# 10 Don’t speak ill of the dead

Rita is 83, a widow to Frank, who died 3 years ago.

His obituary read

Frank 87, died peacefully surrounded by his family. A loving husband to Rita, father to Sarah & Susan. He leaves 5 grandchildren, Rex, Charlie, Flo, Grace & Ben.

The day Frank died, Rita breathed a sigh of relief, she could feel the tension release in every muscle in her body.

She could rest, breathe, think , feel.

Her marriage to Frank aged 19, him 26 had been decades of control & obedience. 61 years felt like a prison sentence.

Every day she had served Frank & tended to HIS needs.

Mealtimes, bed times, hobbies, holidays, the family car, the wallpaper in the dining room, the make & model of the car, the kettle, vacuum cleaner. All Frank’s decisions, all executed by Rita. 

Unspoken rules, rituals & routines, which could be changed whenever Frank desired. 

Rita expertly ensured every possible request was fulfilled to Frank’s exacting standards. For she knew there would be CONSEQUENCES.

Every minute of her waking hours, Rita’s sole focus was to diffuse and protect the girls. 

At the funeral, their long & ‘happy’ marriage was celebrated as a rare success, in todays ‘modern world’. Nobody dared mention the torture they’d endured, an unspoken rule to stay silent. 

Rita riddled with pain from arthritis, caused by beatings, bit her tongue feeling a burning rage inside her, ready to spill out & erupt.

Hearing Frank’s life story, his achievements & devotion to HIS family, made bile rise up inside her chest.

She reluctantly weeps, silently & remembered the words of her mother.

Shhh… ‘Don’t speak ill of the dead’.

Rita’s life never validated.
Never seen.
Never heard. 

For Rita the past three years as a widow, have been her most peaceful, predictable & beautiful. 

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