Content Warning: Loss of a loved one, grief.
It’s wonderful to imagine beautiful, happy families who celebrate together, grieve together, and express unconditional love.
But sometimes it doesn’t work out that way, sadly agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
When Redditor Confusedguy1992i’s best friend came out to her conservative parents as bisexual, they were quick to kick her out of their home before the age of 18 and disown her completely.
The Original Poster (OP) later received the terrible news that his friend had passed away, only for her parents to accuse him of withholding important information from them.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for not telling my friend’s parents she died?”
The OP stayed close to his best friend after she was kicked out by her parents.
“I (22 Male) had a childhood best friend, Luna (23 Female). We were very close. She lived across the street from me, and we even went to the same school.”
“I loved her so much, and she was honestly there for me in times when no one else was, and she was the sister I never had.”
“Luna was raised in a strict Christian household, and her parents are very religious.”
“Luna came out to them as bisexual when she was 17, and they kicked her out and told her never to come back.”
“Luna lived with my family and me for a year, and when she turned 18, she started working her a** off with various jobs.”
The pair remained close friends through all the changes.
“Because her parents disowned her, her next of kin became her aunt (her mother’s sister). Her aunt isn’t close to the family, either, and had her own issues with them, so she was basically on a low-contact, no-contact basis with all of them.”
“I was there for her, and I know what she felt and how alone and betrayed she felt by her family.”
“I still get mad when I remember how exhausted she looked at that time.”
“She used to live in a tiny studio apartment and did her best, but she sadly couldn’t afford to go to college, so she had no other choice than working as a stripper and a McDonald’s cashier.”
Then the OP received the worst news possible.
“Two months ago, I received the devastating news from Luna’s aunt that Luna had died from reasons I am not comfortable sharing.”
“I was and still am very sad, and I feel like a part of me is gone.”
“Her funeral was paid for by me and our friend group, and it was a small funeral and small attendance (her friends and their parents, plus mine).”
“No one reached out to her parents, including Luna’s aunt, because they hadn’t contacted her or asked about her since the day they kicked her out.”
But one day, the OP received a surprising call.
“Last week, her parents called me and asked me about Luna.”
“I asked them why they were asking about her all of a sudden.”
“They told me they had been thinking about her for the past three months and missed their daughter dearly. They told me they learned a lot about the LGBTQ+ community and were hoping to apologize and reconcile with her but couldn’t find her number.”
“That’s when I told them she had died.”
“They didn’t believe me at first, and then that turned into anger. They yelled at me and told me how selfish it was for no one to tell them their own daughter had died.”
“They said if I had bothered to tell them, they would’ve been there at her funeral and helped with the preparations, and maybe they even could’ve prevented her death.”
The OP was conflicted and wondered if he should have done more.
“I heard that her dad went into a depressive episode after that, and her mom is on the verge of a mental breakdown.”
“I know that they kicked her out, but a part of me still feels like it was wrong of me not to tell them about her passing. She was still their daughter, and maybe I owed them that, I don’t know.”
“I want an unbiased point of view. Should I have told them? Or was not knowing the consequence of their actions?”
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 argued that parents, no matter the circumstances, should be informed of this news.
“YTA. Are you people serious?? Every parent has the right to know that their child died. Not even letting them go to her funeral? What the actual f**k gives you the right to withhold that?” – fckmsshrd
“YTA. Regardless of what happened when your friend was alive, someone should have passed on the news of her passing. It’s that simple. If the parents still wanted nothing to do with her and the funeral, then that’s on them, but at least they would have been informed.” – No_One_Special_023
“YTA. As a parent, I could never understand disowning your child. But these people raised this person. They made her, grew her for nine months, birthed her, and were there for every major milestone of her young life.”
“YES, they were completely misguided and blinded by their awful religious bigotry, but I would absolutely have told them. She was their baby. I mean, I couldn’t ever find peace with myself if I made the choice you did. The heartbreak they must have felt for years turning out to be even more devastating than they ever dreamed.” – Kab1212
“Before all the pitchforks come out, I agree with almost everyone here so far. Yes, they threw her out, and it led to her having a troubled life. Unkind as it sounds, they are not responsible for her choices or her death, and she was still their child. It was not your place to put your thumb on the scale after the fact and deny them this news.”
“You chose to forgo compassion to satisfy a grudge on behalf of your friend. The audacity of you to willingly keep her kin in the dark about her death. Shame on you.” – AukwardOtter
“YTA!! Jesus. It’s the least anyone can do in this situation. If you were in their situation, would you not want to be at least notified?”
“The consequences of their actions might have been not being invited to her wedding or the fact that they missed out on the last years of her life.”
“But now they’re thinking that had they not kicked her out, they may have prevented her death. Not telling them is just cruel.” – navigatorlost123
But others felt that the parents weren’t entitled to this information.
“NTA. I cannot imagine being a parent, and disowning my daughter because of her sexuality. They were never good people to begin with.”
“They are only attacking you because you are the only target they can ‘justify’, because otherwise, they would have to reflect on their thoughts and actions, and no one likes looking in a mirror when they are ugly (on the inside).”
“I have an eight-year-old girl. I would willingly sacrifice this entire planet if it meant to keep her safe. Those ‘people’ f**king disgust me.” – Captain_Blackbird
“NTA. They are the ones that closed that relationship and line of communication. They are the ones who made that horrible decision. This is entirely the consequences of their actions.” – Dragon2439
“They kicked her out at seventeen… and didn’t even care to search her for five years. She was still a child, thrown from a safe environment to the street. I am too angry and disgusted to have any sympathy for them.”
“NTA. She deserved better. Sorry about your loss, OP.” – Justanothersaul
“I imagine the shock of finding out their daughter had died triggered a ‘shoot the messenger’ reaction. They couldn’t possibly take responsibility themselves (sarcastic comment).”
“I’m sorry you lost your childhood friend. Sure, you might have told them, but are you the a**hole because you didn’t? I don’t think so.”
“It’s one of those situations where they made their wishes known, kicked their own child out into the world due to their own bigoted opinions, and let her suffer for, what, five years before they reached out? This is sadly something they are going to have to learn to live with.”
“NTA.” – CaliforniaJade
“They were not listed as next of kin anywhere, or they would have been notified. They lost the right to be notified by her friends when they abandoned her as a child. They were no longer her parents.”
“She had obviously moved on, and you nor her true friends owed them anything. They can live with their guilt as they ARE guilty.” – Odd-End-1405
Others also reassured the OP that he shouldn’t have been the one to tell them anyway.
“NTA. It was not your place to be in contact with them. They had years to reach out, and by the time they did, it was too late.”
“Sorry for your loss, but this is not on you.” – HeirOfRavenclaw
“If anyone should have contacted her parents, it should have been her aunt… her being actually related to them. She decided not to… probably for the same reasons that OP didn’t. Her parents had disowned her and removed her from their lives.”
“OP, you did nothing wrong. NTA.” – canuckleheadiam
“NTA. If you had told them before the funeral, it is possible that they would have taken over and turned it into something she would find disrespectful to her.”
“Your only obligation was to your friend, and you went above and beyond for her. NTA again, and sorry for your loss.” – Mammoth_Piglet_3063
“Notification was at the aunt’s discretion, and yes, you were the immediate target at hand to absorb all of their shock and regret.”
“NTA, good for you for sticking by your friend’s side, and sorry for your loss.” – Status_Soft4191
“Luna’s parents were owed what they earned. By kicking her out and never initiating contact, they earned the right to have no contact with Luna.”
“You happened to get the call, so you’re an easy target for them to deflect their responsibility, but literally nobody told Luna’s parents about her death. Nobody. Everybody who was actually there for her in life was there for her in death. Her parents don’t get to make up for years of s**tty behavior by swooping in at her funeral and putting on a show.”
“NTA. They will forever live with the knowledge that their daughter died knowing they hated who she was, but they didn’t get a chance to fix that because they didn’t make the effort to fix it. None of that is your fault for not telling them she had died.” – baka-tari
“NTA. I think in alternative circumstances, you would be the a**hole… But they threw her away. Like trash. Do people expect refuse collectors to tell them what happened to the used tissues they threw out?”
“I realize it would have been more compassionate to inform them, but that also wasn’t your responsibility. It was Luna’s aunt’s, above anyone else’s.”
“I’m glad to hear they’re learning to be less ignorant, but they’re learning hard lessons about the results of their own ignorance. I’m hoping their plea was genuine so they experience growth as human beings and are not just going to use the death of the child they threw away for attention.”
“I’m sorry for your loss, love.” – ThisIsTheCaptain
As tragic of a situation as this was, one might argue that when a parent decides to disown their child and become estranged from them, they become estranged from all aspects of their child’s life, including the end of it.
While it might be kind to let the parents know of their child’s passing, most of the subReddit agreed this was no longer information they were entitled to receive, and even if they were, only the next of kin would be responsible for sharing it.