They say not to speak ill of the dead, but a Michigan woman did so in writing a scathing obituary about her “violent, hateful, and cruel” mum.
Gayle Harvey Heckman accused her mum, Linda Lernal Harvey Cullum Smith Stull, who died on December 12, of condoning sexual assault against her, as well as lying about who her biological father was, the Sturgis Journal reported.
She revealed so many skeletons in the closet that the publisher removed the obit from the Three Rivers news site when readers complained about its shocking contents, according to The NY Post.
“Well, honestly, I wanted to write it for myself because I wanted to clear my name,” Heckman told the Journal on Thursday.
“For 24 years and before that, my mother has had to come up with a reason as to why her daughter isn’t in her life that doesn’t make her look like a monster. … I had to reclaim my name,” she told the outlet.
Heckman pulled no punches in the piece about her not-so-dearly departed mum.
“As a mother, Lernal was violent, hateful, and cruel. She physically, mentally, emotionally, verbally, and financially abused Gayle,” the print obit states, according to the outlet.
It also names one alleged abuser, an ex-husband of her mum’s whom the Journal did not identify.
“Lernal accused Gayle of ‘trying to steal her husband’ and proceeded to beat her senselessly,” the obit reportedly says.
“Gayle and her family forgive Lernal and hope that she has found peace,” it reads.
But the obit concludes, “Lernal will not be missed by Gayle or her family. They all understand the world is a much better place without her.”
Heckman said she found it cathartic to pen the vicious obit.
“I wasn’t trying to be hateful, I genuinely … don’t have any hate. I am angry,” she told the Journal. “I don’t understand if we don’t talk about this, how are we supposed to be break the cycle of trauma, especially generational trauma.”
Mike Wilcox, publisher of Wilcox Newspapers, said the obit ran in the print edition of Three Rivers on Dec. 15.
“It was submitted through our website, and was published without a good look on our part,” he wrote the Journal in an email.
“We took it down from (the) website after complaints about its content poured in. After taking (it) down, several (mostly the daughter) complaints and phone calls were received admonishing us for doing so,” Wilcox wrote.
Heckman said she was disappointed that he pulled the obit, adding that she and her husband only called the publisher twice.
She added that many people have reached out to her with their own stories of abuse.
“I’m 54 years old and the internet, piece by piece, people were leaving love,” the daughter told the outlet. “And I could feel my heart … the hole in my heart starting to fill.”
This article originally appeared in The NY Post and was reproduced with permission.