Disavowing daughter in her father’s obituary an act of cruelty

While this blog always showcases my personal perspective on things, this is particularly personal for me. I love my family, and it burns me up when someone tries to hurt a member of my family. This time, someone took a swipe at my 15-year-old niece, Reese, and it was about the cruelest thing imaginable.

She lost her father, Jason, recently. It wasn’t completely unexpected, considering the life he led. He was a drug addict, had a drinking problem, became HIV-positive a few years ago, and his interest in being a father was subpar, despite the effort in Reese’s early years to try and wrest custody of her from my sister.

It’s bad enough for a child to think one of her parents doesn’t love or want her, but to lose said parent at such a young age is especially rough. I thought that, even though she’s in mourning, at least Reese would get some sense of peace knowing that the nightmare is over.

Then I woke up this morning to an unpleasant message from my sister. Apparently Jason’s obituary had been published in The Daily Courier in Prescott and the Kingman Daily Miner. You can read the full obituary here, but here’s who was listed as the survivors:

“Jason is survived by his parents, Frank and Rose Alexander of Kingman; a sister, Kathryn of Portland, Ore.; a brother, Eric and wife Colene of Kingman; a sister, Karri of Tucson; and his brother Keith and wife Rebecca of Warrenton, Mo. He also leaves his maternal grandmother, Frances Russell and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, and nieces.”

If you read through that list, you notice that his children are conspicuously absent. Yes, I said children, considering he had two. Reese recently met and spent time with her older brother, who is living in Missouri and far away from the hatred and scorn from his father’s family. I’d say he was the lucky one in that he didn’t have to deal with the family crap. Reese did, and you would think that would warrant the acknowledgement of her existence and lineage to the deceased.

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Here is my niece, Reese, during happier times. (Photo courtesy Reese Alexander)

This was not an accidental omission. According to the version in The Daily Courier, information was provided by survivors. Apparently, the survivors that provided the obituary to the newspaper want the world to believe he had no children. I know that’s a load of crap, and so do they. It’s a cruel omission, not only to the memory of a son they supposedly loved, but to the granddaughter they fought so hard to keep in touch with.

Grandparents are supposed to be fonts of wisdom and spend the occasional afternoon baking cookies with their grandchildren. Any grandparent who would be so manipulative and spiteful as to leave a young girl’s name out of her father’s obituary should be ashamed, although I know from experience that emotion is impossible for these people to feel. All I can say is there’s a special place in Hell for people like this.

Thankfully, Reese is a strong, independent and intelligent young lady. She’ll weather this slight, and she’ll be a better person in spite of the negative experience. It’s a hard lesson to learn, but at least she’ll know that karma gets everybody in the end.

Karma might hit sooner than anyone thinks. Reese turns 16 just before Christmas, and she’s learning to drive. If I were her grandparents, staying off the streets would be smart.

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