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How should you deal with a tormentor's death?

It may seem tempting to attend the funeral of someone who brought nothing but pain, frustration and despair to your life, so that you have the opportunity to say exactly how you felt about the person and let everyone know about it before saying a final goodbye to that person. While it is certainly not unheard of for people to do this, penning a harsh obituary is out of the ordinary.

In a report by the, the Reno Gazette-Journal published the obituary of a 78-year-old woman who recently passed away. It was written by her daughter, and was not the common fond remembrance and well wishes typically found in an obituary. 

Instead, it was a stinging rebuke of a parent who had subjected her children to a childhood of abuse and neglect. She was described as a parent who “spent her lifetime” torturing her children, neglecting them, as well as stalking and torturing anyone who cared to love them. The obituary also went on to say that the children celebrated her passing and hoped that she lived in the afterlife by “reliving each gesture of violence, cruelty and shame that she delivered on her children.”

We find this story interesting because family conflicts can find themselves played out in wills and other estate planning documents. While it is a person’s personal choice of whom to include (or exclude) from a will, or how they wish to address people through their last statements (through a letter, for example) it is important to consider the long-term effects these choices could have on other family members going forward. 

Source:, “Daughter’s brutally honest obit for her mom goes viral,” Audra Schroeder, September 13, 2013

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