I am sitting here, several hours past my bed time, waiting for my Ativan to kick in so my heart will stop pounding and I can go to sleep. All because I became enraged over a social media post.
One of the pages I follow on Facebook posted this story: Mom Dies In Hospital, Then Son Writes Obituary Saying He’s Glad She’s Dead.
I was immediately drawn to it, as the headline sounded just like something I would write for my own mother’s obituary. I thought about what it would be like for me when my mother dies, if I am fortunate enough to outlive her. A friend once asked me if I would go to my mother’s funeral. I told him I would. Not to pay my respects, but to see for myself that she is dead. I wanted the same for my father, but to see him would have meant seeing my (very much alive) mother, and I couldn’t risk that.
Even though I have thought about my mother’s death, I never once thought about what I would write in her obituary. My father’s obituary was lacking. I guess it was better to not say much at all than to say the truth of who he really was.There was no emotion behind it. Just his demographic information. I thought about how I would write it, but stopped myself because I had (and still do) an unresolved compulsion to protect my father. Even so, my father knew he was an asshole. He admitted it.
But my mother, that’s a different story. I feel no need to protect her. She has already done a magnificent job of protecting herself her whole life, at the expense of everyone else. It doesn’t matter what truth I or anyone speaks, she will always turn it back and away from her true self. But she can’t do that when she’s dead.
As morbid as it sounds, I feel like writing obituaries for both of them. For their symbolic death, if anything. Let me write their eulogies, too. They won’t be filled with fluff and niceties. They would be filled with the truth and emotion.
Anyway, after reading this article, I felt an immense sense of respect for the son. To come out with such honesty and raw emotion had to have taken a lot of courage. I commented on the post as such.
Then I made the mistake of reading the other comments. Quite a few of them echoed similar sentiments that I had. Then I came across this:
Why wait until she’s deceased to come forward. Should have been done that. Whatever if she did do that then God made her suffer before her passing. It breaks my heart to see people come out like this in the end.
Why wait until she’s deceased to come forward? Because the fear is gone. She is dead. She can no longer hurt anyone. So many people severely abused by a parent continue to live in fear until the day that parent dies. That’s why.
Should have been done that? Maybe they did. Maybe no one listened. Are victims only limited to speaking out once? Is it a case of you’ve had your say, now let it go? We don’t have that option. We live with that shit for the rest of our lives. Or maybe the mother denied everything just like so many abusers do. I don’t see any abusive mothers coming out of the woodwork admitting they are abusers.
If she did do that? REALLY? We are doubting the victim now?. You just proved my earlier point of no one listening. People don’t want to come forward because the victims are the ones scrutinized instead of the abusers. Especially when a mother is involved, because God forbid a mother abuses her child, no, that NEVER happens.
I won’t even get into the rest of that comment right now. This person’s continual comments only added to my rage. Focus on healing their families and not on making the parent look bad. Don’t keep the heartache going around. How do you get to feel better about yourself for something you should have done long time ago. If you would have been said something you wouldn’t have had to wait til mom is deceased to start feeling better. To put in the obituary like that. Nobody probably believes them now anyway. Some should have seen signs. It’s always one person you can talk to. There are signs and there are people to tell.
I responded to some of her comments, but nothing was getting through to her. I told her it had nothing to do with feeling better about oneself. Abused children and adults have a hard enough time feeling good about anything. It wasn’t about making the parent look bad. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. No one should sit there and call that duck an elephant. This was about sharing the truth.
I managed to maintain my composure online, as I like to conduct myself with respect even when I disagree, and fight back knowledge instead of emotion. But on the inside, I was burning. Once she said if you had just said something, I completely lost it. I sat at my computer, yelling at my screen. I was angry.
If I had just said something? You think I didn’t want to say anything? There’s always people to tell? WHERE WERE THEY? No one was listening to me. No one was seeing the signs. Where were these magical, abuse-stopping folks I should have told. Because of course it’s the child’s fault for not saying anything. Let’s not shift any blame to the people who are actually doing the abusing (and the neglecting, for those in power that stood silent). Nope. It must be my fault. Even though I was just a child forced into silence in order to save my life. And now you want to force me and others into silence in our adulthood? Get the fuck out of here.
I got myself so worked up that I could barely breathe. This person was a stranger, but her words affected me so much. And for once, I didn’t turn any of that anger inward. I was angry at this woman. I was angry at every adult that chose silence over honesty. I wasn’t angry at me.
I realized, in that moment of rage, that this was just what I needed. Without thinking, I had admitted out loud (to myself) that I was just a child. I admitted that I couldn’t have said anything. I just spent a week suppressing my anger against others because I wanted to believe that my own silence was my fault. I allowed myself to do that. What I couldn’t allow was someone else faulting me for it.
It was through my need to defend the countless other children who couldn’t speak out, that I finally realized the truth within myself. I was not to blame. No child is to blame.
I get it now.