We recently published Tim Craig’s devastating “Parts of My Mother.”
Here, we ask him two questions about his story:
1) As the story progresses, the mother loses more and more of herself. We know she loses an arm, her legs, her heart. What do you think ends up being the last piece she lost? Or is that a secret?
The last thing to go in the story is her mind. But the implication is that – with the loss of her mind – the last thread connecting her to her old family has been cut, taking with it any possibility of rapprochement or forgiveness. And THAT, I think, is the final loss.
2) I love the painful detail of the postcards sent home, “telling us things we didn’t want to know” about the mother’s new family. They are the only connection between the narrator and what remains of their mother, yet they seem so cruel. Do you think it eased the mother’s conscience to send them?
This is a great question!
I hope that the postcards soothed her conscience in some way or another (despite everything, I do still have some sympathy for her.) I certainly don’t think they are intended by her to be deliberately hurtful. My fear, though, is that she doesn’t even care; the very fact she sends postcards, not letters, perhaps in itself suggests a level of indifference which makes them even MORE painful for the narrator and his family to receive.