Hi Jen
What a sad and moving story you have, and you’re very brave to put it out there. I hope writing it has given you some catharsis.
I’ve never written in memoir, but I have read some guidance about it over the years and understand it needs to be treated in a similar way to a novel. It may be a true story, but it still needs the narrative drive and structure to pull the reader in and make them want to know what happens. It needs the highs and the lows and the hooks.
In a novel it’s often normal in the first draft to include a lot of scaffolding. Information that the writer needs to know about the story, but not the reader. It’s different in momoir, because you already know you’re story, but I wonder if you’re doing a similar thing here. You’re taking the plunge, getting the grief out up front, but in doing that you’re telling me exactly what happens in you’re story. This chapter is a kind of synopsis, and if I know what’s going to happen, you’re taking away a big incentive to read on.
The other thing you’re doing is telling us rather than showing. For us to invest in your story you need to allow us to connect to you. Show us your first meeting with Richard, with all the excitement and raw emotion you would have experienced. Let us understand why a fourteen year old girl fell in love with a man ten years older. In doing that you’ll allow the reader to fall in love with him a little too, and then we’ll want to know what happens.
I’m thinking that perhaps you don’t need this chapter, and if you look at chapter 2 you may find that is where the story starts.
I hope that is helpful, but it is only my opinion, so use what works for you and ignore the rest. And good luck with this. It sounds like an emotive memoir.