ATLANTA, GEORGIA: Poet, writer and baker Molly Brodak was just 39 years old when she took her own life on March 8, 2020, in Atlanta, Georgia, after being diagnosed with a brain tumor.
“My partner Molly Brodak passed away yesterday. I don’t know how else to say it,” Brodak’s heartbroken husband, Blake Butler, wrote on X (formerly Twitter) at the time.
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Nearly three years after Brodak’s death, Butler revealed the tragic final hours of his beloved wife’s life in his new book, simply titled “Molly.”
In his new book, Butler also included the final haunting entry from his wife’s diary.
“I took a bath, said goodbye to my body. We ate grilled halloumi and made love after dinner and watched our favorite things on TV,” Brodak wrote in his last post, according to an excerpt from Butler’s book, previewed by the LA Times.
“I feel like I see everything with such clarity this morning. I’ve been pretending all my life,” she reportedly wrote, the book mentions.
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Final edits to the proof are finally complete – physical galleys will be available soon (DM if you’re interested) – released 12/5/23
Info and pre-order: https://t.co/XVvlPOwTRl pic.twitter.com/eXlSk4hWdS
— Blake Butler (@blakebutler) August 6, 2023
Molly Brodak taped a suicide note to her husband’s front door
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According to the LA Times, Butler shared the gruesome details of Brodak’s death in his new book. Although it’s unclear how the “Great American Baking Show” star took her own life, Butler said she was “struggling with mental illness and a lifetime of trauma.”
Butler reportedly shared in detail how Brodak committed suicide in his book, but the publication decided to leave the details out of his preview.
However, the outlet reported that Butler found Brodak’s suicide note taped to their front door so he could see it when returning from an errand.
“Leaving all of that aside for me to find out like that,” Butler wrote, adding, “The way she made sure it was me who would go get her body was a different kind of violence in itself.”
Blake Butler detailed Molly Brodak’s struggles throughout her life in her book
In his heartbreaking tribute to his wife, Butler also reflected on Brodak’s lifelong struggle with trauma and mental health issues.
He spoke of Brodak’s troubled nature, stemming from a history of depression dating back to his childhood. From the beginning of his book, he explained that these problems continued to be a part of his life even when they encountered each other.
According to Brodak’s memoir, “Bandit,” she was born in Detroit in 1980 and raised in Rochester, Michigan. His mother was a therapist while his father worked for General Motors.
Brodak was just 13 when his father, Joseph Brodak, was sent to prison in 1994 for his role in a series of bank robberies in and around Detroit.
It was revealed he decided to carry out robberies at 11 area banks as he struggled to pay off his gambling debts.
The incident shattered Brodak’s otherwise ordinary childhood. While Joseph was released in 2001 after being imprisoned for seven years, he served another prison term for robbing more banks in 2009.
Molly Brodak has struggled with issues of trauma and mental illness her entire life (@mollyb20217/Instagram)
In his book “Molly,” Butler recalls the time he first met Brodak in 2010. “Molly was troubled, that much was clear,” Butler wrote.
He also remembered Brodak’s morbid fascination with death. “Even if you want to be dead inside, I’ll still kiss your dead eyes,” she once wrote to him.
“Death always seemed to be on Molly’s mind,” Butler said. “Sometimes I felt a part of her locked away without a key for a long time, its buried voice pushing her with dark thoughts,” he added.
While Butler highlighted Brodak’s later journals, poems, emails and social media posts in his book, he also went back to the beginning of her life, looking at the lists Brodak created when she was a little girl.
Blake Butler was consumed by grief following the death of Molly Brodak
In addition to writing about the final moments of Brodak’s life, Butler also shed light on his own condition after the tragic death of his wife.
“Every effort I could make to stay alive seemed both obligatory and impossible, as if all I had left to hope for, at best, was to walk up to my neck in blood that looked like water, with a black cloth bag over his head. lined with wall-style dioramas of Molly’s suicide scene inscribed on them, intertwined with miles of smoke,” Butler wrote.
He then decided to use writing the book as a moment of catharsis while going through different stages of grief, including shock, devastation and anger.
Blake Butler used writing ‘Molly’ as a moment of catharsis (@kookiehouse/Instagram)
Butler channeled the pain and suffering of a grieving lover while combing through his wife’s childhood diaries, lists, gifts, and unpublished writings.
However, this prompted Butler to encounter his own demons, including his habit of drinking alcohol. He even considered ending his life in order to find his partner.
“The only way for me to finish this book is to kill myself,” he wrote at one point.
An obituary published in the New York Times mentioned how Brodak “left many other poems behind” and how she sent Butler a book called “Folk Physics” the day she died.
He reportedly planned to publish Brodak’s poems posthumously. At Brodak’s memorial service, Butler also recounted how he had written about 40 poems, one for each year of his wife’s life, and planned to give it to her on her 40th birthday.
Upcoming Event Dates for “Molly”
– released 12/5 @ArchwayEditions
EXCERPTS: @Harpers – https://t.co/d4BhgKKjTb@parisreview – https://t.co/s8bJlvqV7r
Media inquiries – @luxlotus
Thank you for your support pic.twitter.com/Wq3bKy4YBs
— Blake Butler (@blakebutler) November 7, 2023
In his new book, Butler recalled how he wrote “a sunny yellow notebook filled with forty poems, one for each year of his life, which I had been working on for months as a surprise for his next birthday, in a few weeks.”
“…If only I had given them to her sooner, I imagined, maybe I wouldn’t be here reading them aloud as to her ghost,” he wrote.
According to the LA Times, while Butler may not have known “how to tell” Brodak’s story at first and wished she had told it sooner, her book, “Molly,” also explains how even the black hole of grief can to blossom into something. significant, in the eyes of the good spectator.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
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