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The Way it Was Image by Frenchfold; source: Carolyne Parent/Shutterstock

The Way it Was

Translation by Katia Grubisic.

Our lives were turned upside down when my sister got sick. My mother was shattered—I’d never seen her like that. She paced back and forth like a caged animal. I saw her grab her head in her hands, come back to Salwa’s bed and touch the back of her hand to her forehead and then stride away again, going nowhere. There was no doctor in Havre-Saint-Pierre: one would stop in town every few weeks, by boat, before heading on to the next village. No one could tell my mother what was wrong with her daughter, or how to help her. Salwa was about twenty-five. I never knew exactly, we never celebrated birthdays. When the doctor finally came and examined her, without a moment’s hesitation he spoke that dreadful word we all knew but didn’t utter because it scared us so much. We were crushed. Lots ...

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