O means only that she’s growing Old
Anna turned 40 the year I was born.
She had given birth to six children in eight years.
She had buried her first born son just days before his fourth birthday.
When he died the twins, a boy and a girl, were a month old.
Her second son not quite two years.
Another son arrived the same week that second son turned three.
The twins were just learning to walk.
At least one miscarriage, maybe two, before I arrived.
She was tired. All the four older siblings had whooping cough.
She had had too little sleep for months.
I started having cramps soon after birth, probably caused by brain hemorrhage.
Four months of constant worry, mingled with prayer for her youngest child.
Then she could take it no longer.
Vieno, a young girl, had volunteered to help her care for us children.
One day she saw me all blue in the face and cried out.
Mother came running. Now this had to stop.
She shouted out: “And this is the last time she has a cramp!”
It was the last time too.
But mother was exhausted. She had to go away and get complete rest.
Vieno stayed on to take care of five small children, all under six years old.
She wrote a letter to Anna.
“A nurse came several days a week to see that the baby was getting the right amount of milk and medicine.”
The four older children ‘wrote’ their own letters asking when mami is coming home.