There are few tragedies more intense than when a parent loses a child. For anyone not in that position, the pain is simply unimaginable.
But the grieving parent’s life must go on, no matter how difficult that may be.
One Redditor found herself reckoning with that fact. She explained her circumstances in a post on the “Am I the A**hole (AITA)” subReddit.
The Original Poster, known as Mother_Put_1042 on the site, began with a simple, intriguing title:
“AITA for telling my daughter to get over herself?”
OP led with some tragic background.
“I was blessed with three beautiful children and unfortunately, my eldest, Brooke, passed away when she was 5 years old.”
“It rocked my world and I know I haven’t been the same since. I went through therapy and still attend to this day, but a part of me died too.”
Nonetheless, OP has done her best to preserve her memory.
“I will never let my daughter be forgotten.”
“I bring pictures of her to events such as holiday celebrations and birthdays. I talk about her all the time.”
“Every year on my living children’s birthdays, I think of her and how her once younger siblings are now older than her.”
But some happier news was on the horizon.
“My daughter, Marnie, is getting married next month.”
“I asked her if she was having a memorial table and she said no.”
“I asked her about creating a seat for her sister who passed, as she should be a part of the day.”
But Marnie took issue with that.
“Marnie told me no, for once she wants a day about her. She says she couldn’t have one event that wasn’t about Brooke.”
“Even her graduation, I had put a picture of her on the seat.”
“She said I needed to stop making my grief ‘front stage.’ “
That led to some back and forth.
“I told her she was being incredibly selfish and until she goes through a loss like this, she’ll never understand.”
“Marnie asked me if her kids would have to live under the shadow of Brooke too. I told her she should be ashamed and to get over herself.”
“My son says I’m being terrible and I need to re-evaluate my life. AITA?”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
For the most part, Redditors did not agree with OP. Many shared tempered criticisms, acknowledging how hard it must be.
“You do realize that you’ve made your living children feel like they don’t matter, right?”
“YTA. I cannot imagine your loss, but you’ve hurt your two living children by never allowing them to move on, and in your fear of having Brooke forgotten, you have ensured that they resent her memory.” — VictorianPlatypus
“YTA (I know it’s painful to think about, sounds like grief therapy would help).”
“You are allowed to process however you want, but your children do not have to be burdened by your grief.” — wytherlanejazz
“YTA while my heart goes out to you, and I am very sorry you have lost a child, the way you have been dealing with this, doesn’t really sound healthy – and even if it were healthy, the way it has impacted your surviving kids is obviously messed up”
“messed up enough to have them tell you outright; if you can’t let go that’s one thing when it’s something that is yours, but milestones your kids reached aren’t yours.”
“it’s not your place to bring grief to each and every occasion (also if brooke was your oldest and passed away at 5, you’ve been basically forcing a stranger on your two younger kids; I really don’t wanna know what that has done in regards to their development)”
“also I’m really doubting your therapist, either you’re lying about what you’re doing when you’re in session, or this therapist has the wrong job” — Nyaseoki
“I lost my only child when he was 19, 12 years ago. It damn near killed me. I always try to keep his memory alive, so I totally understand where you’re coming from, but it seems you’ve placed her on a pedestal above your other children.”
“They probably hardly remember her as they were so young. It is not fair to place your grieving on them or expect them to feel the same way. And eventually, we all have to move forward or you will never be happy.”
“You never have to let go, but you have to step back and realize that life goes on. Very gently YTA” — kristtt67
Others weren’t so patient.
“I’m going to be blunt, OP, because apparently your own children telling you you’re terrible is not enough to get through to you.”
“Most bad parents only manage to sow discord between their living children. You’ve accomplished the rare feat of causing the living to resent the dead.”
“If you do not believe in an after life, then it follows that none of what you are doing to remember Brooke is actually for Brooke, it’s for you. Stop being selfish.”
“If you do believe in an after life, then surely you understand that Brooke doesn’t want a table at Marnie’s wedding, she wants a place in Marnie’s heart. That’s not going to happen until you stop turning all of your kids’ important life events into a decades-long memorial for Brooke.”
“YTA.” — JeepersCreepers74
“YTA you recognize you are driving 2 of your kids away because of this?”
“how long has this been going on, 15 yrs maybe?”
“your 2 kids have been competing and losing to their eldest sibling for a long time.” — open_letter_guy
“YTA. Is your therapist really in agreement that you have a memorial to your deceased daughter at every event? You have children who are alive and well and if you don’t get this under control you will lose them too.”
“It’s your daughter’s day. Let her have a day where it is all about her and NOT about your grief.”
“I feel so bad for your children…to have to live in the shadow of their deceased sister and never have their mother’s absolute love.” — Adventurous-Sand6711
“YTA you don’t have a right to dictate how YOUR DAUGHTER plans HER WEDDING and you’re absolutely the one who needs to get over themselves. I’m sorry for your loss but you’re being ridiculous and unfair to your daughter.” — turndownforwomp
While OP’s struggles are probably too much to be changed by some quick Reddit feedback, perhaps the criticisms will offer some early realizations.