Christmas Letter to Coral Anika Theill's 8 Children from Donna Buiso
To Coral’s children,
My name is Donna Buiso and I am the Author of NOTHING BUT MY VOICE.
I am also a mother grieving the loss of live children.
I am also a grandmother grieving the loss of live grandchildren.
I was sentenced to a life sentence by Family Court almost 20 years ago. I have been erased, I have been shunned, I have been libeled and I have been financially annihilated. My crime? Unknown.
The worst thing that was ever said about me was that I was “mentally ill”. It was a diagnosis given to me by no one but my abuser. No professional ever substantiated it but many refuted it in the many letters written to the court.
My abuser is a disturbed individual. What is even more disturbing is the courts that are supposed to uphold the law and protect the innocent and in fact, often do the opposite. No one can give me back all the birthdays, holidays and milestones that I should have had with my family. There are no reparations. My children and grandchildren have also lost greatly. My children lost a mother who loves them dearly and wanted nothing more than to protect them, encourage them and be there for them. My grandchildren lost having a grandmother who would have doted on them and been one of their fiercest allies.
Who has won in all of this? My abuser certainly feels victorious. He was able to murder me as a mother and not have to lay a hand on me. The courts are able to continue their misogyny and their corruption to greed and power.
I am in my late sixties with 70 on the horizon. I will most certainly die of a broken heart but in that broken heart I have made peace with myself. Through all of these years no one has been able to stop me from loving, from honoring my truth, or from speaking my voice.
I pray for every parent who has ever suffered separation from their child and for every poor child who was forced to not be able to receive the protective love of their mothers.
Abuse needs to be called out in both the people who abuse and the systems who abuse. I believe it’s putting a purpose to the pain and is probably the reason I am still alive to talk about it.
I will go to my grave speaking out. I may never see change in my lifetime either personally or nationally but it will not stop me. Our voices matter.
This letter was read for me at a Conference for Alienated Mothers. It’s my story but it’s also the story of so many, many others; among them, your mother, Coral Anika Theill, AKA, Kathy Warner.
In the many years that I have lived this nightmare it never ceases to amaze me that so many of the women targeted are the most loving, kindest and smartest people that I’ve met in my long life. Certainly, your mother stands out as one of the strongest examples.
Coral is loving. Coral is kind. Coral is incredibly strong and brave. Coral is also one of the smartest people I’ve ever known. Rather than be brought down by the pain in her life, she has committed to living her life in truth and valiancy. She is one of the most remarkable people I have ever known and I am so proud to have become her friend.
I’m not writing this to try and convince you of anything or to try to make you feel guilty. I’m writing because I feel you need to hear how others view your mother. I’m also writing because I feel sorrow for what you’ve missed as well as what she’s missed. Things aren’t always as they seem. We can grow up with certain beliefs but sometimes challenging our beliefs, as painful as that can be, can lead to an amazing inner peace. I know this from experience.
Your mother did not ask me to write this; nor would she ever. I’m doing it of my own accord. We are moving into the last parts of our lives and words need to be spoken. It’s all we have left.
If there is any good that has come of our situations, it is that we have found each other as well as other like- minded souls. One of my dear friends, who is also an estranged mother, refers to certain people as lighthouses along our journey. Your mom has not only been a lighthouse for me but for so many others as she continues to speak truth to power even when it is dangerous to do so
This is what I told my children in a letter. “You can deny me with your words and with your actions, but you can never deny that I live within each of you. I am a part of you and you of me until the day we die. The invisible umbilical cord can never be broken. I live inside of you.”
I pray that if nothing else you give this letter some thought. It is never too late to change our paradigm.
Donna Buiso, Author, "NOTHING BUT MY VOICE"
Coral Anika Theill, Christmas at Quantico Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Virginia
Coral Anika Theill
Author, Advocate & Military Reporter Contributing Writer for Leatherneck Magazine,
Photo was titled "Family of the Year" My 8 children with their father (my ex-husband) at my daughter, Hannah (Warner) Hart's Wedding in 2013, Independence, Oregon