At some point shortly after my father died, I came across the move A Little Princess. Her father dies, leaving her an orphan, and I watched it so many times. So, so many times. It bore no other resemblances to my life except that she was losing her father, too. (Spoiler alert: In the end, he turns out to actually be alive. Watching the movie was half cathartic and half wishing for an alternate reality where that could happen for me, too.)

Ever since the day my mother died, one specific scene—one specific line—has been playing over and over in my head. The little girl is learning that her father is dead. The words seem unreal, and rather than giving the news her full attention, she turns to one of the balloons that had filled the room for her birthday party.

The woman who runs the orphanage is trying to get her attention, but the little girl doesn’t look away. “Sarah,” the woman says, “Can you hear me? You are alone in the world.” And the balloon pops. I hear that every day. Multiple times a day.

I know I have friends that are basically family, and I even have a lot of family, but my immediate family—the people I spent every day of my childhood with, the people who worked hard and sacrificed for me, the people who were unequivocally my heroes and my role models—they’re gone forever.


You are alone in the world.

You are alone in the world.

You are alone in the world.



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