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Dad Bans Ex-Wife From Her Second Husband’s Funeral After She Left Him Over Cancer Diagnosis

Child at funeral
RichLegg/Getty Images

We’ve all heard basic wedding vows, and when we think of two people committing to each other, we think of them staying together no matter what, through the tough times, and definitely in sickness and in health.

But it’s clear that some people don’t really mean that once the times actually do get hard, cringed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor Any-Subject5301 wasn’t totally shocked when his ex-wife divorced her second husband after he was diagnosed with cancer so she could avoid providing his end-of-life care.

But when she wanted to attend his memorial service, the Original Poster (OP) was disgusted.

He asked the sub:

“AITA for banning my son’s mom from a memorial?”

The OP’s ex-wife recently got divorced for the second time.

“My ex-wife Diana and I have three boys who are 16, 12 and 10. We divorced pretty much after the youngest was born.”

“We also both remarried. She married Christopher and got a divorce last year after seven years of marriage. I’m still happily married to my wife Jessica.”

“Christopher and my boys were pretty close and they were bummed when the divorce happened. I always got along with the dude.”

Her reasons for getting divorced were a little shocking.

“A few months after the divorce, Christopher disclosed that the divorce was over his being diagnosed with adenocarcinoma and Diana not wanting to be his nursemaid or responsible for his medical bills. Checks out.”

“He told me this because he wanted to leave whatever he had to my kids. Unfortunately, he had no family of his own.”

“Obviously, I said of course, and signed the paperwork.”

“A few months ago, I got a call from a social worker saying that Christopher was a few months from dying and unable to care for himself. He gave her my number.”

“Basically, they needed someone to help with end of life. He had made me his power of attorney.”

The OP also decided to assist with Christopher’s end-of-life care.

“He was living in a county hospice and my wife and I moved him into our home because he deserved to live his final days in dignity.”

“It also taught my kids about compassion.”

“Unfortunately, he died after two weeks.”

“He was cremated a few days ago and my wife, my kids, a few of our friends, and I are planning to spread his ashes at the beach this weekend.”

The OP was appalled by Diana’s sense of entitlement after Christopher’s death.

“Diana asked if she could attend the memorial service.”

“I told her to kick rocks. She wanted nothing to do with him when he was dying.”

“I’m not saying Christopher was a burden but that’s really sad that this dude had to reach out to his ex-wife’s first husband like he did. It was clearly more her responsibility.”

“I said she couldn’t sit there and let us do all the hard work so she could come in at the end as the grieving widow.”

With emotions running high, the OP put his son in his place.

“My 16-year-old son thinks I should let her come.”

“I told him to mind his own business and mouth.”

“I said, ‘I’m not going to sugarcoat your mom for you. Your mom is a witch and will be treated the same way she treated your stepdad.'”


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 reassured the OP that Diana had no place attending the memorial service.


“If she wouldn’t stay by his side while he fought cancer, she doesn’t get to be at the memorial service you’re arranging. She can mourn without doing so in front of the people who actually gave this man a passing filled with caring and love.”

“Explain to your eldest that if she wishes to do so, his mother is perfectly capable of arranging her own memorial with the boys and whomever else she might wish to invite. You aren’t keeping her from grieving, but can’t bear to watch her cry when you feel she abandoned her husband in his time of need.”

“I recommend that you also explain to your sons, when it is age-appropriate, that their mother divorced their stepdad so she wouldn’t have to care for, or pay for, his medical care; that she received her fair share of assets at the time of the divorce, and that it would be best if they use their inheritance to benefit their own life goals.”

“Explain that the money should be used for things like advanced education, a down payment for a future home purchase, etc… not to just give away to anyone who didn’t know or didn’t support Stepdad in his time of need. That would include not giving money to Mom, but also not giving it to a SO or using it to buy drinks for their buddies.” – teresajs

“Your ex is an absolute ghoul to divorce a man for having an illness. That’s the most polite way I could phrase this. I have a genetic mutation that causes me to be at high risk for certain cancers, and as a single woman, one of my greatest fears is being abandoned because I get sick. NTA.” – Ok-Buddy-7979

“NTA. She can mourn another way, but not with you and your family.” – RnPfaff

“First, NTA at all, and second: I’m here just to say that Christopher sounded like a really good and nice guy and I’m sorry for your loss.”

“What you did, you, your wife, and your family is a brave act and not easy at all. On the contrary, it’s an act that requires a lot of mental strength and it’s not something that a person does for everyone. I’m glad that Christopher had a warm family that supported him in his last days and gave him a big hug when he was saying goodbye to this world.” – RainyDayNuvola

“OP, it sounds like this was an emotional response. Grace and compassion are being taught and with this statement, I think you should step back and take the emotional response out. Apologize for the non-compassionate response and discuss with your sons what a gracious and compassionate response would be.”

“I agree NTA. The ex sounds like a piece of work.”

“NTA by not inviting her or spewing words or anger. Anger only spreads more anger. Adding the resentment/disgust of her actions to your own emotional well-being hurts you, not her. Let her face her own demons and human growth. Be kind to yourself.”

“Sounds like an amazing and selfless thing you did for Christopher.” – Sparks009

Others were on the OP’s side, except for how he spoke to his son.

“YTA. This isn’t about you. It’s not about your ex. It’s about your kids who just watched a stepparent they love die. If it will help them to have their mom there, she should be there.”

“You shouldn’t be taking your rightful anger at your ex out on your son.”

“You did a really wonderful thing for this man. I hate to call you an a**hole.” – SneakySneakySquirrel

“YTA if you told your son to mind his own business. It’s his business you said the kids liked the man.”

“Telling her no is fine. But it’s a conversation with your kids and maybe even a vote she may be everything wrong but still their mum, so it really IS their business.”

“I’m totally on board with not having her there but the kids need to feel heard.” – LoveToMix

“Holy s**t, that is how you talk to and educate your son!? Of course YTA. It’s not about not letting her come but about how you treat your children. ‘He is not a prince’ doesn’t cut it because he is not a doormat either, despite the fact that you are treating him like one.” – Throwaway12342023

“YTA. Don’t demean your children. They have voices and opinions, too. Your ex-wife doesn’t deserve to be at the memorial, but your son doesn’t deserve to be talked down to like that, either.” – TheCanvasAssassin


“Not for excluding Diana from the ceremony; that’s probably for the best for everyone else *and* for her, given how people who knew them both likely view her… but don’t speak poorly of her to the older son.”

“And good God, don’t tell him to ‘watch his mouth’ when he expresses disagreement with you over a moral and ethical question. That’s ugly.”

“While you’re right to use Christopher’s final days as an exercise in compassion, it’s also worth turning some of that compassion onto Diana, who has done a horrible thing and must live with the consequences. But despite having been married to her, you don’t fully know her heart, her situation, or the rationales for her decisions.”

“Divorcing him at the outset may have been less cruel than neglecting him, for instance. And medical bills aren’t anything to sneer about, either. It’s easy from the outside to say, ‘She should’ve just accepted it!’ when medical debt is the number one cause of bankruptcy in the US (assuming you’re in the US). Should she have just accepted losing her house? Possibly losing her ability to care for her kids?”

“And oh, lord, caregiving is awful. My grandmother died just over a year ago, and I watched my mother take care of her. It’s soul-draining work. Diana might have known herself well enough to know that she simply couldn’t do that.”

“Now, all that said, I couldn’t cut someone I loved off. I’ve been married for over 23 years now, and if my husband is dying, as we all will at some point, I will love him and do my best (although I’m definitely NOT the caregiving type, either).”

“But I’m not going to judge someone with school-age children and a fear of bankruptcy for saying that she can’t do it and noping out of there early in the diagnosis. I pity her, that she couldn’t find the strength within to help him through it. But I’m neither in her mind nor her shoes.”

“And neither are you.”

“Not saying that you should welcome her with open arms and include her in the ceremony, but treat your kids with the compassion you’re trying to instill in them and say that you don’t think it would be appropriate given how Diana and Christopher parted. And don’t degrade their mother to your children, even if you think she’s behaved badly.”

“Compassion is a beautiful virtue, but it’s not genuinely compassion if you only apply it to people you personally deem worthy of it.” – Grump_Curmudgeon

The subReddit was grateful that the OP had stepped up for his ex-wife’s ex-husband when his ex-wife had not.

“In sickness and in health” clearly did not apply here, but chosen family did, and while emotions had clearly run high and the OP had said some things that he may regret later, the subReddit otherwise felt that he had done an incredible thing when it mattered most.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.