“Mandate with suffering.”  Not like saying “hamburger with fries.”  Yet having written the story presented in my last post I have a need to look more closely than ever before at ‘forgiveness’, a word that I don’t really understand.

That doesn’t matter, evidently.  I will learn.  Meanwhile, those who have suffered greatly through abuse know this mandate that comes with such suffering.  Either our memories eat us alive – or we find our way to forgive.

Because working with Mildred’s own story as she presents it in her writings spares me the worst of the worst that I will face should I move on to finish my own childhood story once I have published the volumes of “The Demise of Mildred.”  I sure got a taste today of what my own story telling might do to me – I continue to need to be very, very careful of how I handle my memories of severe child abuse.  So be it.


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  1. I imagine you like a wisdom keeper of old times writing down sacred information about being human … because the knowledge has been lost to our society. We live in a society that holds NOTHING sacred as a group. So I believe that carefullly describing something that is sacred and where the boundries of human dignity lie is a very sacred undertaking.
    As for myself I am still working on building a new way to block my memories out because the old way blocked out too much of me. It feels as if I am wading and flailing but I intend to get there.
    Following your blog helps me find some traction with this mess, so thanks for the work that you do.

    • I am very honored to have you reading here, Gregory. I have, just a few hours ago, made the decision to publish my mother’s writings without my commentary – so there will be two different books coming out about Mildred.

      I mention this to you here because I do have a sense of the sacred as I work with my terrible abuser’s own story – in her own words. It has been hard to think about letting her words speak – without my commentary – as if I am condoning what she did to me, or continuing to keep the secret of my terrible abuse, as if I am a complicitor – and on and on….

      But on the level of the sacred which you so powerfully mention here — publishing the series, “Mildred in Her Own Words” is a way to let GO of her through letting go of her story.

      I will have MY time. “The Demise of Mildred” series WILL have my comments! I will call out the darkness that which was so hidden in our family – that which was so hidden even in (and by) the patterns of her mental illness.

      On the level of awareness of sacred, part of me wants to put under my name as transcriber for Her Own Words — (published as an act of forgiveness)

      I probably won’t note that in words – the sacredness of this new ‘arm’ and ‘branch’ of this writing work lets me honor my mother – in spite of the 18 years of horror and suffering she caused me, in spite of how all that trauma has affected me all of my life.

      I don’t know how I would feel if I did not KNOW how severely mentally ill my mother was – but as I see it – as I work with her Alaskan homesteading letters that tell HER version of HER story — I understand that she would have written and published her own books and articles of her adventures — if she had NOT been so severely mentally ill.

      It’s about an act of compassion, then – possibly of forgiveness – to step out of the way now as an adult of 61 years of age – to let my dead mother tell her life story as I have HELPED that story come about. Her writings came to me in boxes filled with a complete disarray of letters and papers – disorganized, disordered – as my mother was herself as a result of the trauma in her childhood.

      The point is – the storm has to stop! However I do this, however any of us do this — to take some part in healing the STORIES of our lives —

      Thank you for your comment, Gregory! I have been struggling with discouragement the past 2 days – and I am feeling better. I have made an important decision (Oh, I realized it’s the difference, sort of, between watching a movie with director’s commentary or just watching the movie. Letting Mildred speak is the movie – what I do — as the director of the truth of this story – is mine.)

      anyway – time to go pickle my last harvest of jalapeno peppers! Many blessings to you on your healing journey!! Linda – alchemynow

  2. It takes all of my energy and emotional resources to barricade my trauma.Some days I honestly can’t hold the trauma and the trauma storm always crashes through…disaster clean up and emotional catastrophe are always eminent in my life.I was lucky enough to meet a very famous celebrity a few days ago and he overheard me in a conversation I was having with a friend he said to me, “throughout all your up and downs Helen you have to remember that this “catastrophe” is your precious journey..no one else’s. Good luck to you love”….what a guy. I know he’s had his fair share of trauma.I guess it’s time to enjoy life regardless of my altered existence.

  3. Dear Alchemynow,
    You are.. So.. BRAVE. I’ve been thinking of you a lot and
    Reading the progress. Its coming together, how incredible.
    I’m sending so much well wishing and support. I can’t help
    Thinking how interesting it is that you are doing such intense
    Work at the time of Thanksgiving!! How tough.

    I wanted to tell you – last week I went for a treat – a back and
    Head massage. A treat after all the marking and stress (we’ve
    Come to the end of our academic year). Well, after that massage
    I felt like I had flu and I sobbed! Its been like that for a week
    – I know the massage brought on flashbacks, especially when the
    Lady massaged my clavicles – it was also a bit intrusive. I don’t have
    Any memories attached to my emotions and this all took me by surprise.
    Your comment about memories eating us alive is huge..

    You are so brave and so open. Thank you thank you for your blog. I’ve been
    Following for nearly a year and I can say its been such a
    Broadening and good year because of reading your work and interacting with you!

    • Dear Gingercat,

      It warms my heart to hear from you this morning! Here we are entering the door of winter while you exit it. I am so sorry to hear of your pain! I am very aware as I work through my manuscripts of the intense efforts I and my body make to keep memories at bay. I was talking with one of my sisters last evening on the phone and was struck with almost marvel at how even small memories from her childhood can return to her. I feel thankful that does not happen to me.

      As I work now with many thousands of my abusive mother’s words about these years of my childhood – as SHE recorded the events – I know more clearly perhaps than I know anything else that I cannot under any circumstances allow myself to remember any more or different parts of my own experiences during my childhood than I always have. If I had done this work I am doing now in my early 20s I imagine memories would have been pounding against very flimsy walls to come into my consciousness. I think this is part of natural wisdom that this kind of work I am doing had to wait until I am 61 — for the very reason that I have so reinforced my means of separating myself from my memories of abuse that they cannot ‘get to me’ now.

      At the same time I wonder about the incredible percentage of my own life force it takes for me to create, reinforce and keep these barriers in place between myself and my own reality.

      Meanwhile, this is the song I am listening to on Pandora radio as I write to you — I share it as a gift to our powers of survival

      Even in our body as we continue forward to live our most-blessed lives, we find ways to dance, to celebrate, to give, to care, and to be thankful!!

      With much, much love – with prayers for your healing — for wishes for your gentleness to yourself – with HOPE! Linda – alchemynow

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