In a daring departure from tradition, a Sudbury woman, Amanda Denis, penned a brutally honest obituary about her father, Stefan Harold Kandulski, characterizing him as a “narcissistic and abusive” parent, challenging the norm of glossing over the faults of the deceased.
The Realtor from Sudbury, Ontario, shocked many when she began the obituary with the line: “I am pleased to announce the passing of Harold Stefan Kandulski at the age of 74.” The candor of her words paints a grim picture of Kandulski, described as “total darkness” by Denis.
In a candid interview with CBC News, Amanda Denis stated, “The man was just total darkness. But the truth needs to come out regardless of what it looks like. Sometimes it doesn’t look very nice to some people and I wasn’t writing it for them. I was writing it for the people who could relate and who could understand where I was coming from.”
This unvarnished approach has resonated with many. The obituary, initially rejected by a local funeral home due to its raw content, was briefly posted on the site castanet.ca before being removed. However, Denis shared a screenshot of the obituary on TikTok, garnering immense attention, with a majority of responses being supportive.
“A lot of it is people relating and saying, ‘I have parents like this… And thank you for doing this because now I’m going to either follow suit or take some version of this and make it my own,” Denis said.
Backing up her sentiments, Ed Kandulski, the brother of the deceased, from his home in Okanagan Falls, B.C., voiced his support, saying, “It was the absolute truth. My brother was a piece of crap.”
Denis further elaborated on her feelings in an interview with CTV, emphasizing her straightforward nature. “I’ve never been one to mince words, I’ve always been an honest straight-shooter,” she remarked. She recounted a history of emotional and physical abuse from her father, leading her to cut ties with him later in life.
The controversial obituary and Denis’s subsequent TikTok videos highlight a significant question posed by many: Do we owe it to the dead to only speak well of them, or should we present a complete and honest portrayal?
A recent headline raised this very query: “Do we have to be nice to the dead? And what do they owe us?” This reflects an evolving conversation about how we narrate the lives of those passed on, juxtaposing the age-old adage of not speaking ill of the dead against the push for authenticity and truth.
As a parting note, in her father’s obituary, Denis acknowledged the staff at Penticton Regional Hospital and Sunshine Ridge Seniors Community for their patience with her father and emphasized the importance of kindness, urging readers to be kind to one another in lieu of flowers or donations.
In a world increasingly focused on authenticity, this bold move by Amanda Denis may be a precursor to a larger conversation about how we remember and discuss those who have passed on.