In Reply to: My open letter to current and former FGA's posted by John La Mattery Jr. on February 23, 2005 at 18:21:57:
i've been chewing on your post all day, wondering if and how to reply. but since you invite response, and frankly deserve a response, i figured it would be polite to at least give it a try.
first off, we cannot express enough to you our condolences over your recent losses. the premature death of such vibrant young people just beginning their lives is one of the most difficult things in life. we are so so sorry for your loss of abe and rick, and the many others. to have the tragedy compounded by the nature of the circumstances that provoked these losses makes things all the more complicated to process. we've dealt w/ some loss in our own lives, and we sincerely hope and pray that each of you will find a path to healing from the pain eventually. we do not pray for you to forget... that would be a greater tragedy still.
the way your generation rallied around each other in this has been admirable and impressive. your anger over the circumstances that led up to these events is completely understandable and justified, imo. even the fact that at times that anger can tend to scare off fg former members is to be expected. as you pointed out, we were adults, and we did fail our children.
i will also say, that i agree that it is very sad more of us haven't found a way to send help towards the memorial. after reading the status of the fund we sent a second contribution. ( i want to say for any fg readers, we got a very touching and kind respose from elixcia... quite unexpected given her ordeal..) I do not share that to pat myself on the back... but rather because when we suffered the loss of our 19 yr old daughter 7 years ago, it was the kind generosity of friends, and the loving support of many former family, fg and sg, that helped us thru. we know gifts at times like these come wrapped in love, and say more than just pay the bills. i do believe that the memorial is a very significant event,& pray that things come together soon.
i think we do owe you all not only an apology, and one w/o excuses, but also valdation and support in your struggles to find justice and healing. but i would encourage you to consider that each persons circumstances are different. agreed, our financial straits are often results of poor decisions we made, (tho not always.) and you are right to point out many in your generation are far more savvy in planning your financial futures. but still, it doesn't change the fact that many are faced w/ still large financial (and emotional) burdens, and still w/ young children. and many also have to take into consideration the welfare of their immediate household, (again, often w/ minor children),when it comes to taking public stands w/ legal names, as fg former members. would you want your child to go to school for example, and face "your mother was a whore" or "did your dad diddle you?"
how would that scenario be of benefit to anyone? even those who did not directly participate in the most heinous abuses would have their, and their minor children's,present lives ruined. i say this, not to make excuses. i seriously ask you to consider this.
it has been my experience over the last 14 years since leaving the family, that peoples understanding of what actually happened to them, and others changes over time, sometimes gradually, sometimes dramatically, (as it seems happened w/ your dad.) in dislogue, i think everyone is bound to come to a deeper grasp of their own, and others experiences. the "fog" often lifts as gradually as it descended in the first place.
as you invite dialogue, i think it would be really helpful if we (all those who have at least come to their senses enough to leave the family, whatever generation), and with a sense of seeking paths forward, towards justice and healing, try to find ways we all can help. you might need to point out to me when you feel i'm fudging. i might have gained an insight or two along the way that you might find helpful. clearly it was our (fg's) screw ups that contributed to this situation, and you guys were just born in the wrong place. but isn't the point to try and go forward, help as each can, and hopefully find ways to move things along in a positive direction?
john, it's tough to say anything here w/o coming off self justifying. i do not feel justified. we screwed up. and many were hurt. hopefully at least some of us can be of help now, considering our own situations and limitations.
thanks for listening. i look forward to your reply. respectfully, ray