bodies unused to such forced exertion moving inexorably. Dejectedly, humbled, humiliated, they travelled mile after mile from their erstwhile homes to land far enough away that the good folks of the city need never think of them again.
That time took its toll on many families. Daddy tried to explain, to answer questions she was too inexperienced in life or language to ask. He tried to calm her, the panicked images she projected soothed by his message of strong, gentle love. Eventually she felt secure in his message that their life would be as they made it in these new circumstances. Mostly he seemed happy to be busy, working with the other able-bodied adults to build sturdy shelters that would, with familiarity over time, become homes. There was so much to do, to make that new life far from what they had known for themselves and the children to come. The few children among them mostly did what they could, helping and learning from their elders as children are meant to. This was not a community of leisure where children could be idle play things to dress up, show off, complain about and cuddle. She never thought to miss that version of childhood. Busily living is not conducive to missing irrelevant alternatives.