The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree

Christiana White
Human Parts
Published in
5 min readJun 19, 2024


Photo by Skylar Zilka on Unsplash

I would deny vehemently I am anything like my mother, who chose slow suicide over life, who littered our lives with bouts of drunkenness; a multitude of car accidents; florid, fantastic, surreal fights; aggression; and horror. So many Thanksgiving turkeys on the floor, dinners served raw. So many falls. But, those were later. Or, at least, the really gory ones were.

The falls were devastating. My brother, unhinged, strung out on a slew of psychiatric meds, held forth two Christmases ago as he told of his memories of one fall in particular. This one was a tumble down our family home’s main flight of stairs. What had she hit her head on? Was the force of impact enough to split her head open on the hardwood floor? Or did she do it on the one wood stair going down to the front door?

I never knew. With all his livid detail, my brother never said where, exactly, she landed. Where did the copious amount of blood pool? Where was that lake of congealed blood our father commanded he clean?

My brother was traumatized by this, that much was clear. I was shocked and none too happy that he was telling this story to my kids, but hell, they were adults now. It wasn’t up to me to police whether or not they could handle it, and, I thought, they’ll learn a little bit more about our lives growing up. The instability. The fear.