Many people were shocked when they opened the obituary section of the newspaper to find a less-than-glowing piece written for a mother in Nevada. Marianne Theresa Johnson-Reddick’s children did not hold back.
The obituary starts off by saying that 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,” it continues. “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.”
Her two children who wrote the scathing obituary – Patrick and Katherine Reddick – say their intention was to “shame” their mother and try to make sure no other children are ever treated like they were.
According to Patrick, he and his siblings were admitted to an orphanage in Carson City, Nevada, in the 1960s, but would have to spend time with their mother on the weekends because of a Nevada law that said parents’ rights were more important than their children’s.
While they were home their mother would line the children up and beat them with a steel-tipped belt. She also forced the kids to sleep on the floor while she ran a prostitution ring out of her house.
“She thrashed the maternal instinct out of her children and replaced it with the hate she had for us,” Patrick said.
When Patrick got word that his mother was dying of bladder cancer he reluctantly went to the hospital to make sure they had the right person, but he wore a disguise so she wouldn’t know it was him.
After she died it was like a huge weight had been lifted. He says he has no regrets about what he wrote in the obituary.
“We wanted people doing this to their kids to ask themselves: “Do you want this to be your legacy? Do you want this to be your obituary?”’ he said about their intentions when they wrote the piece.
“On behalf of her children whom she so abrasively exposed to her evil and violent life,” the obituary continued, “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.”
In the midst of all this evil, though, some good has come out of it. Patrick said that most of his siblings “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 unforgivable, shameless, and should not be tolerated in a ‘humane society.'”
In the 1980s the siblings worked with then-state senator Sue Wagner to change the law that had forced them to keep seeing their abusive mother. That went through in 1987.
Their goal now is to “stimulate a national movement that mandates a purposeful and dedicated war against child abuse in the United States of America.”
Their hope is that “nobody else will have to go through what we did.”
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