I encountered this viral obituary of a from a young woman in Nevada, who wrote her mother’s obituary from the heart:
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 afterlife 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.
I’ve always been one of those relatively superstitious atheists who, nonetheless, does not use ouija boards nor go about spitting on people’s graves. This obituary elicited a reaction from me, and I’m not sure why. This woman’s children certainly don’t owe it to her to keep her abuse a secret. And another victim of child abuse might see that and feel some ease–some relief–agains the relentless social pressures to “honor” parents and willful blindness that there are, in fact, terrible parents out there, and not ones that are terrible because they let their kids watch Disney movies or a cupcake now and then–but real-deal, torturing, shaming, belting, belittling monsters.
Still, do these haunted children owe this particular monster anything? Any acknowledgement that at least in some part of her life, she accomplished something, did something, good or worthy, even if she was horrible to them?
I’ve always thought there more to a person than the worst parts of them, and it is easier to forgive our own flaws and weaknesses if we are capable of forgiving others. Perhaps there was nothing better or finer about this woman. Perhaps we do not have a duty to try to see it–least of all, her victims.