Death is always difficult to process especially when it’s someone you’re very close to. It can be difficult for other people too, but to many, there is an unspoken hierarchy of sympathy.
Redditor ColinMcGraw02 has been trying to proceed the death of his younger sister for the past year. While that’s already a hard thing to process, the original poster (OP)’s situation is made worse by the actions of his cousin.
Eventually, OP snapped and chewed out his cousin. Now OP is wondering if he went too far and is asking the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) board if what he did was wrong.
This leads to his query:
“AITA For Telling My Cousin That He Doesn’t Deserve Sympathy?”
OP has been going through this for the last year:
“My (19M) little sister, Violet, passed away from stage 4 medulloblastoma on May 28, 2020 at the age of 9.”
“My cousin (20M) was extremely unsupportive through this time, but still whined for people to feel bad for him because of what was happening in our family.”
“I was always very close with Violet, and her illness and death really broke me. I did everything I could for her, and often found myself being way too hard on myself over the things I couldn’t control.”
“A few days ago, my cousin was attending my girlfriend and I’s gender reveal party for the baby we’re expecting. One of the guests brought me a condolence card for Violet since she didn’t get to visit my family due to Covid.”
“My cousin started whining and complaining about how he never got any ‘I’m sorry for loss’es when Violet passed away.”
“I snapped at him and said that I was the one who had to watch her have seizures almost every day for weeks and not know how to help her.”
“I was the one who had to hold her while she was screaming and crying and begging me to do something to make it stop hurting. I was the one who had to stand outside the hospital room she was screaming for me from and not be allowed to go in.”
“I was the one who laid with her when her head hurt too bad for her to fall asleep. I was the one who held her hand while she screamed because she was scared of the IV.”
“I was the one who held her hair back when she was throwing up. I was the one who carried her everywhere when she was too weak to stand. I was the one who had to shave her hair off when she was so distraught from it falling out.”
“I was the one who held her when she took her last breath.”
“He was the one who called me dramatic and told her ‘it’s just hair’. He got mad at me and said that she’s his family too and he can feel upset about her passing away, too.”
“I told him he can feel bad but he doesn’t deserve anyone’s sympathy. My aunt told me that he’s grieving just like I am and that I’m being harsh and need to try to be patient with him.”
“Did I overreact? Was I rude?”
OP’s situation is pained, but understandable. His cousin has been centering the loss on himself, but OP doesn’t think he deserved it.
Whether or not OP felt his cousin deserved sympathy, the real question is whether or not the AITA subReddit felt that OP’s response was overblown or not.
To find out, OP is judged with one of the following acronyms.
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
OP had a much closer relationship with his sister than their cousin did. On top of that, the cousin downplayed some of the trauma OP’s sister went through.
Because of these reasons, the board voted that OP was NTA for calling him out.
“NTA, I’m sorry for your loss. Your cousin’s a self centred dick” – ARX7
“NTA. He’s a grief troll. They exist. He deserves much worse than what you said.” – slothsandunicorns
“Your cousin didn’t say ‘wow I miss Violet so much’ he specifically expressed how no one had reached out to him directly for condolences.”
“He literally is upset he didn’t get the attention.” – Crazy_Comment_Lady
“If my cousin died, I would absolutely be upset. But I wouldn’t pick a fight with their siblings just to make myself feel better.”
“Your cousin seems self absorbed and manipulative. It’s time he learned that grief comes in levels and your grief is 10x more than his. Because he and your sister shared grandparents, you and your sister shared life.”
“She was a major part of your life for nearly a decade. Something tells me that she wasn’t in his life nearly as much as yours.”
“NTA” – SnooDrawings1480
However, despite agreement on OP being in the right, there was still an attempt to understand OP’s cousin.
Commenters asked questions and discussed possibilities in the comments.
“NTA – even if cousin is grieving, it’s wrong to unload on you. In the past, I saw a diagram on Reddit that showed circles of grief; the center was the person through something and each circle going out word was the people closest to the person.”
“An outer circle can’t complain or seek sympathy to an inner circle, but could seek people in the same circle or a circle further out.”
“I wish I could express this better. I’m sorry for your loss. Sounds like you eased your sister’s pain as much as you could.” – IllVegetable3
“I was talking to a cousin on the other side of my family and she actually brought this up. She had a classmate pass away recently.
“She barely knew him, but they had a ton of mutual friends. She was sad to hear he died, but she comforted her friends instead of showing that she was sad he passed away.” – ColinMcGraw02 (OP)
“NTA Your cousin sounds awful and self involved. Your aunt should be ashamed of him, not making excuses and trying to equate your loss like it is somehow equal because it isn’t.”
“My condolences on your loss, you sound like an amazing brother.” – Wintery1
“The thing I’m questioning is. He didn’t help. But did he make fun of her? The hair thing is a dick move.”
“But tbh when my grandma died she had been sick for a while and I visited as well but I didn’t help her like my sister did. I was still sad about her passing tho.”
“I felt guilty for not being involved enough. His crying about not getting attention is bad. But he is still allowed to be sad about violets passing weather he was directly involved or not.” – Mashed_Potato2
“Except he acted like a d*ck, not even trying to comfort the little girl, not trying to be part of the process in order to support them and being disrespectful.”
“He is not grieving, a person that truly grieves does not seek attention of strangers just for the sake of attention.” – FildariusV
On one hand, OP’s outburst wasn’t the best way to handle the situation, but on the other, it’s difficult to put up with what the cousin was doing for the last year.
OP’s cousin also has the right to grieve, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of OP’s own experience. The cousin should try to find another way to process and experience their grief.