Monday, April 6, 2009

Relics: An Alternative Obituary

Harold J. Crompton died at five a.m. on Friday, April 3rd. His obituary says he is survived by his wife, Lorraine, and their children and grandchildren. What the announcement does not say is that Harold had another family. Before his second marriage thirty-eight years ago, he had eight children with his first wife. Those children, Sandy, Kathy, Mike, Gail, Bonnie, Brenda, John and Pam have twenty-six children of their own, and three grandchildren. They never harmed Harold or his new family in any way, but for some reason, Harold and Lorraine hurt this first family over and over again.

Through physical violence, overlooked birthdays and Christmases, lack of child support, missed weekend visits, and his prolonged and permanent absence from their lives, these children survived. They each grew into intelligent, compassionate, and productive adults, no thanks to their father.

Now Harold is gone. The chapter is finished. And although Lorraine spoke to Sandy on more than one occasion in these recent weeks, she didn’t think to include Harold’s first children in his obituary. When approached by his son, John, Lorraine coldly and cruelly refused to allow a corrected obituary to be printed–even when John made it clear that he and his siblings would finance the new announcement.

And there it is, a fitting finale. One last blow for eight human beings who did nothing to this woman but exist. We do exist Lorraine, no matter how you try to forget. Shame on you.

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