It's superstitiously considered bad form to speak ill of the dead. I say 'superstitiously' because people act like the dead will have their revenge. Maybe it is just that people think it makes the person who does speak ill of the dead look bad themselves. That is true only if by speaking ill they are lying. But when someone dares to speak the truth of the dead, and that truth reflects poorly on the dead, then it is the dead person's fault not the speaker's fault.
In case you've missed it there has been a bit of a bruhaha over the obituary for Dolores Aguilar. It first appeared in the Vallejo Times-Herald. It was yanked rather quickly by that paper but not before Aguilar's obit was picked up by the SFist.com, an online newspaper from Aguilar's home town, San Francisco. Then the rumors started to fly about how the obit was a hoax. Both SFist and a journalist from DailyBreeze.com did their research and were able to confirm the obit's authenticity.
The woman who wrote the obit was a daughter of Dolores Aguilar, one of eight children, Virginia Brown. She describes how growing up with her mother meant being "unfed, poorly clothed and completely terrorized". She hints at the divisions formed in the family. She admits her mother presented a respectable face to the world, but how: "She was a chameleon. She could make outsiders see her in any way that she wanted while behind closed doors she would beat at least one of us every day..." This is not the behavior of a mentally ill person. This is the behavior of an evil person. It takes awareness and calculation to only pick on your victims out of sight of the observance of those who would hold you accountable. This blog has dealt with this aspect of the malignant narcissist and how they know what they are doing is wrong and therefore are careful to hide what they do.
The daughter of Dolores Aguilar unwittingly describes a malignantly narcissistic mother. So I want to bring to your attention the obit that such an evil mother deserves. Virginia Brown, the brave daughter who flaunted convention, dared to speak the truth. I applaud her for it. I don't believe it makes her look small. She is bravely saying the truth and validating the experiences of all her family members. I think it is hugely significant that:
Brown wrote the piece alone but has yet to hear any disagreement from the family members who have seen it in the three days since it ran in her mother's hometown. Nor has the paper received any. (source)
I really think this is further proof of the rightness of Brown's honesty. She wasn't speaking ill of the dead. She was speaking the truth. That the truth is ugly is no ones fault but the dead Dolores Aguilar.
When I contemplate the further damage to the family of Dolores Aguilar a standard obit would inflict, I am able to recognize what a good and decent person Virginia Brown is. She did what was right by her living family by not buckling to what society believes is right by the dead.
Click here for the link to the obit when it was first picked up by SFist.
SFist ran their update here.
For the DailyBreeze.com article by John Bogert, click here.
Now, in order to help preserve this obituary for future readers of this blog I'm going to copy it below. I don't know how long before the links above go dead so I am trying to insure that the heart of this post is recorded for posterity. This is likely an obit that many of us could write for our own mothers.
An homage to the evil mother:
"Dolores Aguilar, born in 1929 in New Mexico, left us on Aug. 7, 2008. Dolores had no hobbies, made no contribution to society and rarely shared a kind word or deed in her life. I speak for the majority of her family when I say her presence will not be missed by many, very few tears will be shed and there will be no lamenting over her passing.
"Her family will remember Dolores and amongst ourselves we will remember her in our own way, which were mostly sad and troubling times throughout the years. We may have some fond memories of her and perhaps we will think of those times, too. But I truly believe at the end of the day all of us will really only miss what we never had, a good and kind mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. I hope she is finally at peace with herself. As for the rest of us left behind, I hope this is the beginning of a time of healing and learning to be a family again.
"There will be no service, no prayers and no closure for the family she spent a lifetime tearing apart. We cannot come together in the end to see to it that her grandchildren and great-grandchildren can say their goodbyes. So I say here for all of us, goodbye Mom."Considering the scope of abuse and damage that Dolores inflicted I find this obit remarkably restrained. Another testament to its honesty. It is a study in understatement while refusing to praise an evil woman. I hope that Virginia Brown and her siblings and extended family find the peace they have craved now that the family tyrant is gone. I admire Virginia's courage to speak the truth more than I can ably express. She has validated not just her own family's experience, but mine. God bless you, Virginia Brown and family. Who cares whether or not Dolores is resting in peace. It is her family that deserves rest and peace.