– Prologue –
N ot long ago a dear friend died, and shortly after that an aged aunt. So began a series of deaths. I became unmoored, I was being left behind in a much altered world. These losses were happening against a backdrop of various events, large and small, faraway and near, to be remembered, negotiated, endured. (Even my own identity was erased at times, as a result of spending time with my aunt who was suffering from dementia.) In the midst of the reckoning came unexpected sources of strength, accommodation, even joy.
These were not my first experiences of loss. Several decades before, I had lost most of myself. I was a woman seriously adrift, before I washed up on Anne Frank’s shore on what, coincidently, would have been Anne’s birthday – a cloudy June 12th in flower-filled Amsterdam. A life-altering encounter took place on that day with an aging couple, Miep and Jan Gies, who had risked their lives to protect Anne Frank and her family. This venerable couple had never been willing to step out of the shadows into the spotlight. I subsequently convinced them to do so, and the result became the book Anne Frank Remembered that would be translated far and wide.
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