The fruits of abuse

Almost everything I post here is designed to uplift, to interest, and to inspire. In general, I do my best to avoid the depressing, the shocking, or the bizarre. Today I make an exception, but only because there’s an important message behind the event.

The children of Marianne Theresa Johnson-Reddick published an obituary for their mother in the Reno Gazette-Journal. In contrast to this beautiful tribute, the one published in the RGJ was anything but kind. It has since been removed by the newspaper as they investigate the circumstances surrounding its publication, but here is the text in full:

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.

On behalf of her children whom she so abrasively exposed to her evil and violent life, we celebrate her passing from this earth and hope she lives in the after-life reliving each gesture of violence, cruelty, and shame that she delivered on her children. Her surviving children will now live the rest of their lives with the peace of knowing their nightmare finally has some form of closure.

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 unforgiveable, 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.

Let’s make a couple of things clear before we go on:

  1. This is the Internet, and hoaxes are as common as mosquitoes in Winnipeg.
  2. The accuracy of the facts surrounding this brutal obituary have not been independently confirmed, neither have they been refuted.
  3. The world is full of people as toxic and abusive as the alleged decedent; if you doubt me, just plug into the domestic violence feed, but be warned – it’s not for the faint of heart.

For the sake of argument, I’m going to assume that the events are accurate, that the woman in question was as horrific as stated, and that the family members are using this as a legitimate vehicle to obtain some measure of closure and healing. It is to their credit that instead of becoming monsters in their own right, they have done their best to turn the tide and mitigate the effects of child abuse, transforming their own agony into positive energy for the benefit of others.

Doubtless some will invoke de mortuis nil nisi bonum [1] and say that this obituary was heartless and spiteful. Without question, forgiveness is a healing balm; Azim Khamisa and Ples Felix have demonstrated this convincingly by turning tragedy into redemption for thousands of others. Mary Mullaney in the other obituary I referenced above used to say, “Never say mean things about anybody; they are “poor souls to pray for,” and Disney’s Thumper recited his father’s good advice: “if you can’t say somethin’ nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.” But no man knows another’s pain, and sometimes peace cannot be obtained without the opportunity to express things that have been long hidden, long suppressed.

Child abuse is much more common that we would like to think. In the context of some personal development work, I’ve heard stories that would curdle your blood, and shared a few of my own. It is only by getting these stories out, where they can be looked at, dealt with, and worked through, that sufferers of abuse can hope to burn that negative energy off and be able to move their lives forward. So, yes – it was an angry and hurt-filled obituary, and I can only hope that through its writing and publication, the children of this woman can find both release and closure. I wish them well.

The Old Wolf has spoken.


[1] “Of the dead say nothing but good.”

One response to “The fruits of abuse

  1. As you say, we cannot know what actually happened or what is in the hearts of others. There can be value in this kind of obit, even if all it does is make an abusive parent think twice before hitting or belittling his or her child again.

    My husband’s family of origin was abused by their father and maternal grandmother in ways that defy belief, which is probably one reason why a lot of people don’t believe it happened. The siblings who acknowledge it do not abuse their children. Those who do not—well, we have reason to believe that they did. One of my husband’s favorite authors, Andrew Vachss, wrote a book called “Choice of Evil.” The idea is that no matter how horrible your childhood was, you choose whether you perpetuate that evil.

    I admire the way you have gone beyond the circumstances of your childhood, though sometimes it baffles the heck out of me! 🙂 {{{{Chris}}}}

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