Shortly after her second birthday, Cindy died of aspirational pneumonia. She choked on her own phlegm. I labored over "Last Birthday Party" for weeks. The photo shows a pregnant mom who is worn out. Skinny Cindy is weak. I painted and re-painted my mother’s emotionless face, her puffy maternity dress and the sad, blue, Cindy. Grace Hartigan admonished me. “Are you still working on that painting?" Then I noticed that the kids’ expressions, weird and alive. The older sister’s impish glance and the boys’ smiles pointed to the two realities within this narrative.