Ok…so here’s a story I have struggled not to write.

My mother passed away December 8th, 2012. It is a day I will never forget. It is a day I thought I would find freedom, and yet it is a day that sent me back in time, sent me right back into so many things I never wanted to think about again. EVER. It is a day that re-awakened a PTSD that I hoped to be free of, a syndrome that my staff cannot begin to understand, yet I do my best to keep separate from them the shadows that can follow me if I give them the space.

You see, I am a child of abuse and divorce. Not unusual. Also not unusual, custody was given to the mother, regardless of fitness. The perception at that time (1978) was that children should be with their mother–unless some grievous act was performed…but we rarely have proof for that which will stand up in court, so I was with Her. And she was unfit. And yes, read into that what you may.

All the same, she was, by all accounts, a genius–a brilliant woman, but she was also jealous of me. Apparently I scored higher than her on an IQ test when I was 12 and it all went downhill from there. she became bitter towards me, vindictive, and poisonous…nothing I did was safe or ok.

She held me up by my throat at the age of 11 and kicked me out of the house. She believed I was trying to supplant her. Said I was an ungrateful bitch. She did it again at 16 and 17. Each time marked an occasion where I was celebrated for my own achievements. She wanted to have a daughter that excelled, but when I did it was a catastrophe. She wanted the perfect child, but not if that child took her spotlight. Each time that happened she was altered. Not necessarily on wine, but altered. But it does have alot to do with why I still refuse to drink wine today. I cannot stand the smell.

So, She passed away last December. Before she passed I was able to be there to get her settled into hospice, and to hear her version of our life. My best friend was there, and I am grateful for that, because otherwise I might have gone completely crazy. She heard my mother’s version of my life and she knew the truth and she knew not to fight, but just stood by me. My mother’s version was completely off the hook, but it was important to her to believe it, and it was important to me that she could depart this plane in peace. But oh did it break my heart to hear what she needed to believe.

My best friend? She has no idea what I owe her.

The reality is,

No Child should ever have to clean up after her mother’s binge.

No Child should ever have to learn how to pay bills at five years old.

No Child should ever be OK with not celebrating her own report card just so that her mother’s boyfriend’s children won’t feel bad.

No Child should ever have to understand that “staying with friends” really means “I have no home for you.”

No Child should ever have to raise their own parent.

No Child should ever have to be fed their breakfast from their teachers.

No Child should ever have to be given a rain coat from their school.

No Child should ever apologize for being abused by the children of their mother’s boyfriend.

No Child should ever know want, or hunger or abuse.

I say all of this, but unfortunately I know that my experience is not unique. So all I can say is that YOUR PAST DOES NOT DEFINE YOU.

YOU have all the choice in the world to change what you THINK is your destiny. And if you came from anything like I did, there have defintitely been times where you destiny seemed pretty grim.


You are the strength of everything, and no one, no where, can change that unless you let them. Rise above your own expectations. I promise, you will constantly be surprised.


  1. Connie says:

    My Dearest Niece Alana
    As usual I am so proud of your courage and I honor your truth, your beautifully stated. I am so sorry that I was not able to relieve any of this suffering when you were a child. I experienced you as a most delicate child, full if light, joy, brightness, and humor. I can still feel hugging you as a toddler after scooping you up and how you snuggled in my arms. You loved to sit between Joulles and Jeff and they loved hugging you.
    I experienced your Mom’s chaos and I validate her brilliance and her pain which created such turmoil. At that time I had no idea how to handle these sporadic situations and yet had no idea how awful it increasingly was becoming for you. It was way beyond what a child should bear.
    The resilience, courage, and bright light you carry is what I am in awe of, Alana. You brighten any room you walk into and you are missed, sweetheart. Alana it is important that we face our story and release those awful mixed messages…then, as you have valiantly done, we are more than our story. We are all children of the light…a light that never left your beautiful spirit and which shines so brightly . I am glad you feel free to share your humanness …it only makes you more endearing. I am so proud to be your Aunt, Sweetie.
    I honor all your accomplishments and celebrate them. May your Mom rest in peace and may you feel her love from the other side in a healing that is beyond expectation . I have felt this with my Mom, your Grandma and so there is more to come after being brave to look in the black hole and fill it it with light. The truth does set us free…
    I also found that it is important to rail against spirit and ask every question in your heart…then the miracles happen. I know you see them Alana as you have shared so many with us..I send you love and the light of that double rainbow picture you took…keep writing..tell us more …we all love you…healing is best done shared. I wish I could give you a hug right now! With great love and respect,
    Your Aunt Connie

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