Losing someone we love is a terrible thing, and for some of us, honoring them and remembering them is an important, non-negotiable act.
But people who do not experience that loss may not understand what it’s like, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor WonderBlen had a tradition of meeting up with his ex-wife every year on the anniversary of their son’s death from cancer to visit his grave and honor his memory.
When his stepdaughter tried to schedule one of her wedding events for that day, the Original Poster (OP) insisted he couldn’t attend, much to her disapproval.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for not attending my stepdaughter’s pre-wedding lunch?”
The OP had a happy life with his second wife and stepdaughter.
“I (46 Male) am married to my second wife (44 Female). We have been married for 11 years, dating for 15.”
“She has two kids from her first marriage, who are now 24 Female and 19 Male. Their dad wasn’t involved much, and I practically raised them with my wife, especially the 19 Male.”
His first marriage dissolved with grief.
“I had a child with my first wife (a boy), but he died from leukemia when he was 3 years old. My wife and I divorced shortly after that.”
“Every year on the anniversary of his death, we still get together, visit his grave, and have a cup of coffee together, just talk about him.”
But this year, his stepdaughter had double-booked the anniversary.
“This year, my stepdaughter is getting married two days after the anniversary of my son’s death. I will walk her down the aisle, and I am super happy about it.”
“I won’t be attending the lunch two days before the wedding, though (with both families of the soon-to-be-married couple), because I will be spending that day with my ex-wife on the anniversary of our son’s death.”
“I am attending the rehearsal dinner, which is on the day in-between my son’s anniversary and the wedding (the same people will be there and at the lunch).”
“The wedding is in 3 weeks, but the lunch was only planned a couple of days ago. It wasn’t a part of the original plan. The rest was arranged months ago.”
His wife and stepdaughter lashed out when they heard the news.
“When I told this to my wife and stepdaughter, they both got very very upset about it.”
“My wife said I’m an AH for not prioritizing our daughter over a trip down memory lane with my ex.”
“My stepdaughter said that I disappointed her now just like her bio dad always did.”
But his stepson understood.
“My stepson is on my side, saying I will attend everything else, pay for the wedding, and have been very involved in all the planning and everything.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some thought the stepdaughter and wife were being totally unfair.
“NTA. Visiting your son’s grave is important to you, and has been for years. Not only that, but your family knows the day you do this, has known this for a long time, and scheduled the event on that day anyway. They should have expected this.”
“As far as your stepdaughter’s reaction goes: it’s unfair to say you are disappointing her like her bio dad did. She is comparing one day to a lifetime. That is ridiculous and makes her sound like a spoiled brat.”
“Your stepson is right. You are attending (and paying for) everything else. They can allow you this one absence. If your stepdaughter doesn’t like it, she can pay for everything herself, then she can really know how it feels like to be disappointed.” – bamf1701
“You need to pull your wife aside and remind her why this date is important to you. I can’t believe after 15 years she would say that.”
“NTA.” – No-Mechanic-3048
“I mean… OK, I’m not a parent. I actually hate children, so I don’t get wanting kids or any of that. And yet, even I can understand that losing a child, even if it was AT LEAST 15 years prior, is going to hurt.”
“OP’s wife has two kids, so I’m going out on a limb assuming she LIKES kids… And yet, she can’t even fathom what it would feel like to lose a child and empathize with her husband?”
“Again, me: hates kids. Can comprehend losing one probably hurts forever. His wife: has two kids. Can’t understand why he does this thing once a year and gets mad.”
“Idk (I don’t know) what kind of bats**t, Topsy Turvey world we’ve moved into, but… that s**t is bananas.” – cloverbay
“Talking about the death of your child with the only person who knows exactly how you feel isn’t exactly a ‘trip down memory lane,’ not unless Memory Lane has fallen on hard times recently.” – RorschachFan16
“NTA. Your wife and daughter are AHs.”
“To say that your tradition of recognizing the loss of your young son is just a ‘trip down memory lane with my [your] ex’ is unbelievably cruel.”
“Expecting you to drop long-standing plans just because she planned a last-minute event at the same time is selfish.”
“Saying that everything you have done for her in the past and everything you are doing for the wedding is meaningless if you miss this lunch is manipulative and entitled.” – Forward_Squirrel8879
“Sorry, I cannot get over the ‘trip down memory lane’ comment. Probably one of the most selfish and insensitive things I’ve ever read on this subReddit.”
“Your son will always be your son, and if you need to take the time with your ex-wife to remember and grieve him, then you can. She’s having like 5 f**king pre-wedding events. She needs to chill the f**k out.”
“NTA.” – SleepDangerous1074
Others didn’t understand the big deal over a pre-wedding lunch, on top of a rehearsal dinner.
“Losing a loved one hurts forever and it’s even worse when it’s a child that you barely got to know and love! I think it’s incredibly sweet that you and your ex get together every year to celebrate the child’s life. It helps.”
“Your wife and stepdaughter were cruel to schedule this on such an important day and then get mad at you like they did. NTA.” – NightWitch65
“I cannot imagine losing a child then your marriage, too.”
“What is one day? And was this lunch planned on this day on purpose?”
“Go spend time with your son and ex-wife. You’ve been doing this for years. Don’t stop now.”
“She’ll get over it, and if not, oh well, you did your duty as a father for a daughter that was a bonus. At least your stepson backs you up, and if not, then don’t ask for permission, just do it, don’t explain if they can’t figure it out there is nothing you can do.” – Prestigious-Fan-5530
“NTA. The moment my wife told me a wedding was more important than my dead kid, my a** would be done with her for good.” – CommunicationOdd9406
“It’s a pre-wedding lunch on top of a rehearsal dinner. I can’t get my head around the concept of a rehearsal dinner in the first place.”
“They have the rest of their lives to have awkward small talk with their opposites where the bride and groom aren’t the main focus. Big Catering really is taking these people for rubes.”
“We got invited to for pre-wedding drinks for a groom I’m friends with, and it was all his side of the family, and I’m confident most of his side of the aisle at the actual wedding. It was chill and helped us since there were maybe 2 people I knew at the wedding, and the other was the best man.”
“But if we couldn’t make it, no one would have kicked up a fuss.” – alphabetown
“And they just slapped this lunch plan together and punched through with it, fully knowing that every year he has this important remembrance of his late son.”
“The audacity of these two women that are supposed to love this man… and after he raised the daughter and PAID for her wedding.”
“This is incredibly disrespectful and makes me completely question their character. I’m p**sed on OP’s behalf.”
“I think if it’s brought up again he should tell them, ‘When you lose a child to cancer, you can have an opinion on how to pay respects and grieve. This discussion is over.'” – natidiscgirl
“That was very manipulative of your bonus daughter, comparing you missing one wedding event (which seems to be a three-day affair) to her bio father always disappointing.”
“You could have flipped it and said, ‘I’m sorry you’re disappointed I won’t be there! I’m disappointed you planned a luncheon on the one day a year that I have a boundary on, so I will have to miss it.'” – Internal_Visual_9971
The subReddit was furious on the OP’s behalf over this one, especially the wife’s and stepdaughter’s comments about memory lane and the biological father.
But the worst thing was that this was about grief and preserving his son’s memory after losing his battle with cancer.
To even schedule another event on that day was unsightly, but to think he’d give up his tradition for a lunch was anything but practical or empathetic.