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Grieving Mom Calls Husband ‘Callous’ For Making Seriously Morbid Joke About Their Dead Son

Grieving Parents hugging
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The way we handle loss is as individual as a fingerprint.

We can cope well, we can cope poorly, and we can fluctuate wildly between the two.

So what happens when your way of grieving directly harms someone else?

That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) Hour-Cricket-2151 when he came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.

He asked:

“AITA for telling a morbid joke about my son?”

A quick introduction,

“Asking here because I don’t feel comfortable discussing this with family or friends right now.”

“My wife and I have four boys – 17, 15, 13, and 10.”

Then tragic news.

“We lost our 15-year-old in an accident last October and grieving has truly been a process.”

“My wife and I have very different styles of grieving.”

“I really like to talk about my son and what happened to him, but she wants to process things by herself and doesn’t want to talk about it.”

“We still have a very close marriage, we just talk about everything other than our son.”

“My wife was out with friends today and when she got home a few hours ago, she asked me where the boys were.”

“I told her, ‘(Oldest) is with a friend, (13 yr. old) is out in the yard, (10 yr. old) is in the basement, and (15 yr. old) should be right where we left him.”‘

“Immediately, she said I was f*cked up for saying that.”

“I told her that I cope with humor and clearly, she doesn’t.”

“I respect what she does, but she’s got to respect what I do.”

“She called me a ‘f*cking pig’ for joking about our son like that and said she was taking the boys out for dinner.”

“While they were out, she texted me to say that she’s really horrified with how ‘callous’ I am about the death of our son, saying she was genuinely concerned I might be a sociopath.”

“When she got home, she went straight to bed.”

“I tried to sit with her, and she told me not to touch her. Our oldest asked me why their mom was in such a bad mood, and when I told him, he laughed at the joke.”

“I think my wife is being extremely sensitive about this, but I also can understand this might be a time and place situation.”

“Still, I think ‘place’ should be my own home.”

OP was left to wonder,

“AITA for telling a morbid joke?”

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors decided: YTA

Some responses were eloquent and patient.

“YTA, and I don’t really like saying that. You did ask, though.”

“I am terribly sorry about your loss. I cannot even imagine the horrible hole that will always be present and that you and your family will have to learn to move around.”

“And having been through the sudden loss of a spouse, I would not want to criticize how someone else works through their own grief (as long as their actions aren’t hurting others).”

“You and your wife have different ways of walking this path, which can be common. It’s also important to realize that this can lead to a breakdown of the marriage, though, so you might want to seek counseling together on how to move forward and give each other grace.”

“That said, you clearly understood that humor is NOT how your wife deals with this kind of grief, and you made a joke about the absolute worst thing that could ever happen to a parent, which also occurred fairly recently.”

“Just because you are the father/husband, you do not have the right to say something like that to her.”

“You are free to use humor to work through your grief when you are with other people who will not be hurt by it.”

“Your wife is not one of those people.”

“I would also recommend caution about saying things like this around your sons. You may think they are okay with it, but they may be very uncomfortable and just don’t know how to tell you that.”

“They may also benefit from bereavement counseling for kids.”

“Also… you should not have said anything to your son about what happened except that you said something that was hurtful to his mom.”

“You should not have said what it was, which feels a bit like you trying to get him to ‘your side’ and also belittling your wife’s feelings in the process.”

“Do better.” ~ indendosha


“I sincerely hope OP and his wife get some counseling, for themselves and for their surviving children.”

“These sorts of events can destroy families, and they are definitely (understandably!) having difficulty walking through it.” ~ bull-ina-china-shop

“Gentle YTA.”

“My dad and I both coped using humor. My mom doesn’t.”

“When he died, I made jokes about it sometimes – to my friends, to my wife. NOT to my mother, who would’ve just found it upsetting and hurtful.”

“It’s okay to grieve how you need to grieve, but – as someone who handles it the same way you do – you need to respect how your wife grieves, too.”

“Use humor elsewhere, and apologize to your wife.” ~ darjeelinger1709

Humor doesn’t excuse hurtful behavior.


‘”She’s got to respect what I do'”

“This goes both ways, OP.”

“Cope how you want, but respect that your wife copes differently.”

“It’s cruel to say things like that around her, knowing she is still very sensitive – rightfully so – over the death of your child.”

“You need to apologize to your wife.” ~ WaifuLoaf

“Exactly. Don’t use how you cope in front of her.”

“OP is a YTA. He and his son might find humor in it.”

“I get the son, and he’s immature and a child, but the op?”

“Your son died tragically less than a year ago.”

“You must see your wife struggling, and you make jokes around her?”

“It cruel and heartless.”

“And if things don’t change, I don’t see this marriage surviving. A lot of marriages can’t survive the death of a child; I think this marriage will be one that ends sooner rather than later.” ~ Mmoct

“In my full opinion, I want to say full YTA.”

“It’s not what op did but how they handled to the aftermath. You NEVER double down on something like this, never, never ever.”

“I’d say NTA if they apologized and tried to understand it from her end rather than tell everyone she’s too sensitive.”

“But instead they DO think their wife is overly sensitive and instead of considering how she feels they completely disregard it and instead come to Reddit to try to justify their feelings” ~ Crispy-Downvote

Read the room.

“Well said!”

“My dad, older brother, and I also all coped using humor, while my mum is genuinely more sensitive.”

“So when I rang my brother to tell him that dad had passed away, his first response was a joke about how he didn’t have to pay him back the money he’d loaned him; he knew I’d find it funny, and it was clearly his way of coping with getting such shocking news.”

“But when we spoke to mum? We were kind and respectful. It isn’t hard to realize when someone doesn’t grieve the same way you do. And if they ask you not to joke around, apologize and move on.” ~ Aruu


“Firstly, OP, I’m sorry for your loss.”

“Secondly, know your audience.”

“I understand you have as much right to mourn as your wife, but what you said it was very hurtful and disturbing to her.”

“Finally, I will give you this: your joke was funny.”

“Maybe next time, say those things in private (away from your wife’s ears) to the son who thought it was funny too.”

“Maybe to some of your friends or maybe join a mourning support group and find people that grieve like you and do it among the group.”

“Take care.” ~ Iataaddicted25

“Yep, YTA OP.”

“The fact that you are even calling your wife overly sensitive or alluding to that when she doesn’t share the same sense of humor as you.”

“And lost her son only five months ago is what cinches it for me.”

“She’s not ‘overly sensitive’. She’s grieving a child that she carried in her body, that she fed and bathed and nurtured and was scared for every minute that he was outside of it.”

“She was scared for him on the day that he died, and she probably regrets everything done before and after it, in the off chance that she could have done something different.”

“To put it mildly, she’s f*cked up.”

“She doesn’t want to talk about it because I’m guessing this is not the first time that you’ve been insensitive.”

“And because it’s not the first time that you’ve invalidated how she’s feeling by calling her too sensitive.”

“So she avoids all of those conversations with you to try to keep your marriage together because she doesn’t have the patience for your bullshit right now.”

“If you have any interest in keeping your marriage together, apologize now.”

“And in the long run, stop invalidating your wife and her feelings based on your idea of humour, and start respecting her grief.” ~ malkatdame

Loss affects everyone differently, but it affects everyone nonetheless.

While it is important to honor the pain you feel in the way that serves you best, it’s also important to be respectful of what other people are going through.

Written by Frank Geier

Frank Geier (pronouns he/him) is a nerd and father of three who recently moved to Alabama. He is an avid roleplayer and storyteller occasionally masquerading as a rational human.