There are a few lessons to be learned from the tale of Kathleen Dehmlow. Principal among them is this: it may be wise to pen your own obituary.
Dehmlow, who died last month aged 80, has achieved a certain brand of internet notoriety thanks to a scathing obituary.
The short passage, submitted to Minnesota’s Redwood Falls Gazette, has gone viral for its savage assessment of her actions.
“In 1962 she became pregnant by her husband’s brother Lyle Dehmlow and moved to California,” it reads.
“She abandoned her children, Gina and Jay who were then raised by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Schunk.”
That’s when the ferocity comes out.
“She passed away on May 31, 2018 in Springfield and 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.”
Paragraph 1: ok
Paragraph 2: ok
Paragraph 3: wait
Paragraph 4: OH
Paragraph 5: *airplane flies overhead with a banner reading WELCOME TO HELL MOM* pic.twitter.com/ppV45htrda
— steelydan milosevic (@RandBallsStu) June 5, 2018
That savagery, and the global response to it, forced obituary-collating website Legacy.com to remove its public listing.
It has also prompted a response from a relative, who does not appear to harbour the same sentiments.
Speaking to the Star Tribune, Dwight Dehmlow – who did not clarify his relationship to Kathleen – said “she made a mistake 60 years ago, but who hasn’t?”
Dehmlow added she regretted her actions over the years, and said there is some important information was omitted from the obituary.
The obit joins a small collection of other brutal send-offs published in American papers, including a 2013 passage about Marianne Theresa Johnson-Reddick.
“We celebrate her passing from this earth and hope she lives in the after-life reliving each gesture of violence, cruelty, and shame that she delivered on her children,” that one said.