Email from My Step-Mother, August 12, 2003

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Dear Gina, I am so unqualified to advise you.  I cannot imagine your childhood.  Thank you for your compliments about my children and me.  I treat them as I was treated.  That is why my advice might be shallow.  If you could only forget the past and just love them for who they are now.  Love their goodness.  There is a lot to be proud of.   I am going to email something I received tonight from JoAnne that has your answer.  You can't go through your whole life cursing the past.  Forget it.  It is over.  You are alive and healthy and with a man who loves you.  A man you love. You are about to be married and  are on your way to getting a degree.... move on.  Love them and don't worry about whether they love you back.  Life is good.  Enjoy it.  Choose to live in the now.  Reading the New Testament will give you insight...show you the beauty of loving one another...  There was a time in my life when I was hurting emotionally....the New Testament humbled me and I soon began to care more about others than my own hurting self...  I saw I was standing still in my own pain.  I moved on. 

Sorry for your hurting, dear. 

Love, Raye

Dear Gina,

 

This is the answer I mentioned....

 

Raye

-----Original Message-----

From: [mailto:]

Sent: Monday, August 11, 2003 10:46 PM

To: ; ; MARY A,Slaucenburg; Kathryn Lynne Sounier; Joe & Raye Turcotte

Subject: Cracked Pots - a very excellent moral

 

A water bearer in China had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which he carried across his neck. One pot had a crack in it, while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water.

At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his house.

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.

After 2 years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream...

"I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house."

The bearer said to the pot, "Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side?

That's because I have always known about your flaw, and I planted flower seeds on your side of the path.

Every day while we walk back, you've watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house."

Moral:

Each of us has our own unique flaws. We're all cracked pots. But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. You've just got to take each person for what they are, and look for the good in them.

Blessings to all my crackpot friends and relatives.

-----Original Message-----
From: Gina L. Turcotte [mailto:]
Sent: Tuesday, August 12, 2003 8:02 AM
To: joeraye
Subject: RE:

You know, Raye… it IS a darn shame my parents and I are not closer… but they made their bed, and now they have to sleep in it. Parents “create” who their children become, which leads directly to what difficulties they will have in life, and my parents did a smash-up job giving me a bunch of problems to deal with. I know you have a kind heart by nature and would not naturally focus on the “bad” but there’s no disputing that my parents created a lot of baggage for me that could have been, should have been, avoided. And now I’m left with the task of sorting all of that out and discarding what is not productive or useful. What gets me is their mantra “I did the best I could”… I had no healthy, parental role model either growing up, which naturally leads to my passing along my “stuff” to Jenna, which I’m sure I’ve done, but to the contrary I’ve created a child who knows she’s loved very much, has strong self esteem, values, morals and dreams. She is not sexually active, not into drugs, alcohol or smoking. She doesn’t run away or get into trouble. She tries hard to do well in school and is good to the people she interacts with. I could have very easily ignored my issues and told Jenna that “I did the best I could” but that doesn’t minimize, or eliminate, whatever damage I may have caused her in the meantime. I am NOT blameless -- neither are other parents, including my own. I learned on my own, despite my unhealthy upbringing, that the way I was treated growing up was WRONG and I committed myself to NOT raising Jenna that way. 

When I was growing up my father was selfish, angry and out of control. My mother was cold, heartless and unattached. And, unfortunately for them, they are still that way. These are not traits I find healthy or productive. But I had to live with it and deal with it… and I’m still dealing with it today… my parents have not come to accept responsibility for the lack of a relationship between them and me. They think it’s just me being “Gina”, and I suppose they’re right. I’m NOT allowing myself to be hurt anymore by the two people in my life who should have protected me all these years. If they are concerned about the lack of a connection with me then they both need to do some serious soul-searching and decide why it is that there is no relationship. They started the ball rolling 34 years ago and it’s still rolling. All I can do is find some peaceful resolution within my heart to stop being angry with them, but that doesn’t mean I forgive them for their selfishness and abuse. If they want me to look at them in a new light, then they both need to take steps to correct what is wrong and unhealthy, especially my father. He is so into blaming other people for what goes wrong… it was ALWAYS my fault or my brother’s fault… never Dad’s… and now I’m dealing with an exaggerated sense of responsibility. I’m always feeling “not good enough” because I can always find fault with things I do. Even when it’s obviously not my fault, I still feel responsible because I played a role in the event, regardless of the nature of that role. I take on responsibility for things other people do and find the line very blurry about where I end and they begin… 

Raye, I have observed how you have raised your children over the last 17 years, and you have acted as a role model for me and Jenna. You have always respected your children, allowed them to make their own decisions, and mistakes, and you have not battered them, either emotionally or physically. There is a mutual respect between you and your children and that is something to be proud of. I have tried to create that same respect between me and Jenna and I believe I have succeeded. Although I put Jenna through hell these years, she understands that I was behaving contrary to my own wishes, and that I have worked my butt off to correct whatever damage I caused, and to create a healthier, more productive relationship with her because of it. That is part of where she gets her respect for me. If I had continued to behave erratically and without conscience, my relationship with Jenna would be much more seriously damaged, maybe even beyond repair. This is where both my parents fall short in their perspective. They say they “did the best they could”… unfortunately, it wasn’t good enough… and they seem to put the responsibility on me to change in order to have a relationship with them… what about them? What about THEIR changes? Do they think that because they’re 50+ years old that they are done working on themselves? Do they truly feel they “cannot” change? If they do, then they’re fooling themselves and they’re setting themselves up for more failure and misery… I am willing to extend the olive branch but they MUST meet me halfway if this shit’s going to get resolved. I will NOT accept responsibility for their failures or mistakes. The negative tapes that get played in my head over and over again were put there by them and if they want to mend this relationship with me then they are going to have to take a true inventory of their mistakes, and abuse, and make changes in the way they deal with me now. I am done changing myself to please them. That’s been in place for many years. If I change, it is only for myself and for my daughter. 

Even Mom deciding to attend counseling with me doesn’t make the relationship any better… it only makes it possible for us to try to make it better… what’s going to make it better is if we BOTH make changes in the way we deal with each other. I am more than willing to look at myself and the way I deal with my parents IF and only IF they reciprocate in their efforts. This applies especially to my father, who has always been unwilling to look at himself in a true light. My mother, at least, has acknowledged her neglect and abuse but hasn’t fully comprehended the impact it had on me and my feelings about myself and her. My father, at selected times, has minimally accepted responsibility for his selfish, and abusive, behavior but has taken no steps to further develop any growth. At least he hasn’t displayed the growth, whether he feels it inside or not. I would love to have a healthy relationship with both of my parents but that requires them treating me like the grown adult that I am and acting like the grown adult they are. 

As you can probably sense, I have just about had it with both my parents. My relationship with my mother may have some possibilities now but that is yet to be determined. And my relationship with my father isn’t going to get any better until he steps up to the plate. You know I love my parents but I hate what they have done to me and I hate that they are still doing it to me. I am now committed to living my life the way I want without regard to my parents’ wishes and demands. They no longer have any say in my life and I like it that way. I don’t have to worry about not pleasing them because I very seldom please them anymore. 

So, that is my opinion du jour… I’m sure it will change and evolve over time… hopefully for the better… 

All my love, 

Gina 

-----Original Message-----
From: joeraye [mailto:]
Sent: Monday, August 11, 2003 6:55 PM
To:
Subject: RE: 

Hi, I especially liked your last sentence.  Thanks. 

It is a darn shame you and your parents aren't closer.  I think they are both very special people... intelligent and caring.  I hope some day you are able to see them in a better light.  The three of you remind me of the three blind mice.... not appreciating the beauty of each other... not seeing the quality...  I am glad you are in counseling and I will keep my fingers crossed that it has a positive outcome.  Your parents, as all parents, have tried to mold and shape you into a happier person.  The shaping has hurt. but your quality of life has been their goal.  Perhaps they failed to show you love in the way you looked for it, but the love was and is there. 

I am doing pretty good.  It feels like Lynne is closer to me now.  I don't have to drive to South Thomaston to see her suffering... I feel her presence and love right here... all the time.  I've admired her all my life.  Her humor, wit, interests, talents and sensibility... she was wise and wonderful.  I would like to read that book you mentioned.  I will get it from the library next time I go.  I have read several like it and almost lost my fear of dying...  almost. :) 

I'm glad I did not make you mad at me about the dress.  I went to a backyard wedding about 20 years ago.  I married Rusty to Patty.  {picture that one}.  They had picnic tables set up and lots of food and friends.  Patty had long blonde hair and ringed around her head was a crown of real daises.  She wore a lacy white cotton blouse and a pale blue skirt. Simple, but precious.  I can still see and appreciate it today.  Of course Rusty was dressed in his usual black with his red bandana and cowboy boots... 

Enough for now...  have a great evening. 

Love, Raye 

P.S.  Ssssshhh ...your dad loves you.

-----Original Message-----
From: Gina L. Turcotte [mailto:]
Sent: Monday, August 11, 2003 7:09 AM
To: joeraye
Subject: RE:

Hi Raye. 

You’re absolutely right about my emotional investment in this dress of mine. I would even go as far as to say I’m a little obsessed with it. I’ve always wanted this type of dress and now that the occasion has presented itself, I can’t seem to divert my attention from it. Kevin’s mother even asked me if there was another dress that would be “acceptable” and my answer to her was “yes” but it wouldn’t be “my” dress… the dress that I’ve been dreaming about for 34 years! You know how that feels… I think I’d feel worse the day after the wedding if I didn’t have the dress I wanted… and in my book, the frustration will pay off in the long run… once I can get the designer that I feel can do the job, I will be able to relax a bit more. 

We’re going to be talking with a videographer this week… he lives just across the way from us and has grown up with Kevin… he runs the local Channel 9 television station out here in Readfield and seems like a nice guy. The jury’s still out on that though until we meet with him and see his work. 

Mom and I are in family counseling now and are on the road to recovery. Jenna has decided, with my blessing, to continue to live with Mom and Dave so I figure if I want to be part of Jenna’s life I need to learn to co-parent her with my mother. Heluva task!! It’s very difficult though because mom’s behavior over the past 34 years, and her coldness and critical nature, have caused me some very deep wounds that haven’t healed yet. We’re trying though and I guess that’s the first step to success. I wish dad was more accepting of his behavior and how it affects other people. He would be a more cooperative, and enjoyable, man if he was able to look at himself and his character flaws and make a decision to correct them. But that won’t happen until, and if, he ever chooses to grow up. Oh well, c’est la vie!! 

You sound like you’re doing well. I hope life still has that sweet smell for you even though a skunk just waddled through your life. I hope you pick up that book I recommended… I guarantee that you will enjoy it! It’s a book that always refreshes my faith in God and the goodness of people. 

I’ve enjoyed corresponding with you. I hope it doesn’t end. 

Love always, 

Gina 

-----Original Message-----
From: joeraye [mailto:]
Sent: Sunday, August 10, 2003 10:06 AM
To:
Subject: RE: 

The schooling and the gazebo are investments...you will get your money back from the schooling and always have enjoyment of the gazebo.  I'm all for both.  I wish you luck on the dress, but as I said, you will look fantastic in any dress, I 'd like to see you put less effort and money into it..  It seems you are giving it more importance than it deserves.  You don't need that stress. Kevin sounds wonderful.  You can pay him back by loving him and cooking special meals, cleaning the house and giving him all that attention instead of the dress.  Not that you are not doing it now, but it sounds to me like the dress has you consumed.  Relax, with your mother's art and the gazebo in the backyard, you will have a beautiful wedding. 

Talk later... 

Love, Raye 

-----Original Message-----
From: Gina L. Turcotte [mailto:]
Sent: Saturday, August 09, 2003 6:20 PM
To: joeraye
Subject: RE:

Hey there… I’m returning to UMA to finish my Bachelor’s Degree in Mental Health and Human Services. If I get through that ok I’d like to go to UMO for my Masters in Social Work. My ultimate goal, which I’ll probably never realize, would be to go to Law School, like I always wanted to do… but that’s shooting for the moon and you know how that usually works out. I’m just going to take it one step at a time and see what happens. Kevin and I have talked at length about my going to school as opposed to working full time and he is quite adamant that school would be a more valuable way of spending my time. He’s been such a great support in all this. Every time I talk about going back to work instead he steers me back in the direction of school and refreshes my memory about my dreams and goals. I still struggle though because I don’t have the money I would have if I worked. Kevin has been really good about that also… he’s suggested I keep my $570/mth that I get for disability so I can have spending money during the month. I struggle everyday because by my keeping my disability check I’m not financially contributing to the household expenses and I feel guilty about that. I do more work around the house now than I ever have but it still doesn’t feel like it’s enough… 

About my wedding… I’ve spoken on the phone with at least 2 dozen seamstresses throughout the state and I’ve been very disappointed with the results. They’re probably very talented people but if they don’t have pictures or samples to show me of their work I’m not going to put my faith in them and take that kind of a risk. I just can’t afford to. I’ve got an interview with another seamstress in Greene on the 21st who claims to have a bunch of pictures… we’ll have to wait and see, I suppose. As far as the cost is concerned, it’s actually a lot cheaper to have the dress made because I can choose the quality/grade of the material I want which allows me to control the cost and I can also dictate what I want the dress to look like based on my monetary restrictions. Buying a dress off the rack would restrict me to that dress plus the cost of any alterations. We’re talking about $600 - $1,000 off the rack. Having the dress made my way, I can pull it off for about $500 - $800. My budget allows for $1,500 for my dress but I don’t want to spend that much if I don’t have to, of course. I’ll feel much better about this whole process once I find a seamstress I have that “gut” feeling about… 

My wedding is going to be simple, yet elegant, with very little extra stuff. I’d like to hire a horse & carriage that will cost about $500 or so. Having that though, unfortunately, is negotiable. Kevin and I also want to build a gazebo in our backyard where we’ve cleared out the woods. We’re planning to have the ceremony in the gazebo but we’ll have to wait and see if we can afford to build it. All these plans with no money… and I’m going back to school instead of working… go figure! Kevin seems to think we can have it all. He’s working for that Plumbing/Heating guy here in town and he’s enjoying it and making really good money so I guess I have to trust him. He’s very good with money that way. He knows how to make things happen when times get tough. We’re not asking our parents for any monetary help with this wedding. The only thing I’m asking is for mom to do my flowers. I wouldn’t trust anyone else to do them the way that I want them. Mom’s always had a great talent for that kind of stuff. And I love her taste with crafty stuff. 

Anyway, I hope you’re doing ok. At the very least, Lynn is no longer suffering and in pain. If you’re interested in reading a fabulous book, pick up “Embraced by the Light” by Betty J. Eadie. It’s about her near-death experience and what she remembers about heaven. It’s a true story and she’s been featured on talk shows all over the country for the past 30 years or so about her experience. I have read the book twice and it’s my favorite book of all time. Her closing statement, on the last page of her book, is my life mantra… “I will continue to try”… and try and try and try… 

Talk soon. 

Love always, 

Gina

 

-----Original Message-----
From: Turcotte, Raye [mailto:]
Sent: Friday, August 08, 2003 8:36 AM
To: joeraye
Subject: RE:

So glad to year you are going back to school.  What school?  

My boss, Gordon, has a seamstress.  She makes many clothes for his wife.  I do not know her name, but she speaks with an accent.  You probably have already interviewed her.  Gordon will not be in today, but I will check with him on Monday if you like. 

I’ll keep my ears tuned for you… 

Love,  Raye

 

Raye J. Turcotte, Secretary
Eaton Peabody
77 Sewall Street
Augusta, Maine 04330

 

-----Original Message-----
From: Gina L. Turcotte [mailto:]
Sent: Thursday, August 07, 2003 9:26 PM
To: joeraye
Subject: RE:

Can you tell me if you know anyone competent to design the pattern, and make, my wedding dress? I’m running into some serious problems finding a competent seamstress. Most of them, if not all, keep NO pictures of the dresses they have made over the last 5 – 25 years… They have nothing to show me that represents their skills and talents… and when I ask them how am I to know that they are capable of creating this dress for me they have the nerve to tell me that I have to “trust them” in choosing them for my designer. Like I’m going to dish out hundreds of dollars for a dress I may end up hating… I don’t think so… I’ve pretty much exhausted my options here in Maine unless I’m not looking in the right direction… I’m looking in Boston online now to see if I can find anyone who meets my standards… unfortunately my high standards are making my desire to have “MY” dress much more exhausting and frustrating than I ever expected. I just found my photographer though. He’s got a great personality… he’ll definitely fit in with our friends and family. His pictures are so crisp and clear… he shoots everything in digital and they’re the best pictures I’ve seen yet and I’ve scoured the web for months… I’ve seen good pictures but not “great” pictures. He’s more a photojournalist photographer – prefers candid shots to the traditional poses and such. That’s what I prefer since I don’t “pose” well at all… I hate that… Candid shots are so much more “real” anyway. They capture the moment better, don’t you think? 

Anyway, I’m just starting the adventure of planning my wedding. And I’m starting school in September as well… let’s see if I can make it through this time without falling flat on my face. I definitely know my boundaries better now than I ever have… and I have the discipline to stay within those boundaries… something I’ve never had… I’m looking forward to completing one more thing in my life.

Our prayers are with you. 

Love, 

Gina & Kevin 

-----Original Message-----
From: joeraye [mailto:]
Sent: Thursday, August 07, 2003 7:26 PM
To:
Subject: 

Dear Gina, 

    Thank you for the beautiful card.  I really appreciated it. 

    Sorry we could not make your parent supper.  Please let us know how the plans are coming and let me know what I can do to help. 

Love you. 

Raye 

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