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I thought the same thing-did her mother sew? Marking pen disappears over time (a friend's husband found out when he used one to pay the bills!).
If she in fact did not write in the journals, I think it is significant that she asked that they only be viewed after she passed. Her daughter was a writer and accustomed to putting her thoughts on paper for all to examine and know. Maybe her mother, being very private was sending a message about privacy and not divulging all one's thoughts to the world.
Or maybe she told her daughter about the journals to have her daughter fill in the pages. Maybe she is saying her daughter is the voice she never had the courage be.
There are so many unanswered questions, I guess we'll never know. I wonder what her father thought of the journals?