Family Drama Makes One Woman’s Obituary Go Viral

Plus, some dos and don'ts on how to avoid the same situation with your sparring siblings.

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The obituary of 93-year-old Josie Anello that appeared in the Valentine’s Day issue of a local newspaper in Florida has been making the rounds online, thanks to some family drama it’s stirred up.

If you’d like to avoid your dearly departed the fate of becoming an inadvertent link to be passed around, read on for some obituary dos and don’ts.

(SPECIAL: Fond Farewells of 2011)

DON’T describe his or her family like Anello’s son, 63-year-old Angelo Anello, does:

“She is survived by her Son, ‘A.J.’, who loved and cared for her; Daughter ‘Ninfa’, who betrayed her trust, and Son ‘Peter’, who broke her heart.”

Angelo has a longstanding rift with his two siblings, the Tampa Bay Times reports, which led him to place that stinging characterization of his brother and sister in print.

DO leave out the drama, even if it exists. Another obit ran the next day, placed by Anello’s daughter Ninfa Simpson, 65, that provided the same basic information, but spared the underhanded jabs.

DON’T let money issues ruin the memory of your loved one. Angelo and Ninfa both say the other stole money from their mother—from taking security checks to go on vacations to maxing out credit cards—and it escalated to a battle that’s played itself out all over what was supposed to be a touching obituary for their mother.

DO be prepared to become an entertaining piece of viral news if you decide to go ahead with an obit calling out your family. The Tampa Bay Times reports blogs giving the obit headlines like “Insanely Passive-Aggressive Obituary.”

DO get your facts right. As much as Angelo claimed to be the sole caretaker of his mother—who died in his arms from kidney failure—and a journalist with a “passion for the truth,” he still got his dear mother’s age wrong by one year. We guess composing the perfect spiteful message to his siblings took precedence over fact-checking.

MORE: How Grief Can Break Your Heart