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Ricky's Memorial

from GoldenMic - Tuesday, March 29, 2005
accessed 2457 times

Discussion and reactions to the recent memorial and reception held in honor of Ricky Rodriguez and other fallen friends, in San Diego, Ca on 03/26/05.

OK, I am impatient and could not go another second without participating in a discussion related to the recent Memorial. For once, I promise that I will not tell you to kiss off if you chide me for my impudence, an outsider daring to bring up this very special and private event, and I hope that my efforts will not offend, but the only other thread discussing this is in the context of some specific triggers and reactions, and I just think that such an event deserves more.

First, I can only say that I was moved by this experience much more than I expected. I am often reserved during formal gatherings, but within moments of the service, the tears were streaming. I was simply blown away by the thoughtful and loving statements of the speakers, proudly proclaiming their love for Ricky, their sadness at his passing, and their determination that this beautiful goodbye should remain a testimony to love, not bitterness.

Am I the only person who was simply flabbergasted at the miracle of 200 ex-cult types that were actually able to gather, follow basic behavioral guidelines, and sustain an entire evening of open dialogue without a single episode of oppressive over-control or reactive rebellion? How did the people in charge manage that? They created and directed a powerful and relatively seamless series of activities, all without becoming bossy or whiney, and we all responded like intelligent adults who were there to honor a friend and his loved-one's. How did we do that? I was particularly struck by Don and Sara, actually taking on the duties of hosts and directors of a bunch of cult-scarred individuals, and never once using power tactics. Instead, they used authentic appreciation, kindness, and ready humor to provide a container that was both relaxing and conducive to each person's way of giving tribute to a fallen friend.

The relatives of Ricky were also heart-breakingly gracious. His wife, sister, best friends, and his Aunt and Uncle were all consistently open and generous, accepting condolences and telling stories, and just soaking in the love that was being demonstrated. Frankly, none of them knew me at all, yet each was unfailngly polite and responsive, refusing to become overwhelmed by their pain or become bitter from their loss, but instead committed to making this farewell as loving and beautiful as possible in rememberance.

In what must have gladdened Ricky's soul most deeply, this event was also as much a celebration as a goodbye, and there was lots of laughter and playfulness. Old memories were discussed in a mostly fond way, new aquaintances clearly and quickly connected, and it seemed that not a single participant refused to respond warmly when someone reached out to them. OK, I am an outsider, and I may have missed a few games being played, but you might be surprised at how many games I saw and knew about, and yet I still stand by my statement, and I saw no rudeness the entire night.

In all, however, this event was shocking and grand for its graceful inception and in the participants' willingness to truly join in the moment, this moment of love for a dear friend. Something very inspirational was spoken by this event, somehow confirming the strong survival and courage of these children of oppression, and their capacity to love and honor one of their own.

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from Jules
Thursday, April 07, 2005 - 20:07

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)
I wanted to write something on here to say thank you to the organisers of Ricky’s memorial. It was a very moving and poignant event and I was honoured to have been able to attend. It was obvious that a tremendous amount of work and thought went into the planning and organising and Don and Sarafina did an incredible job, as did the others who spoke and were involved in the organization of the memorial. You put your time, money and soul into this event and it was an incredible experience. The ability to take a deep pain and bring meaning and purpose to it is a quality I very much admire. Despite your personal loss and grief, you were able to reach out and to ensure that despite the darkness that swallowed Ricky’s life, there was more to cherish and remember than there was to forget. Thank you for what you did.

I never met Ricky and my contact with him was limited to the specifics of setting up a section on this web site at his request, yet this was about more than just him. From the brief contact I had with him and from his writings on this site, it was apparent how much he detested being the “poster child” for the rest of us. Yet his memorial and the tears that were shed were for me a chance to grieve for those of us, too many, that have fallen. It was a chance to come together and to openly mourn our loss and also to celebrate our life and freedom. I hope that somewhere, somehow, Ricky knows how much that means.

It was also wonderful to meet so many of the people here on this web site face to face. I am not a very sociable person (aka a programmer) and I was extremely nervous about attending such a large gathering of former members. Being there was a little overwhelming. It certainly helped though to see that many other people were also a bit apprehensive at first also and we were all in the same boat. The people I spoke to were warm and kind and it helped a great deal to put me at ease. Thank you all for that as well.

Unfortunately I am not as young as I used to be and due to my red eye flight and the time zone difference I could not stay as long as I would have liked and did not get a chance to meet or talk to everyone I wanted to. I heard afterwards that people like Jerseygirl and CDK attended and I was very disappointed I didn’t get to meet you.

For me this was a very emotionally intense event and from my experience, afterwards one tends to “crash” a bit. I spent some time crying afterwards and perhaps accessing the grief and loss and pain that, due to all my safeguards, is sometimes difficult to truly feel. When you have so many walls built up though that at times it seems numb, being able to experience true emotion, even when it is very painful, is a cherished thing. Thank you also for that.
(reply to this comment)
from neez
Friday, April 01, 2005 - 16:18


Wish I could've been there.
(reply to this comment)

from RCD
Wednesday, March 30, 2005 - 10:55


What an incredibly moving event, it was truly remarkable. The releasing of the doves was so beautiful and powerful, dignified and moving. Thanks so much to Sara, Elixcia and Don and everyone else for making the event happen and organizing it so well, to everyone who came I doubt they will ever forget such a beautiful and perfect day for sending Rick off. RIP brother, we love you.
(reply to this comment)

from Phoenixkidd
Wednesday, March 30, 2005 - 09:05


The memorial was truly a very moving and memoriable experience. I, and many others I would think were very aprehensive at first at the idea of seeing people that would bring back a flood of memories of the cult and the hardships we endured together. However, after about an hour I relaxed and understood that everyone was under the same state and shared a common unity; we are all in the same boat just struggling to cope with our own past lives and bearing the hardship of having a close friends, such as Ricky take his own life.

I want to thank Elixcia, Sarafina, John, Jules and others for making all of us ex-culties, come together for a wonderful time like this. Being in the preperation and event planning industry for some time, I realized how much detail and effort was made into the planning of this memorial. It was truly a once-only-in-a-lifetime event. Thanks for making it happen.
(reply to this comment)

From Shaka
Wednesday, March 30, 2005, 09:19

Thanks Phoenix, it was good to see you and all the others there. I want to give a special thanks to Jen (not an ex-cultie), a friend of ours, for handling all the catering. It couldn't have turned out the way it did without her.(reply to this comment
From tuneman7
Wednesday, March 30, 2005, 12:11

I strongly agree.

Jen, a friend of Sarafina's who has never been in the group helped tremendously in the planning process, and getting all the catering together. We could not have done it without her. Basically she completely saved our rear ends.

Thank you Jen, for showing solidarity, love and affection. Sarafina couldn't have a better friend.

Tuneman7 new(reply to this comment
from tuneman7
Tuesday, March 29, 2005 - 22:41

Here are some pictures of the memorial and the bonfire.

I've ofuscated everyone's faces through the blur, but I have other pictures which are crystal clear which I can give to the persons in the images. But for these images faces are ofuscated for those who don't want to be identified.

If you think you're in one of these images and would like some of your own, let me know and I'll be sure to get you copies of your images.

Also if you have any images with me in them, please drop me a line with those images so that I can have my memory of this event. Thanks!


Link to the pictures:
(reply to this comment)
From sarafina
Friday, April 01, 2005, 17:36

Great pictures of the Memorial, Thanks. Maybe we can post them in a separate article Named "Ricky's Memorial pics" So that it will be easier to find them. You are awesome! This Memorial wouldn;t have been possible without you. (reply to this comment
From Joe H
Wednesday, March 30, 2005, 14:03

Don, I don't know if you've seen The Ring, but I saw a well-dressed guy with great hair in one of those photos and now I'm wondering if I'm going to be dead within the week. Thanks a lot! (reply to this comment
From tuneman7
Friday, April 01, 2005, 16:01


Yeah, you die in a week with videotape. No one really knows what happens to people who appear in pictures on the Internet, so we're using ourselves and guinea pigs. I suspect that after seeing the pictures on the internet the person beings to age quicky, and probably is dead by or before age 100.

(reply to this comment

From Lance
Wednesday, March 30, 2005, 02:40

The word you're trying to use is Obfuscate. But you're close enough.(reply to this comment
From tuneman7
Wednesday, March 30, 2005, 12:10

Thanks for keeping me honest.(reply to this comment
from ginger52
Tuesday, March 29, 2005 - 20:05

I was just wondering for all of us were not able to make it to the memorial is there any video taken on the memorial service?
(reply to this comment)
From tuneman7
Tuesday, March 29, 2005, 22:45


All the filming crews that were there have agreed to give us all of the raw footage, which we imaging include most of the eulogies, speeches and songs.

We're going to digitize that, we're also going to try to make PDF versions of the little memorial book that Elixcia and Leah made, they were absolutely beautiful, and you can see them hightlighted in the Channel 8 News coverage.

I'm expecting that we'll be able to digitize most of the video next-weekend and make it available online. Let me know if you have further questions.

(reply to this comment
From roughneck
Wednesday, March 30, 2005, 09:42

tuneman7: if you're the one digitising the content could I put in an early feature request that any videos use a format (ie, not RealMedia or WMV and especially not either of the above's streaming video! =) that is easily available to people outside the MS-Windows world? Pretty Please? :D

I ask 'cause I *still* haven't seen the Ricky video due to some as yet unresolved issues with RealPlayer10, and it won't play at all with either Xine or Mplayer. (Both of which, I should add, *usually* work fine for .rm and .wmv :)

Thanks so much in advance! :)(reply to this comment
from Jim LaMattery
Tuesday, March 29, 2005 - 20:02

The streaming video should say it all:
(reply to this comment)
From Joe H
Tuesday, March 29, 2005, 20:34

I thought you weren't going to post here anymore. ;)(reply to this comment
from Craven de Kere
Tuesday, March 29, 2005 - 19:47


"I was particularly struck by Don and Sara, actually taking on the duties of hosts and directors of a bunch of cult-scarred individuals, and never once using power tactics. "

While I appreciate Don and Sara's work toward this event your perception of the attendees involves more psychological projection than reality.

Nevertheless, let me say that it was a pleasure to meet you there.

Don't form your opinions of ex-members by the more prominent personalities you run into on this site lest your perception of the more silent majority be coloured by this perspective.
(reply to this comment)

From GoldenMic
Tuesday, March 29, 2005, 21:32

I hear you, and I respect your thinking, but my thoughts about the reactivity and scarring of the children of cults not actually based on the comments here or my experience at the memorial, but rather is the result of an intense investigation and years of research in the field of cultic studies. However, I take your point that any evidence derived from this site or from the memorial itself would not necessarily reflect the level and intensity of the scars we cult survivors bear, and that is sage advise. Thanks for the feedback.(reply to this comment
From tuneman7
Tuesday, March 29, 2005, 22:49

You're both right. No cattle hearding was tried, nor was it necessary.

Everyone came respectfully in the spirit of friendship, love, and remeberence. It was wonderful.

The gentleman of the silent masses, was actually the key person who got so many of the attendees to and from the airport as well as around the resort. Thanks my friend.

Take it easy!

(reply to this comment
From Craven de Kere
Tuesday, March 29, 2005, 22:33


I agree that cults can scar, I am just wary of the notion that it would have been likely to manifest itself in the form of untoward behavior at the event and don't think there was much cat-herding done at all.

Anywho, my best and all that Jazz. I must work now.(reply to this comment

From GoldenMic
Wednesday, March 30, 2005, 10:53

I hear you loud and clear. Sometimes at the conferences and workshops of the International Cultic Studies Association, some blow-hard starts making generalizations about cult survivors and I start getting disgusted and mad. Frankly, even when they are right, I don't like being clumped together like so many rats in a cage. Also, you are completely right that no controlling was necessary, a tribute to the hard work and excellent preparation of the people who put so much into this event, but also an indication of the decency and maturity of all the attendees. Frankly, I was also basing some of my amazement on a skewed comparison, since I have been to about 20 gatherings of cult survivors, but those were almost all workshops where significant psychological work was being done, and the attendees at those events were necessarily in a much different state of mind.(reply to this comment
from Haunted
Tuesday, March 29, 2005 - 19:01


I wish I could have been there! I know first hand the kind of strength and work it takes to set up memorial, but never at this level (size-wise)! I'm so anxious to see the video as soon as you finish it. Thank you Sarafina, Elixia and Don for all your hard work setting up a memorial not only to Ricky, but to all we've been through together.

Your friend, Joni
(reply to this comment)

From tuneman7
Wednesday, March 30, 2005, 14:11


The books and everything that you helped put together was just wonderful.

If you helped with the program. You should view the video and how beautifully those were put together. I didn't imagine all the materials would be as beautiful and professional as they were.

Be well my friend. (reply to this comment
From KateCoe
Wednesday, March 30, 2005, 19:37

I was so moved to meet so many people that I only knew from email. I'm writng my script for FOX's A Current Affair right now, and I think it will air in May. I'll post again when I know the real date. Thnaks you for everyone who spoke with me--on and off camera. I will get a copy of my tapes to Don after my piece airs. Thanks again to all of you for being so generous with your time, stories and affection.(reply to this comment
From tuneman7
Saturday, April 02, 2005, 08:30


I've only received positive feedback about your involvement in the memorial. Thank you for being such a wonderful guest and treating all of my friends, family and fellow mourners with respect and kind affection.

Don(reply to this comment
From Nancy
Friday, April 01, 2005, 20:12


Thank you, Kate, for your time and professionalism. We appreciate you being willing to tell our story. Thank you for listening.

Caryn(reply to this comment

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