Last year, when I was travelling overseas, I met a lovely woman called Cristina. We immediately talked as if we were old friends, and like people who’ve known each other forever, we talked about family. Cristina came from a large and loving European clan, and naturally wanted to know about mine. When she learned that my mother was dead, the first thing said was, “I’m so sorry.” Next she asked how she died. Normally I’d just fudge an answer but this time I told the truth. “She killed herself.