Read “The Sorrow for Her Loss,” now appearing in The Stygian Lepus

For decades, Eileen has hidden the reality of her derelict father by making up stories and pretending he’s dead. Now his death has come, and she has no one to share it with, no way to sort out her feelings about it. For many children of alcoholic families, covering up for people and events means creating a false self, one that’s prevented from interacting with others in a way that’s genuine. So much remains bottled up that when it finally breaks free it can create unpredictable problems. For Eileen, that means letting an eccentric stranger into her life—and her home—someone she hopes might help her find the truth that’s been lost in the lies.