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Ms A 12v

[12v°] lined up according to age, and Papa was there too, sobbing.

The day of Mama’s departure or the day after, Papa took me in his arms and said: “Come, kiss your poor little Mother for the last time.” Without a word I placed my lips on her forehead. [5] I don’t recall having cried very much, neither did I speak to anyone about the feelings I experienced. I looked and listened in silence. No one had any time to pay any attention to me, and I saw many things they would have hidden from me. For instance, once I was standing before the lid of the coffin which had been placed upright in the hall. I stopped for a long time gazing at it. [10] Though I’d never seen one before, I understood what it was. I was so little that in spite of Mama’s small stature, I had to raise my head to take in its full height. It appeared large and dismal.

Fifteen years later, I was to stand before another coffin, Mother Geneviève’s. It was similar in size. I imagined myself back once again in the [15] days of my childhood and all those memories flooded into my mind. True, it was the same Thérèse who looked, but she’d grown up and the coffin appeared smaller. I had no need to raise my head to see and, in fact, no longer raised it but to contemplate heaven which to me was filled with joy. All my trials had come to an end and the winter of my soul had passed on [20] forever.

The day the Church blessed the mortal remains of our dear Mother, now in heaven, God willed to give me another mother on earth. He willed also that I choose her freely. All five of us were gathered together, looking at each other sadly. Louise was there too, and, seeing Céline and me, she said: “Poor little things, you have no mother any more!” Céline threw her arms around Marie saying: “Well, you will be my Mama!” Accustomed to following



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