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Remembering Bad Times

“It’s Complicated”-Remembering Bad Times

Remembering bad times with someone who dies may feel uncomfortable.  Relationship status: “It’s Complicated”.  What if someone dies and you never really liked them. That may even be too simple of a statement because in life we often have complicated relationships with people. 

Relationships that may have been good at some point and turned bad. Or maybe it was just plain abusive but they were family. Facebook even has an option “it’s complicated” as a relationship status. 

Sugar Coated Send Off

When someone dies we often get presented with a sugar coated version of the person. I mean who wants to trash a dead person? Have you ever read an obituary or description of someone after they pass on. It is filled with glowing commentary of the amazing person they were and when you read it you think,”that was not my experience”. Or even might even come with a harsher response, (pardon my abbreviation) more like, “that’s BS”. 


“Remember the bad times” is not the topic of a typical obituary. When you write an obituary it is customary in addition to general information to write personal things about the deceased. Their hobbies and areas where they contributed to the world in a positive way. Their kind disposition and how they were loved by all. It often mentions how much they will be missed and all the loved ones they left behind. 

Remembering Bad Times 

It is rare that listed among the deceased qualities are things such as;  passive aggressive, smelled bad and chewed with their mouth open. Or even worse, verbally abusive, absent and mean. The reality is that we have complicated relationships and when those people die we may be confused about how to respond. When it is time to remember a deceased family member what if for you that means, “remembering the bad times”? Check out these honest obits.

We May Experience Someone Differently Than Others Do

It is important to acknowledge that even if others did have a positive experience with this person and you did not, your feelings are valid. It might actually be easier if everyone saw the abuse or dysfunction but even if they don’t, your feelings are valid. Your experience is yours and it makes sense to feel confusion about how to respond. Being respectful to family and friends and allowing them to remember the deceased person how they choose is important. It is also important that you give yourself freedom to be angry, hurt or confused. 


Having conflict in a relationship that can never be fixed could leave room for what feels like regret and unfinished business. Even though it is hard there is a path to forgiveness and reconciliation even if only for your own freedom. Forgiving someone who can not accept your forgiveness or whom you feel doesn’t deserve it is a real act of courage. Doing so may allow you to let go of the burden of the relationship and start to heal for yourself. Find support here.


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