Although most obituaries focus on the loved ones, one Florida newspaper published a harsh one over the weekend. It described the deceased as "dad to none" and said that his death "proves evil does eventually die."
Lawrence H. Pfaff Sr. (81), of Belmont, New York died June 27. According to Saturday's obituary in The Florida Times-Union, he lived "a long and full life. He deserved it more than he got."
Lawrence Pfaff Jr. said that writing the obituary was a healing process from childhood trauma.
In his obituary, he described his father as "a ladies' men" and "abusive alcohol." He also said that his father "solidified his commitment to both of them with the path towards destruction he left behind, damaging and leaving his adult children broken."
Pfaff Sr. survived by five children but according to the obituary could have had more.
The piece stated that Lawrence Sr.'s love was great for himself but was very limited for his children. It will be difficult to miss Lawrence Sr., as he was narcissistic. He was not capable of loving."
According to the article, Pfaff Sr. worked for more than 20 years in New York Police Department. In his personal life, Pfaff Sr. claimed to have been clean and sober for more than thirty years. However, he never took any of the 12 steps, even the eighth or ninth with his children. He made amends," the obituary stated, citing Alcoholics Anonymous' 12-step program.
The death notice said that his passing "marks the beginning of healing which will allow his children to find the closure they need."
The obituary said that Lawrence, Sr. will be remembered as a father to many and a dad of none.
Pfaff stated that he began writing the obituary one year before his father's death.
He said, "It was a hard process that I came up to about a year back when I reached the point that I needed some of the stuff."
Pfaff stated that despite not being in contact with his father for 30 years, he still needed to be close to him.
He began to write. He did some research on obituaries, and found many that were funny and sarcastic.
"I began to rewrite my words so that I could communicate this without blaming him. Simply stating the truth was all that I needed. He said, "Get my truth out."
He was expecting to be criticized for his harsh words but was surprised to find online comments thanking him for being honest and many others sharing his feelings.
He said, "I am utterly stunned, and I have to admit that I was ready for blowback." "I received a call from St. Augustine woman who thanked me for posting the information because it helped her bring more healing into her life."
He explained, "I had no idea what it would have. It was really a healing proces for me. This was my way of closing that chapter and moving on."
Pfaff stated that he didn't intend for the obituary getting so much attention. "But if it helps anyone, then more power."
"If we can show someone else that it's okay for you to speak up and tell the truth, then there is nothing wrong."
Gannett, who owns The Florida Times-Union said that the post was not in line with editorial guidelines.
"We are investigating the matter and regrettably, we published an obituary which did not follow our guidelines. Gannett spokeswoman said that the company regrets any distress caused by this.