I have found an excellent boarding school which has a nursery for babes of 2-4 and she can be with children like her brothers and sisters might have been. I am certain that she would be much happier there than living the peculiar sort of existence we lead now, which is half and half of everything, and both miserable. Rosheen will thank me more for making a career for myself and not claiming any return for outrageous sacrifice when she is older.
She goes on to say that she has met a man yes another, who seems to think that working in documentary films was what I was born for. His contacts in the film industry are numerous. According to him they will welcome me with open arms which they did!
And thats what happened. I went to the excellent boarding school and she went into the film biz, where she flourished and stayed until she became pregnant and normal family life began for us in the little house in LloydSquare.
But I think it was too late to be normal, whatever that is. My stepfather was a very honourable and decent man but rather distant and aloof. His life revolved around my mother and he was not at ease with a young adolescent girl dropped permanently in his nest after years of only flitting in and out.
My mother, a formidable and talented woman, completely controlled the emotional climate of the house. When it was good it was very very good, but when it was bad it was horrid and I was often anxious and wary. But there were lots of good things, the best being my relationship with my new brother, whom I adored and who returned me unconditional love. The house was full of books and pictures, their friends were many and interesting and always nice to me at the numerous dinner parties and gatherings. There were long holidays in Ireland (my stepfather was an Irish academic and writer). But I never felt it was my home.
And there was never any talk or reference to my father. My mother told me when she gave me the letters that my stepfather had fearsome nightmares about the sudden reappearance of my father. I wish Id known. Perhaps it helped explain the disappearance of Griselda and the hiding of the letters.
Ah! the letters. Reading them gave me some insight into how truly catastrophic my fathers death had been for my mother, especially following on the heels of that of her much-loved brother.
I understand why she told no one of Davids death for days. It was easier not to believe. I also understand why she hid the letters deep in the locked vault that was the David and Mary part of her life.
But I wish she hadnt hidden them from me. I wish that she had shown me, shared with me. I was his child, my children his grandchildren. I think that she saw Davids death as her tragedy, him as her lover and forgot that he was also my father.
Letters from the Suitcase, edited by Rosheen and Cal Finnigan (Headline, 18.99). To buy for 14.24, go to bookshop.theguardian.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over 10, online orders only. Phone orders min. p&p of 1.99.