The Work In Progress Blog Tour

Grackel visiting me last week on my writing retreat.

Grackle visiting me last week on my writing retreat.

Friend and fellow memoirist, Kathy Pooler,  has been one of my biggest supporters through the trials and tribulations of writing my memoir. She was one of my beta readers, and asked me to write a guest post for her blog as well. Everything she has said about my writing has inspired me to continue. Last week she tagged me for The Work In Progress Blog Tour, and once again I am honored and grateful for her unending encouragement.

Both Kathy and I have suffered from abuse and have used writing as a way to heal and grow beyond our victimhood into whole, authentic women, interested in passing on what we have learned to others who may need inspiration as they navigate through difficult times. Kathy’s book, Ever Faithful To His Lead: My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse, published this past summer, tells her story of escaping domestic abuse inflicted by two former husbands and her climb back to wholeness and a rewarding new life.

My book, ME MYSELF AND MOM, A Journey Through Love, Hate And Healing, which I’m still working on, is the story of becoming my mother’s caretaker, during her last years of life. She was one of my abusers when I was a child and took up her old role again when I invited her into my home as her health began to fail. It’s been a tough story to tell, but the forgiveness that I have found for her and myself as I’ve written about our relationship has been life changing, allowing me to let go of the cloak of victimhood I’ve worn most of my life. Below is a brief synopsis:

As Mom’s health begins to fail, I invite her to move in with my husband and me. As I attempt to be her caretaker and make life easier for her, we struggle with our own grief and pain while trying to maintain our individual independence and privacy. Repressed memories of abuse from my childhood rise to the surface. My deep longing to bring us together crumbles as she nears death and becomes impossible to deal with. When she dies I am left with feelings of deep bitterness and a bag of her ashes. Five years and four different “Letting-Go” rituals later, I find forgiveness for her and myself, while picking up the broken pieces of my life. This story of my healing process, is for adult children left with emptiness from investing themselves in a loving yet hateful relationship with an aging parent and the challenge of renewal when their loved one is gone. It’s loaded with themes of love, guilt, condemnation, heroism, hatred, dedication, perseverance, loneliness, regrets, PTSD, substance abuse, and forgiveness.

Besides linking back to the person who tagged me for this blog tour, I’ve been asked to include the first sentences from the first three chapters of my book, and then to nominate other writers who are in the midst of new projects.


Chapter I:  Mourning Dove,   May 21, 2007

It’s a beautiful May morning. The grass is heavy with dew and the air is filled with an early morning concert sung by a choir of returning birds. They’ll soon build nests in neighboring shrubs and trees where they’ll raise their young, then head south again in the fall completing another yearly cycle. As I turn the corner into my driveway, a mourning dove feeding on the ground takes flight. There is a light bump as it collides with the hood of my car. With wings outspread, I watch it rise straight up, surrounded in a veil of white light. When it vanishes into thin air I know something has changed. It is a clear message that my mother has died.


Chapter II:  The Beginning of the End,   August, 2000

When friend and real estate broker, Pat, calls to ask if he can show us a house that’s been on the market for a year, I’m not terribly excited. “But, the price has been lowered dramatically and I know you’ll love the location.” He tells me the house is in a subdivision of eight homes, and fronts on the South Fork Rivanna River Reservoir. I imagine the price will be way over what we’re willing to spend. But one can look … hope … and dream.

Chapter III:  Living In A Construction Zone,  July 2001

As sawdust piles up, and old walls are torn down, the scene in front of me is all too familiar.  I’m reminded of the feelings of impermanence that haunted my childhood as my family traveled like gypsies from one home to another.


I know that this is a ridiculously busy time of year, but I’m tagging the following  writer/bloggers as a way to inspire them to continue to work on their new projects. If Kathy hadn’t already been tagged, she would be on this list, as well. She is beginning work on a new memoir.

Saloma Furlong, is the author of two memoirs: Why I Left The Amish and Bonnet Strings, An Amish Woman’s Ties To Two Worlds. She is at work on another as she explores her relationship with her mother.

Valery Rind, is the author of the just released, Gold Diggers And Deadbeat Dads, a must read about how to keep from falling for family and friend’s finacial woes and schemes. I know she will be writing more on this subject.

July Lee Dunn,  is at work getting her book She’s Out Late, a mother-daughter memoir, published.