A long time ago in a neighborhood two counties away, I found two small action figures in our new house, left behind by the kids who’d lived there before.
I was five and a half—I’d been to preschool, I had older cousins, I’d seen enough to recognize the military type and the hairy brown creature as Star Wars characters. But ugh, that wasn’t my thing. I didn’t like robots and blasters, and I was frankly terrified of outer space. I much preferred my stories set in magical kingdoms with knights and princesses (nobody’d told me Star Wars actually was about knights and princesses).
I kept the two figures anyway, and incorporated them into my own playtime, and you’ll have to forgive me if I may have thought the brown hairy one was an evil monster. (The military one, it turned out, was an Imperial Officer, but I thought he was dumb-looking, and tended to make him the butt of jokes).
We’d moved here just before I had to start kindergarten, the best possible time to move since I wouldn’t have to switch schools. Ostensibly, though, we moved because my dad had gotten transferred to a new office. It just so happened to be right before I started school. It just so happened to be nearer my grandmother, who babysat more and more frequently. It just so happened to be nearer the world-renowned Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, where my toddler sister, Annie, was spending more and more time. Continue reading Help Me, Obi-Wan Kenobi: Death, Survivor’s Guilt, and the Power of a Well-Timed Story