I sat at the kitchen table to read the paper, a quiet moment in a stressful morning. A familiar face smiled up at me from the obituary page—Eleanor, a grandmother figure I’d befriended in church. Everyone knew her as a deep and caring person, someone who would listen to your problems, pray for you, and know exactly the right thing to say to put you at ease. If only I could talk to Eleanor now. I felt like a terrible mother and I needed a friendly word.
My only son, Michael, and my two other girls didn’t give me any problems. But lately, my 17-year-old, Elizabeth, had distanced herself from me. Something was bothering her, and I didn’t know what. She normally opened up to me readily whenever she had a problem. Not this time. As soon as she left for ballet class, I’d taken the desperate step of calling her friend’s mother for some advice. “Typical teenage drama,” she assured me. I hoped she was right.