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Silent Tongue

Talbot Roe

Velada McCree
Rio's Attic: Celebrating the Life and Times of a Dearly Missed River Phoenix

"A battery charger"

Was his family an advantage to River? I'm not naïve when I ask the question. I've read some of the criticisms made against his family after River's death. If I were the one to choose, I probably would have not chosen them as his parents! I know, the remark is stupid. But we also know the little ones are very conservative and want stability before anything else. Furthermore I'm quite reluctant about mystical people, especially when they have to raise children. If you've read articles or books about him, you already know where River's lack of education led to. When he was put in front of the other "normal" boys, River himself probably understood very early that he lacked a lot of things. I don't know if he resented his parents for it.

As he was quite bright, he surely questioned his parent's behaviour (as we all do with our own parents), not only the one they adopted for themselves but also for their own children. I would disagree for instance for the refuse of modern medicine or, more important, of a cure of River's dyslexia, if it happens to be true. I'm not so sure either about that energy spent for having all the children in front of cameras. My opinion is of no importance, but River's?

All that doesn't bring anything to my purpose here. But let's see his family from another point of view.

A family that was very interesting, River alive, became suddenly an object of criticism, River dead. Too easy.

River was 23. He was responsible for his own life. It doesn't help to accuse anybody else even if there were some good reasons. And it does not lessen the pain.

Would he have approved of that? Of course not.

Considering our own emotion such a long time after, can you imagine their own distress probably attached to a strong and maybe deserved feeling of guilt? Anyway, at their son's death, they behaved with dignity; they deserve respect for that, more respect than what they got.

Furthermore, it seems he chose to keep personal things hidden. Doing that is also a sign of maturity, a sign that you grow up. It starts with teenager little secrets and sometimes it goes as far as your life or your death. It's just like that.

Whatever River's family peculiarities, they were part of what River was. They raised him. They are responsible in a large part for the wonderful boy and young man he was. Because he received so much love from them. And we, the beholders, also received a little bit of that grace with and through him.

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