Lena* was a childhood friend and if I bother to track down our ancestors, could be distant relative. She was raised by her mother’s aunt, a self-righteous woman with sharp tongue. For some reasons, the old woman always find fault in everything Lena did.
When I got a little older, I learned that Lena was a daughter out of wedlock. Her mother, considered a bad woman for having her, chose to banish herself from the clan leaving Lena to her sister. The sister, a widow at thirty with two young boys to raise, gave baby Lena to their mother’s sister.
The old woman provided for Lena’s needs by feeding her and keeping her under her roof. All of Lena’s clothing, however, were hand-me-down from us, distant relatives. Lena was sent to a public school and was required to do the household chores under the close inspection of her great-grand aunt. I couldn’t actually say the old woman was cruel to Lena, only that she was never affectionate. What more, she always told Lena how she expected the girl to turn out just like her mother, a loose woman. All her life, Lena lived under the shadow of her mother’s mistakes.
At fifteen, Lena went away with a man proving her grand aunt she was just like her mother. Unfortunately, the man Lena went away with was abusive. It seems like he beat her when he gets drunk which was often. Lena left him to live with another man. At that point, Lena was considered dead by her grand aunt.
About a month ago while I was chatting with my brother, Lena’s name came up. Only then did I learn that Lena got sick and died and no one went to her funeral, not even her aunt or grand aunt.
How could someone die without having lived? Or if she lived, what kind of life was it?
*not real name