Recently I read about a brother and sister who published a fairly unflattering obituary when their mother died. Here is an excerpt of it:
Marianne Theresa Johnson-Reddick born Jan 4, 1935 and died alone on Aug. 30, 2013. She is survived by her 6 of 8 children whom she spent her lifetime torturing in every way possible. While she neglected and abused her small children, she refused to allow anyone else to care or show compassion towards them. When they became adults she stalked and tortured anyone they dared to love. Everyone she met, adult or child was tortured by her cruelty and exposure to violence, criminal activity, vulgarity, and hatred of the gentle or kind human spirit.
I know that many people would be horrified by this disrespectful writing, but my sister and I understand how they must feel. Marianne actually sounds quite a bit worse than Mary (our mother) and that is saying something. When our mother died, my sister Lindy and I felt no need to mourn her. She had spent her life making us miserable and a big show of weeping and wailing would have been totally false.
Having said that, Lindy and I did not feel the need to publish ugly things about her in the newspaper. We saved all our feelings for the blog. My sister would have been quite content with no service for our mother, but my son Taylor insisted that we had to have a religious service of some kind. He both wrote and conducted the service which would have pleased his grandmother very much. My sister and I did not share any memories or thoughts at all because every memory we have of her leads down a dark alley.
Through our writing, we try to show that all the damage Mother inflicted in this life was primarily to herself. She was not a happy person and she constantly bemoaned the bad breaks she had gotten in life. I am guessing that Marianne was the same type of person.
Here is the big difference between my sister and me and Marianne’s children: we had a dad who loved us and tried to make things better for us. I have noticed that if children have one person who cares about them, they will be okay. My friend Marcia had an extremely dysfunctional mother, but her Great Aunt Mabel moved in with them and made sure Marcia had a good life. I have been so blessed to have Aunt Olive, my darling mother-in-law Helen, and my dear friend Kathy Doty in my life as surrogate mothers.
For anyone who wants to condemn Marianne’s children for writing such a horrible obituary, please remember to not judge unless you have walked a mile in their shoes. I have not had the experiences of their family and so I do not judge their writing. They plan to sing “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” at the service they will hold at the end of the month. Now that’s funny!