CELTICLADY'S REVIEWS: Scattering Ashes by Joan Z. Rough Book Review!   

15 October, 2016

Scattering Ashes by Joan Z. Rough Book Review!


When her alcoholic and emotionally abusive mothers health declines, Joan Rough invites her to move in with her. Rough longs to be the good daughter, helping her narcissistic mother face the reality of her coming death. But when repressed memories of childhood abuse by her mother arise, Rough is filled with deep resentment and hatred toward the woman who birthed her, and her dream of mending their tattered relationship shatters. Seven years later, when her mother dies, she is left with a plastic bag of her mother s ashes and a diagnosis of PTSD. What will she do with them? 
Courageous and unflinchingly honest, Scattering Ashes is a powerful chronicle of letting go of a loved one, a painful past, and fear a journey that will bring hope to others who grapple with the pain and repercussions of abuse."


Having spent a goodly amount of my life trying to find my way through a maze of constant life changes, I’m finally figuring out where I’ve been, how I got there, and who and where I am today. Mine is a story of an ordinary life that led to a diagnosis of PTSD; where constant fear and anxiety hid in the shadows and attacked without warning whenever I appeared too vulnerable.
As a child I lived like a gypsy, moving from house to house, as quickly as my father could build and then sell them. My father was a tyrant; my mother was an alcoholic with a narcissistic personality. Until recently I believed that I was broken and a failure. I was filled with shame, and the need to keep myself hidden from the rest of the world.
In working through my stories I’ve found healing, acceptance, and forgiveness for myself and the others who have left a mark on my life.
My upcoming memoir is about my relationship with my mother, during the last seven years of her life when I became her caretaker and she lived with me in my home. I recall both my love and hatred for her, explore my recovery from loss and abuse, and find the imperfect, but sensitive and compassionate human being that I am.
It’s an honest and sometimes humorous exploration of the mother/daughter relationship and the well-meaning mistakes both of us made without knowing why. It’s about my mother, a beautiful and loving woman, who was abused by her mother and then by her husband. And it’s about how I made my way from being lost in the mire of life with no one to rescue me but myself. Set in my sixtieth decade, it’s a coming of age story, sure to be of interest to others, especially woman, who have lost their way and need to recover their lives.
Besides writing poetry and nonfiction, I am an artist, passionate about painting with oils and wax, collage, mixed media, photography, and sculpting French beaded flowers.  My work in photography has been exhibited throughout the nation and has found homes in numerous collections. Though retired from actively showing my work, I still take great joy in creating large, colorful works on canvas and paper and smaller encaustic paintings on wood.
In 1980 I wrote and published the now out-of-print instruction book, AUSTRALIAN LOCKER HOOKING, A New Approach to a Traditional Craft. My poetry has been published in numerous journals and is included in the anthology, Some Say Tomato, by Mariflo Stephens.
I usually don't read a lot of memoirs but when offered this one, it struck a chord in me. My life was very similar to the authors, the only difference is that I did not have my mother live with me in her last days, one of my siblings did that. Living with an alcoholic is difficult. Mine was but only in my high school years. She had not done a lot of drinking in my younger years but she was still very verbally abusive. 

Like the the author, I also had resentment and anger towards my mother. But the only way I was to overcome mine was with a loving husband and children who reminded me that I was not to blame for my mother's behavior.

Scattering Ashes is a very poignant, no holds barred story of a woman who eventually comes to terms with her feelings and is finally able to move on. Told with an honesty that will have you feeling the emotions that Ms.Rough goes through during and after the time her mother lives with her. A person in this situation like Joan, goes through anger, guilt and sometimes humor, then forgiveness. Forgiveness not only for herself but for her mother also, because that is the only way you can go on from a situation like this. Fortunately for me, I have four children that I have a great relationship with. I enjoyed reading this book.

I received a copy of this book for review purposes.

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