Monday, April 20, 2009

Things my mother taught me

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Beverley Taylor Budach Link 1927-2009

This is the nicest picture I have of my mom, and I don’t know who took it or when. It is so rare to see her smiling. She was a bitter, resentful, unhappy woman for as long as I knew her. I rarely mention her in this blog because if you can’t say something nice, better not to say anything at all.

But she did teach me many things, namely sewing, knitting, cooking and the trombone. Yes, the trombone. We had a few weeks of playing marching band when my cousins stayed with us one summer. Trumpet, baritone, and cornet were attempted by the boys and I got the trombone. We were just awful. But we laughed and laughed until tears ran down our cheeks.

Mom also taught me by example and this is where the saying something nice will be trickier. I was the oldest child and got her ‘undivideds’ for many years. I was taught not to trust anyone but her, and that everyone I liked had something undesirable about them. It was my job from the time I was about 4 to support her emotionally, and cheer her up constantly. She was unfaithful and I had to keep her secrets. She lied to me about everything, for no good reason, and I had to believe her, since I was a totally dependant child. Whatever I was good at, she had to be better at, and that competition was constant through my adulthood. There was a point at which I surpassed her abilities and she withdrew her approval immediately. But I still had to maintain my role as her champion, protector and cheerleader. It was exhausting but I had no choice.

In her eyes boys had all the advantages and she did her best to undermine my two brothers’ childhoods. They broke away emotionally early and yet carry their damaged psyches to this day. I was not allowed to love them as that would have been disloyal. (of course I did, but hid it for years).

My little sister got the worst of it, being the baby, and having to live through her divorce and miserable second marriage. But that is Brooke’s story to tell, and I’ll leave that to her.

When I was about 35 I realized that I could never become whole until I disengaged myself from her vice like grip. It was a difficult guilt inducing thing to do but with help from all sorts of professionals and my darling husband I did. I put some emotional distance between us and ended my role as enabler. It was then I began to notice how other mothers behaved and what a contrast they were to our mom.

Mothers are involved in their kids lives, attend their school plays, sports events, recitals, graduations, etc. They cheer them on and support their teams, encourage their attempts at relating to others, and bind their wounds or heartbreaks. Mothers want the best for their kids.

I wanted that and missed getting it. Still, it’s never to late to have a happy childhood, so I let it all go and moved forward and lived a very happy adulthood. The distance increased between us because I refused to participate in my old behaviors and I was replaced by my sister. I became the enemy, just like that. I couldn’t prevent the same thing from happening to Brooke, which I regret. But we are both free of it now and we are trying to understand her mental illness.

Mom had a heart attack about the time we moved to Tennessee and she went into a nursing home in Missouri. Brooke came back from Singapore last September and we made the trip to see her together. It was strange. No hugs, no handholding, no “I’m so happy to see you”. I made a video for my brother at his request and couldn’t show it to him because she still had to say mean and nasty things about him. Even though she hadn’t spoken to me in 15 years she had a plan that I would build her a house on my property and she would leave her husband and come live with me.

Mom died in her sleep yesterday afternoon. Last month we had decided to donate her body to science and I found a place online, submitted the paperwork, and they took care of everything. There will be no funeral. Brooke and I wish Mom had been religious, but unfortunately she didn’t really trust God either and couldn’t get her mind around the idea that He could love her.

We siblings are just left with an empty space where there should be emotions. Not exactly sad in the conventional way. Sad that we have no feelings.

So if you are a mom, or have a mom that is a goodie, then be grateful…which I am sure you already are.

88 comments:

  1. I can understand the sad. I keep thinking that when my Dad passes I will finally feel free, but I am not sure that's how it works. It's so hard to move on. Take care.

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  2. Anonymous9:34 AM

    Dear Mel,
    There are all sort of conventional things I could say - but be assured that I will Hug my Mom and give her some extra love today. She is suffering from a broken hip and dementia - but I remember the real mom who sewed, sacrificed, supported and loved me unconditionally. You're a wonderful person and much admired - please know you are loved.
    Nina

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  3. Anonymous9:35 AM

    Sounds like you made good mental strides on your own. I would say sorry for your loss, but you evidently came to grips with the loss long ago.

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  4. Not all of our moms were poisonous but some could never show love or encouragement. I wanted more than I got too. They always say to stay away from people who bring you down so you did the right thing. I'm sorry she didn't "get it" before it was too late. Hugs to you Mel.

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  5. As the daughter of a woman who endured the same sort of suffering, I say congratulations on your breaking away. My mother did not break the ties until much later in life, it's a hard choice. Society tells you to love your parents unconditionally and many children suffer because of it. I do not know if you have children, or ever plan on having them, but my mother overcame her upbringing and has always been a wonderful "mom". She has supported me in everything and taught me how to become a good mother and I congratulate her on that!
    I too would say sorry for your loss, but that does not somehow seem appropriate at this time.

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  6. I am sure that you are sad about the lost of potential. Even when things are bad we hold out hope for the potential that all will be fixed and right. I applaud you for having the bravery and strength to break away! Good luck in this difficult journey!

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  7. I can totally relate to what you are saying. I always thought I wouldn't cry if my mother died, I still don't think I would. I hate my mother so strongly it is incomparable to any other hatred. I left my mom's home about a week after I turned 18 and I haven't looked back, any communication now is strictly business. I am a happy, loving person, free from her grip. My mom wouldn't even admit that my dad was her second marriage when I confronted her! Talk about honesty. I hate to say this, especially about someone I don't know, but good riddance. You don't need to feel guilty. You did what you had to get the support and respect you deserve. That is self respect and high self-esteem at its best.

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  8. Thank you for being such an inspiring example to all of us with toxic parents. To move on in life without parental approval is no small thing. It just so happens I am dealing with this issue right now. while I honor and appreciate the things my mother taught me that were good,I know now that she hasn't been herself for a long time. So I am putting that emotional distance between us, so that I don't harm myself and my daughters.

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  9. Melody,

    congratulations on letting the past go. I have a mother that is much like how you describe your mom. I have spent many years away from her. She is now getting old and un-well so I am in contact again to just be there for her. I am sad that there are those of us who had mothers that didn't nurture. My heart goes out to you in this time. You sound like you are doing well, take care and my heart goes out to you for the pain you must be feeling. Lizzie

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  10. Anonymous10:57 AM

    Melody,

    Peace be with you...

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  11. Melody, I am sorry for your losses--in the past and today. Losing your mother is heartbreaking even if you never really had her.

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  12. Dear Melody: I echo all the sentiments above, having been dealt an odd relationship with my mother. I didn't find found out I was adopted until I was 21. When I became a mother myself I was determined not to pass the same unhealthy relationship along to my sons, but it's tough not to repeat the patterns! I say yay for all the work you've done to recover from the toxicity. It is quite a journey as I can also attest to. It's awful to say, but when my mother died, crazy and alone in a mental hospital far away, I was almost relieved. I shed a tear or two, but relief was the main emotion. My best wishes to you and your siblings as you move even further on with your lives. The memories probably won't ever fade, but you are strong now and much admired and appreciated! With love and hugs, Jane.

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  13. Anonymous11:17 AM

    I struggle every day with how to deal with my mother. Putting the Pacific Ocean between us has really helped. I have accepted who she is and I have no hate for her. My mother was the product of the damage that was done to her as a child. She is a deeply flawed human. I have found peace in the fact that it was not really about me. I often think about all the wonderful things she has missed out on and that is what makes me sad. Sounds like your Mom to me, ultimtly flawed, lonely and sad. I think the bitterness comes from self loathing, can you imagine how that must feel? She is finally released from her pain and bitterness and you both get a chance to be reborn. Good luck and enjoy the rebirth of your garden, your mother and yourself.

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  14. Anonymous11:35 AM

    Melody, thank you for sharing your story. It is sad, but also inspiring, and I respect your struggle to understand the problem and to deal with it. It cannot have been easy.

    With very best wishes,

    Mary G in Chicago

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  15. I am sorry, Melody, for you as a child, for all of it.

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  16. Families... you and I have chatted about this somewhat... we can't choose them. What impresses me is how you have recovered and the amazing relationship you have created with your sister. In addition, you have this wonderful family of quilters, artists and just plain admirers (like myself) who have become your friends and extended family. You have taken a sad situation and created a beautiful life. congrats to you and to us for recognizing the wonderful person that is you.

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  17. I was a bit shocked. The bitterness of a person who does not show affection to her children after years... Poor thing, and I feel sorry for those whose life she made bitter. You wrote very frankly. This takes courage. And when I remember the friendly way you welcome other bloggers, it makes forget what you had to cope.
    I guess that everyone chooses his own way to deal with other people. Whe should choose the way of love, but some of us can't. Maybe you'll find a way to forgive her.

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  18. Anonymous12:10 PM

    It is often said that we should forgive those that have hurt us. I haven't a clue how that really works but tried to do so while my mom was still living. I couldn't make it happen, and was later comforted by a chance talk with a Christian counselor who suggested repentance by the victimizer is part of the equation. I felt bad about my Mom forever, but honestly not guilty. With her passing and with time, I just feel badly for her, for whatever affected her life that made her who she was.

    With their passing, time really does heal! God Bless You and your siblings.

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  19. Thank you for being so open about your toxic relationship with your mother. We are in the time of year when society bombards us with the happy-happy joy-joy Mother's Day and Father's Day messages. I spend those times reflecting on my truly wonderful in-laws and the truly wonderful parents I see around me, and I feel grateful that such people exist. Not all of us are lucky to have such people parenting us, but we can look to these other examples and rejoice that there are fortunate children in the world. Know that so many of us hold you dear in our hearts, even if some of us are usually just lurkers. Liz

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  20. You are an amazing person. I am drawn to your blog because of the joy you express and was quite surprised to read your blog this morning and realize how hard you had to work to become the person you are.

    My condolences; even though your mother seemed to be unloveable...she was still your mother. Plant something beautiful, create something fun and be grateful for all you have! Thank you for making me think and for reminding me how lucky I am to have a caring mother (with little memory).

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  21. As I read these comments, it's surprising to me that there are so many of "us" daughters that were cheated out of a loving relationship with our mother's. I struggled for years (guilt) to break the hold she had on me. I was adopted and for the life of me I cannot understand why she wanted a child. She was cold and controlling and hated everyone...especially my father. The last time I saw her was 3 years ago and she told me (again!) that I was nothing but a tramp (she used more colorful language...I didn't want to use it here) and that she had only made 2 mistakes in her life..one was marrying my father and the other was adopting me. I was never what she wanted and just couldn't force myself to be someone I wasn't. She wanted to control me like she did everyone else. She passed away 2 years ago. She lived 1500 miles from me but we made the trip even though I had thought about not going to the funeral. After all, she had replaced me with a next door neighbor that bled her dry and ended up inheriting the house and everything she had. Even in the end, she was vengeful and bitter. At the funeral, I couldn't cry...and still haven't. I was very close to my MIL who, ironically, passed away exactly 2 weeks after my mother. Anyway, I , and a lot of other women here that read you faithfully, can empathize with you and I'm sure I speak for them too...we will keep you in our thoughts and prayers. I often wonder what my mother had to say when she stood before God and had to be accountable. I pray He is as merciful as we are taught that He is.

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  22. Mel, my thoughts are with you and Brooke today ~ living with the loss of the dream, rather than the loss of a mother who didn't love well enough. You are most courageous to have broken away and God Bless Dave for contributing to your courage.

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  23. Sorry for your loss in so many ways, Mrs. Mel. My mom wasn't as bad as yours but she definitely is a very bitter, unhappy woman. I have finally learned how to say "No" to her in my fifties. I'm sorry for the love you lost but so happy for the love you have found in Dave and Brooke. I hope you are able to repair the damage done to your relationship with your brothers. I'll be thinking of you today. Take care!

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  24. Dearest Melanie
    Thank you for sharing this moving story- I was in tears aching for you and your sibs- you have made it thru in spite of poor beginnings. Hopefully you, Brooke and your brothers will heal. I read your blog daily and never saw a hint of this hurt. Thank you for being you.

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  25. As usual, hank you for your blog. Today you has given a lot of hurting women to express their pain along with you and it lets them know that they are not alone.

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  26. Anonymous1:40 PM

    When you have some quiet meditative time dream yourself back to your youth and be the mother that your young self needed. Tell her that she will know real love and joy. Hold her, love her and heal her. The terror that your mother was, formed you, by fire, into the beautiful person you are now. She showed you in word and deed what not to do to nurture an artistic soul. You have turned that into the teacher that you are, helping people of all levels of artistic ability find their muse. You are blessed and a blessing. Cassie

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  27. i'm sorry for your sorrows...

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  28. What a sad, sad story!

    Except for the fact that you have dealt with it in the best possible way. From all your posts I would never have guessed - but looking back, I can see that you and Brooke's trip to her didn't come across as a happy event, I just tought is was about her being in a nursing home..........

    Through your blog you have always come across as a strong woman, and I admire the path you and Dave have choosen.

    Lots of hugs and warm feelings from Guernsey.
    Mai-Britt

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  29. I understand completely, Melody. In my family, it was my duty to keep my mother from committing suicide from the time I was two. At a certain point you have to save yourself. Kids shouldn't have to take care of their parents, emotionally or otherwise. It's perfectly understandable to feel nothing or very little. Now remember to keep taking care of yourself. As the Buddha said, "You, yourself, as much as anybody else in the universe, deserve your love and attention."

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  30. Hugs to you, and your sibs, Mel.

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  31. Thank you for sharing such a personal story. Although my childhood was not perfect (is there such a thing?), I know I was very fortunate to have parents that cared for me and, in general, did their best by my brother and me. Perhaps your mother was a victim herself of an unhappy childhood, and as a weaker person, followed the path of least resistance. All too often the cycle continues from one generation to the next. However, you (and it sounds like your siblings, too) are the grains of sand in the oysters that became pearls! You are a delightful person and it's a privilege to know you through your blog! Big hugs, Cathy

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  32. Anonymous4:22 PM

    Dear Mel,
    So many similarities to my life. Oldest..a girl...three brothers....
    My role peacekeeper & over-achiever
    Met a wonderful man when I was 30.
    I learned how to love watching him
    move thru life honest,easy,open,AWAKE....
    Dysfunctional family legacy....ongoing.....but the chance to change and grow is always
    available. Thanks for sharing. Your openness and courage will inspire someone else who needs a
    role model. You demonstrate everyday in your garden,painting,fabric art the very
    definition of growth--CREATIVITY!
    peace be with you.
    Missy from the bayou

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  33. Anonymous4:31 PM

    And at some point we realize that all our sorrows as well as our joys, make us who we are today. No matter who our mothers are, we thank God they chose to give us life.

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  34. What a courangeous post Mel. There are so many people for whom family living was not what it was "supposed" to be (I was one but my experience pales into insignificance beside yours) but rarely have I seen it written about so honestly and frankly. A credit to you both that you and Brooke are able to forge such happy relationships when the odds have been stacked against you this way.

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  35. Melody, I read your blog almost every day, and do so for the enthusiasm about life and all you're involved in, so I write today to give you a hug and say "congratulations". Today, now, you're living a full and rich life, you are a success!

    My situation touches yours only in places, and is not relevant here, but I found that I mourned the 'closing of the book' - the end of the idea of 'happy families' . . but it was also a relief - no more questions about family ties...

    So, enjoy the garden and your artistic life, and of course Dave. Glad the meds are helping him.

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  36. Wow....and I totally understand...My mom and her mother had a difficult relationship and unfortunately that led to my mom marrying my father with whom my sister and I no longer speak due to a vast many reasons. I've always thought his death would be hard simply because I would feel empty. There's really nothing good to say .....when someone chooses to live a life that creates little goodness around them.

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  37. I can say that the day my mother died was a day of huge relief for me. It's unfortunate that kids have to get moms like you had. And that I had I guess. I have tried so hard to not be like mine, and I love my kids, and they love me. I could never say that about my mom. You rose above your childhood. Good for you. You are happy, thanks to yourself. And you have your siblings to love. God Bless you and your family

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  38. coming into your own at 35 was a beautiful thing as indicated by what you share here...hangeth in Mel.

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  39. Words from others on these occassions always seem to be inadequate, but you seem to have said what you need to say and hear for yourself and despite your childhood, you mothered yourself into a very creative and sharing person who makes the day better for many of us. My thoughts are with you today as they are on many days not because of your Mother's death, but rather for the life and path you chose for yourself. God bless.

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  40. Anonymous7:47 PM

    Mel,
    my thoughts are with you. God Bless.
    Sharon

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  41. I'm sorry that your mom couldn't see the fabulous gift she was given when she had you, your sister and your brothers. Fortunately you've surrounded yourself with supporting people who love you and have maintained a loving relationship with your sibs. Thanks for sharing such a difficult story with us.

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  42. Melody,

    I feel so sorry for you. And hope that the empty feeling you have these days will subside, I admire your power and attitude towards this sad, sad situation.

    Love,
    Regina

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  43. Anonymous8:16 PM

    Deepest sympathies , peace and love to you and all your family.
    Linda M in BC

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  44. Mel...I have the duel "non parent parents" so I definately understand you situation. I do broke free although just recently and am finding the world is even more beautiful sometimes without someone.

    Take care and {hug}.
    Mickey

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  45. Hope thru all these posts, you see we all love you and support you and your wonderful husband.

    You are the sum of all parts. Good, bad & ugly. You shine and bring light to us all. Thank you.

    May she rest in peace.

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  46. Hi Melody,
    I read your blog everyday and am amazed that you have endured all of that. Your blog is so uplifting...obviously, with hard work, you found a way to build a better life. I sort of wish I hadn't read all of the comments because so much of what I wanted to say has been said.
    I wish you all the best and am so happy that you were able to see her for what she was and accept it for what it was. Some people just don't have the capacity for love but it's so hard to understand. I'm so glad you were able to figure it out and choose the life you wanted rather than the one you were given at the beginning.
    I have a friend I'm sending your post to. I think knowing she's not alone will help.
    Susan

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  47. Thanks for the reminder for me to appreciate my Mom. I'm so happy you came through that childhood to become the incredible person you are.

    Candy

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  48. Mel, your words are inspiring and rid many of us of guilt in feeling anger for these not so perfect women - but if it hadn't been for them, we wouldn't be here. I have been through my own issues and she passed when I was 21 and am now in my mid-fifties. I can so relate and my hugs to you and Brooke.

    Nid

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  49. Anonymous10:13 PM

    Dear Melody,
    Thank you for posting this honest account of losing your mother. How sad she didn't have the capacity to love her children.
    You've been able to sift out the negative and live a beautiful life as a creative artist. Your story will help so many others who have the same confusing circumstance of living with a mentally ill parent. Bless you and your siblings.

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  50. I am sorry for you lost childhood. I can relate. When I turned 45, I realized, I had finally grown up when My son said one Saturday morning, "Mom, you don't watch cartoons anymore". I know that through the years you have found your happiness as it shows so much in all you do.

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  51. Melody - I was lucky to have a husband who helped me break free from a toxic mom. I don't have close feelings for her to this day and truly understand your pain. How blessed you are to have become so generous and loving despite your upbringing. I'm sorry for your loss and happy for your freedom of mind and spirit. Take care and I wish you the best with the sibling relationships in your family.

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  52. J from N11:15 PM

    I admire you even more.
    It is a very difficult thing to become a person who is accepting, loving, generous and non-judgmental after being raised by someone who isn't.
    I am still working on it.
    You are amazing!

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  53. hilary11:44 PM

    While it can't replace maternal support, friends and admirers greatly appreciate your artistic talent and generous spirit as you share your knowledge and feelings with us. Blessings to you and your siblings and thanks.

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  54. You have turned the difficult circumstances of your childhood into gifts. Your quilts are so lively. Your Mom left without being able to do so and this is sad.
    My mother was the same kind but she completely turned around a month before she died. She made amends to us and she passed away in a state of total bliss, showing us her true divine self.
    I know we all have that divine self but for some reasons it can remain buried under many layers of pain.
    Bless you and bless her.

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  55. I am glad you were able to find happiness despite the difficulties you had to endure. Life should not be so hard. I hope your mother has found some peace and that you can continue to heal.

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  56. Mel,
    It's hard to know what to say. It sounds like you have long ago come to terms with the reality of your family situation, and that you have learned to be a grown-up with healthy relationships despite the strange things that were modeled for you. I'm glad that you and Brooke and your brother have each other, and I hope that you can find love and joy in the friends and family you have created for yourself.

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  57. I read your post today with a feeling of sadness for you and all the people who had commented to your post and also a sadness for all the times this story has repeated itself. All the pain of mothers, fathers, husbands and children. We all wish for relationships that are warm, loving, and encouraging, and so often they are bitter and empty. Melody I enjoy reading your blog and seeing all the brightness you have surrounded yourself with. I hope this time becomes one of reflection and then quietly moving on. God Bless You. Ginny

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  58. Hey Melody, I'd be happy to be your mom! I'll cheer you on when you do well, I'll bake you cookies when you come to visit, and I'll hang your artwork on my fridge! I'm sorry you've had to go through this life with someone as "un-evolved" as this as your mom. I'm hoping you are able to heal your child-within. For now though, consider yourself adopted and please tell me when you score a goal! I'll brag about you to all my girlfriends! Big hugs, Robin

    P.S. I LOVE what you've done with the yard! Keep up the good work!

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  59. Wow, that is such a sad story...

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  60. Anonymous7:45 AM

    Mrs. Mel,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story. It is so sad when a home is filled with pain instead of love. The life of joy, love and creativity that you have created is a testament to your strength and courage. Thank you for being even more of an inspiration than you already were!

    Debbie G.

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  61. I'm sorry about you mother--I'm sorry that she tried to fill her emptiness with you. I'm glad you grew despite her...I'm glad Brooke has you...

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  62. Anonymous9:11 AM

    Thank you for sharing. Laura in Maple Ridge, BC, Canada

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  63. How small the world is. My mother passed Sunday, too. While my situation was not as extreme as yours, I was also her answer to everything and remain so as she made me executor of her will. My relationship with her was so complicated, and I imagine my relationship with her death will be also. May we both move forward in good lives to be healthy and happy in ways that our mothers never could. My condolences.

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  64. Mel
    My mother died in February. I didn't say much about it on my blog either...as we never had a close relationship. And it is sad, but I also felt a sense of freedom when she died...I could quit feeling so quilty that I had stopped trying to satisfy my mother...I understand your pain and your relief.

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  65. Melody,
    Your strength is your art. In it, you can express what you may not be able to say.
    That could be a way to alleviate your brothers' feelings and show them that you, they and Brooke are a family and you can celebrate that.

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  66. Dear Melody,
    Having come through the fire of major losses myself, I sympathize with your life's journey and rejoice in your freedom which so obviously expresses itself in the beauty you express through your open heart, your generosity of spirit and your beautiful artwork in all its forms. God bless you and your family! Sending many hugs...

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  67. Anonymous3:58 PM

    Melanie,

    Thanks for your honesty in sharing the difficult circumstances of your childhood. It resonated with me because of my own emotionally distant, verbally abusive mother. After she died, I learned some of the circumstances that had helped to make her what she was. It did not excuse her behavior towards me, but helped me to come to terms with it.
    I agree with you that physical and emotional distance is the only way to free yourself from such toxic relationships. I have had to keep myself distant from two of my siblings who have tried to perpetuate the old patterns of behavior and use me as their scapegoat.
    I read your blog regularly and your beautiful, vibrant art helps lift me up when I am down.

    Susan

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  68. Dear Melody,
    What a sad life your mother had - she missed all the joys and thrills of her children. I'm glad you have some happy memories from your childhood. May she rest in peace. I wish you, Brooke and your brothers peace and happiness now she has passed.

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  69. Well your mother has finally done some good. You have donated her body to help others and because of her you have posted this touching story and look at the people who have been touched and have been given hope by you as their example.

    Peace.

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  70. Hugs to you and your family. You are an inspiration through your work and your words.

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  71. Mel, many, many people wish the best for you, even though your mother did not. Thank you for sharing your sad story.

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  72. Anonymous7:12 PM

    oh my goodness, this sounded so familiar! I knew from quite an early age there was something wrong with my mother, but it wasn't until she was in a nursing home that she was diagnosed with a personality disorder. It was hell being her kid. I have survived it all somehow but I feel I missed out...As a little kid, I'd notice the difference in mothers when I visited a friend's house, but I thought, 'They are just being nice because I'm here.'

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  73. I'm lucky to have a great Mom, which is pretty amazing since her own mother was pretty awful to her. I appreciate her all the more since I know what she went through & overcame. I can see that it still affects her self image, though, and she's in her 70s. I guess it's something you work on your whole life.
    I'm glad you and your sister were able to break away from her. I had to do the same thing with my sister. There are some people who think that's not right and that you should put up with whatever a family member hands out just because it's your family. It's sad, but sometimes it's just the only thing you can do.

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  74. Your sharing has allowed so many to share also. What I learned as an adult is that I could be the mother I didn't have. My daughter and I have a wonderful relationship and both she and I value it because of my mother. Ironic, isn't it?

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  75. Anonymous10:27 PM

    Dear Mel -
    May you find peace in your heart....
    <3 judi in wny

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  76. Mel, you've managed to put a most positive spin on your life in spite of poor role modeling. May you find peace in knowing you're leaving a different mark in the world.

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  77. Sending many cyber {{{{HUGS}}}}!!!

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  78. Bless your heart my dear sweet Melody, wish I could pair that with a huge hug! I'm sorry for your losses, the early ones, the ones at 35 and all the ones since. Love you!

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  79. Hi Melody,
    My thoughts and good energy (prayers??) are with you and your siblings. I hope that you can help heal each other and be the parents to each other that your mother wouldn't/couldn't be. I know this must have been a hard post to write and I have so much respect for you for sharing these intense feelings with us. I am so glad that you can see the gifts your mother gave you while seeing her failings. By identifying them, you can move on, which you have obviously done. You have also given me a gift, which is to remind me to be the best parent I can and the most positive person I can. I will also tell my mother thanks for being such a great mom - not perfect, but wonderful and supportive and helpful and giving.
    xx

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  80. You are an amazing woman. To have left that behind and have a loving relationship with yourself, your husband and siblings is amazing (there's just no other word for it). I work with women who have mental health issues and have a lot of compassion for them, but to have been raised by someone like this would be so difficult. My thoughts and prayers go to you and your family (including your mom). Thank you for sharing this part of your story.

    My best to you,

    Debbie L

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  81. Anonymous7:39 PM

    Thank you for sharing your story, which helps me get a better handle on my immensely complex feelings towards my mother. Mental illness is a terrible thing. You are a courageous woman to share. God Bless.

    Andrea

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  82. My heart aches for the pain little Melody had to endure ... and that big Melody has had to deal with! You are a strong, brave woman and I'm glad that some good has come of it all for you, at least.

    Linda (with tears)

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  83. janice in detroit1:31 PM

    Melody, I just got caught up with your blog -- I usually check you everyday -- and saw the news about your mother. I am so amazed at how you've grown and suspect that this story is part of why you make such colorful, cheerful art. Hugs to you

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  84. Melody, Your Mother missed so much by choosing her behavior. You are wonderful, beautiful, talented, loving and kind. Every Mother would love to be able to say those things about their daughter. while we can never look back - keep looking forward and know in your heart you have accomplished so much in your life. Your Mother should have been proud as heck.
    I'm sorry that part was such a disappointment. I guess that's why God sent you Dave!!
    Peace -
    Patty Cramer

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  85. Anonymous6:29 PM

    Mel,

    I'm sorry for the losses you've suffered - the hurts and deficits before your mother's death, and now her death.

    I walked a similar path with my mom, who died a few years ago.

    I just wanted to mention a book that helped me process my mother's death. The Grief Recovery Handbook has a series of writing exercises that I did the summer my mother died. It was really helpful for me to feel like I had closure - and it does not assume that you had a positive relationship with the person you're grieving. I'd recommend it to anyone who has lost a difficult parent.

    I mean this sincerely - not as some kind of spammy, book-selling post!!! I just really appreciated this book when my mom died.

    Take care!
    Sue

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  86. So glad you have worked through all of that and sounds like you're at peace with it all. Even though you would have liked it to be different, it gives you a great perspective on what "not" to do to those you love. My condolences.

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  87. There were so many things lacking in my relationship with my mom. She passed away two years ago. I now put only the good times in the forefront of my memory. We are all flawed, but with God's help, we will heal. Now, I cry for you, for me, for all who missed out on the unconditional love of a parent.

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  88. Oh my god, there's a lot of helpful info above!

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Hello,
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