Oftentimes, obituaries are seen as a way to highlight the great qualities of a person and to list the reasons why they were loved by so many. In this case, it was a way for a child of a narcissist father who was “incapable of love” to heal.
Lawrence Pfaff Jr. (son of Lawrence H. Pfaff Sr.) submitted his obituary for his father to the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville, which was more unusual than normal. Pfaff Jr. took a different approach, writing exactly what he felt about his father.
He described the man as an “abusive alcoholic” whose death proved that “evil does eventually die.” In the obituary, Pfaff Jr. writes about how his father was “a father to many and a dad to none.” He went into further detail, explaining how his father was an abusive player that had multiple children with several different women.
Pfaff Jr. started writing the obituary before his father had even passed as a way to process his feelings. He had attempted a relationship with his dad when he was younger but had been estranged from him for around 30 years. His father did pass in June 2022 and he submitted the obituary to the Times-Union shortly after.
“He’s had 30 years since we’ve stopped talking to profess his truth. And so now it’s my turn to profess my truth,” Pfaff Jr. said.
Despite being a way for Pfaff Jr. to heal, there are normally editorial guidelines that must be followed for any publication. Gannett, the company that owns The Florida Times-Union, wrote the following statement: “We regrettably published an obituary that did not adhere to our guidelines and we are looking into the matter further. We regret any distress this may have caused.”