I Hated Her and Now She’s Dead

I don’t know how to feel

Claire Franky
4 min readJun 11, 2024


Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

The refrigerator door hung open in front of me. I stood still, illuminated by its light as I stared at the phone in my hand. My bare arms began to recognize the cold from the open appliance and I stepped back to shut the door. My eyes didn’t leave the screen.

With my hand still grasped around the closed refrigerator door handle, I studied the picture he had sent a few seconds earlier — a photograph of her death certificate.

I used my fingers to zoom in on the small text as I leaned against the kitchen countertop. My eyes scattered across the screen in all directions, trying to consume all of the information in each of the small boxes.

Once I had gathered all of the details, I set the phone down on the countertop and stared at the wall in front of me.

My mother-in-law was dead.

Two evenings ago, my soon-to-be ex-husband sent me a number of messages. He claimed that his mother had passed away. I rolled my eyes.

His mother has died before and miraculously come back to life. She’s had make-believe heart attacks, strokes, and surgeries. Interestingly, she’s only deathly ill when he wants my attention or money. The rest of the time, she’s a picture of health.