An obituary for a 77 year-old woman placed in Nevada’s Reno Gazette-Journal yesterday http://www.rgj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2013130912005&nclick_check=1 went viral and has been capturing worldwide attention ever since although the obituary was pulled from the paper’s website after garnering criticism for its publishment. What could be so awful in an elderly mother’s obituary that would warrant its removal from the public eye? Apparently it was offensive and inappropriate for some readers although anyone whose survived extreme child abuse would likely approve and/or applaud (if not understand).
Katherine and Patrick Reddick didn’t whitewash or rose-color how they described their mother’s time spent on this earth by remembering her life in an idealized requiem; instead, they chose to tell it like it really was. The sentiment portrayed in the tribute to the deceased was far from a sweet and sentimentalized send-off; it felt more like a field goal kick that made it beautifully past the goal posts and over the crossbar. If that sounds like a particularly harsh comparison to say about someone’s passing, then you probably haven’t experienced life under an unrepentant abuser’s looming (and I’m seriously hoping that there are more folks out there who WON’T understand this over those folks who will!)
I was disappointed to learn that the obituary had been pulled down because I think it serves as a great precautionary tale for any and all abusers who are out there right now saying and doing things they shouldn’t to those they should be loving, respecting and treasuring the most – if you don’t want an obituary like this one written about you someday, then turn it around NOW while you still have the chance!
Not to sound hokey or preachy here but I emphasized the adjective unrepentant in the second paragraph because repentance is what it’s going to take for abusers to avoid getting an obituary like the one getting so much attention right now. It’ll be interesting to see if this “scathing obituary” becomes the first of many – and I hope it becomes just that – not because I’m bitter, am into revenge or because I hate abusers but because I sincerely hope obituaries like this one would become the impetus for change among those who abuse.
Death is something that abuse victims and survivors (have to) think about quite often considering their relationship or former relationship with their abusers; unfortunately if abusers are thinking about death, they’re probably not contemplating their own so this obituary uproar interjects something completely different into the issue, don’t you think?
And while we’re on the topic of death, abuse and the considerations of the afterlife, here’s something that REALLY freaked me out when I heard the advertisement for it: the biography channel's new series "Stalked by a Ghost" http://www.biography.com/tv/stalked-by-a-ghost. You know, before this show popped up, I thought death was one of the permanent ends to abuse – guess not… For myself personally I was like, “Oh HELL no! I am NOT putting up with that!” If abusers are going to be stalking us “from beyond” then there needs to be more training in Exorcism cause I am NOT having that after this!!!
Hopefully everyone who read the obituary read all the way through it getting past all the horrific things this woman did to her children because the real beauty of this piece penned by Katherine and Patrick on behalf of their surviving siblings concludes with the following:
Most of us have found peace in helping those who have been exposed to child abuse and hope this message of her final passing can revive our message that abusing children is unforgivable, shameless, and should not be tolerated in a ‘humane society’. Our greatest wish now, is to stimulate a national movement that mandates a purposeful and dedicated war against child abuse in the United States of America. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/reno-woman-obituary-scathing-time-article-1.1451473
I spent some time today trying to connect with Katherine and Patrick to let them know that such a national effort is already in-play with the Stop Abuse Campaign here http://stopabusecampaign.com/ so rather then reinvent the wheel, just make life easier and sign on! (For those of you who haven’t yet signed on to the Stop Abuse Campaign, please take a minute to do so – you DON’T need to be an abuse survivor to join – all you need is the desire to see an end to abuse in our lifetime.)
Life is truly too short and too precious to have any time dedicated to abusing, stalking and causing harm, especially to our most vulnerable so please, ABUSERS REPENT and truly love the one you’re with before it’s too late.