It's never OK to dance on someone's grave

YOU might well want to dance on someone's grave.

But if so, just do it in private.

There are some people who will have afflicted pain, harm and unspeakable cruelty on others. This is a fact. When they pass away, it's tempting to celebrate, or do like two American siblings and post a scathing death notice.

But the truth is, while it might make you feel better initially, it won't heal you long-term.

This week a brutal death notice went viral around the world, after the adult children of Kathleen Dehmlow, 80, wrote in the Redwood Falls Gazette, Minnesota, that their mother "will not be missed".

Kathleen "became pregnant by her husband's brother… and moved to California. She abandoned her children, Gina and Jay who were then raised by her parents," the newspaper notice read.

"She … will now face judgment. She will not be missed by Gina and Jay and they understand that this world is a better place without her."

Son Jay Dehmalo, 58, (who changed his name) later explained, "We wanted to finally get the last word."

That he did, but, Jay, it's not the final chapter - for you won't really be able to move on until you forgive her, of sorts. Not for what she did, but for who she was. Only then can you be free.


Last year another American family took revenge by describing the passing of their 75-year-old father Leslie Ray "Popeye" Charping as a relief, saying he lived longer than he deserved. "Leslie's hobbies included being abusive to his family, expediting trips to heaven for the beloved family pets and fishing, which he was less skilled with than the previously mentioned. Leslie's life served no other obvious purpose, he did not contribute to society or serve his community," his daughter wrote on the Texas funeral home's website.

"No services will be held, there will be no prayers for eternal peace and no apologizes (sic) to the family he tortured. Leslie's passing proves that evil does in fact die and hopefully marks a time of healing and safety for all."

Grieving the death of a toxic parent is difficult, but bereavement experts agree you need to let the anger go.

"Forgiveness isn't saying that the estranged child 'accepts' or 'approves' what happened," advises the American Academy of Bereavement. "Forgiveness is the acknowledgment that what happened, happened, and that they are now ready to let go of the baggage.

"It's bad enough that they were mistreated and/or harmed but remaining stuck in the destructive mental repetition can prevent them from moving forward," they say.

I know how these families feel - when my grandmother passed away, nobody mourned. She had been a cruel woman in her lifetime, but we let her take her bitterness with her to the next world. So that the vicar didn't eulogise a woman he didn't, couldn't, know, we gave him some paragraphs to say instead. In them we told the story of her life with dignity, even if the truth was in the words that were not said.

And then we celebrated her greatest achievement - her daughter - who became in turn our beautiful, kind, loving mother and grandmother of nine.

The rest of it she could keep, we didn't need it.

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