Miriam goes away

Minneapolis, Minnesota circa 1966

When Miriam got married, the excitement of the wedding, never prepared me for what was to happen after the short church reception; Miriam was going away. It never occurred to me that my roommate was gone forever. I was devastated. I did not know who I would turn to when I needed help or got into trouble. For so long she had been my champion and protector and now it was as though I had lost another mother. At that moment, I decided that I did not like my new brother in law. When they returned after their short honeymoon, I refused to speak to him—angry that he had taken my sister from me. And even worse, he was taking her to England.

Miriam told me years later, she had asked Papa if David, Hannah and I could live with them. She was much more aware of our circumstances and hoped to provide some kind of continuity for us. My older sister and her new husband had offered to put their needs of privacy aside because of what they believed would be best for us. But of course, Papa did not agree to this arrangement. At times, I imagined how wonderful my life could have been—living with Miriam and Richard, two people who I knew loved and cared for me. This thought drove me mad when I allowed myself to contemplate all the, “if only…” situations that could have been possible.

Miriam and Richard lived in UK for a few years while he completed his surgical training and then decided to move permanently to India. There they worked together in a rural mission hospital, Richard using his surgical skills and Miriam using her nursing training to provide care for Indians who had very little options for health care. Although I was proud of her, I felt abandoned and alone.

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