East Texas woman authors 'Brutal Obituary,' says abuse occurred - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

East Texas woman authors 'Brutal Obituary,' says abuse occurred daily

Photo: KTRE Photo: KTRE
Photo: KTRE Photo: KTRE
Photo: KTRE Photo: KTRE

An obituary that went viral five months ago captured one woman's struggle with domestic abuse.

In February, a Polk County woman wrote a brutally honest obituary about her late father. That obituary went viral with numerous news outlets nationwide sharing the story behind words like, "he possessed no redeeming qualities."

"Leslie's hobbies included being abusive to his family, expediting trips to heaven for the beloved family pets and fishing, which he was less skilled with than the previously mentioned. Leslie's life served no other obvious purpose, he did not contribute to society or serve his community and he possessed no redeeming qualities besides quick whited [sic] sarcasm which was amusing during his sober days."

Now the daughter, Shiela Smith, has released a book delving more in depth into why she wrote those words, and the struggles her family endured.

“It's time. It's a problem. How do you look at a child and just walk away?” Smith said.

Smith, 47, said the obituary that started the conversation continues in a book Smith hopes will change the narrative around abuse.

"It was a lot of tears writing it. It was a lot of emotion put into it,” Smith said. “There are things in the book that family members have no idea are in there. (It) might be a shocker for a couple of them.”

As Smith reflects on her life, she said circumstances made it challenging to speak out

“The abuse went daily,” Smith said.

Now using the book as her voice, she has chronicled the trauma her family experienced.

"I plan on changing everything about domestic violence and child abuse. Everything,” Smith said. “I want to change the legislature, I want to change funding, I want to change the reality. I want to change how people perceive it, and more importantly, I plan on changing the fact that people sweep it under the rug so conveniently without a moment's hesitation.”

The book is dedicated to victims of abuse. Smith hopes it will spark a light for those in hiding behind the veil of hurt.

"It's not necessarily easy that you're the victim of abuse. It's not necessarily something you're proud of, but you can’t change it if you can't talk about it,” Smith said.

Overcoming her hardships, Smith said any victim undergoing abuse has the power to make a choice and seek help.

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