The holidays can be tough. It’s easy to paint on a smile and indulge in the Hallmark of it all.
But deep down for many, it can be a very painful time of year.
Tragedy and sadness doesn’t take a holiday, and this particular holiday can be a profound reminder of great loss.
The older we get, the more we have to learn about navigating celebration and pain, for ourselves and others. And it is not a jolly situation.
Case in point…
Redditor MysteriousOption3067 wanted to discuss their story for some feedback. So naturally they came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.
“AITA for ‘not caring’ about my neighbor’s daughter’s death?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“So this just happened.”
“I live in a gated community with my parents and my brother and his g[irl] f[riend], we all love Christmas so when it’s time to decorate, we all have a great time doing it together as a family activity.”
“Anyhow, we have a family as neighbors that had 2 little girls, sadly, one of the girls passed away like 1-2 weeks ago, we don’t know what happened, just that it didn’t happen in the house.”
“So a few days ago we decorated and everything was fine, until it wasn’t.”
“Like an hour ago we heard someone nock on the door, so I go and it was my neighbors.”
“I greeted them and commented on how lovely their dog is (they came over while walking him). They seemed stand-offish, like I had offended them or something, so I just asked if they wanted to come in.”
“They said no and proceeded to yell at me about my family being disrespectful to their mourning and that it was inconsiderate for us to be in front of the house where they could see us, having fun decorating, and leaving all the decorations on when we ‘obviously know how much it meant to their little girl.'”
“I was baffled to say the least.”
“My dad heard the argument and came down and basically told them that he is deeply sorry for their loss, but that they can’t expect all the families in the neighborhood to just ‘cancel Christmas.'”
“Like would they get mad at family reunions to celebrate too?”
“He explained that Christmas is also a emotionally heavy for us, since it’s the time of the year that both my parents were diagnosed with cancer, and had to spend several years on the hospital right in this season, so therefore, we use it to celebrate being all here and together.”
“He told them they were more than welcome to come over to decorate the tree all together since the other little girl loves doing it, and that it would be something that could cheer her up a bit, but that they can’t ask us to change our family dynamics.”
“Whether we celebrate Christmas or not, and if we can ‘go on with our lives’ because they said that it’s unfair that they’re stuck with they’re grief and nobody else is showing any.”
“(We did send them flowers and cooked some meals to take to them so they wouldn’t have to worry about cooking).”
“The mom started crying hysterically and acting a bit erratic, afterwards he kicked them out, and they left yelling all sorts of insults and stuff and saying we’re awful neighbors for not caring about their daughter’s death.”
“My grandma said it cost us nothing to just take the decorations down and do family activities in other places, and that we were AHS for how we treated a grieving family.”
Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors declared our OP, and their family are NOT the A**hole.
It’s a tricky situation.
Let’s hear some thoughts…
“NTA. I mean, they’re grieving so I get the super irrational behaviour.”
“But you haven’t done anything wrong and the neighbours will accept that to be true eventually. Maybe not this year, but eventually.” ~ Distracted-Pancake
“OP’s dad explained it perfectly. Their daughter’s death sucks, but they can’t take it out on others.”
“OP’s family didn’t ‘not care’ about her death. They even sent flowers and cooked meals for the neighbors. Yelling and hurling insults makes the neighbors AHS.” ~ GoodGirlsGrace
“While I definitely agree that OP is NTA I can’t label the other family AHS.”
“Yes their behavior is inappropriate but I can’t even imagine the sheer pain and mental anguish of having a child die just weeks before Christmas.”
“I’m sure they are lashing out in grief and an attempt to control something when everything in their life seems completely out of their control.”
“Whether they are AHS will be determined by whether they apologize when they are thinking more rationally later.” ~ WillfullyUnwoke
“NTA. Your families points are all valid. Yes it would be hard for them, but in the nicest way possible, that’s a them problem.”
“It seems as though your grandma just feels a bit guilty and is pandering to them. You guys have done nothing wrong.”
“P.S. this is coming from someone who’s mother died Christmas Day, and who’s best friend died in a car crash Boxing Day.”
“Don’t get me wrong it’s bloody hard, but I can’t expect everyone to cancel Christmas for me.”
“Maybe cos the death is so fresh, but still, they can’t take it out on you guys.” ~ GuiltyPick
“NTA. Your family was not in the wrong to say it was unreasonable for that family to expect you to do things differently.”
“I just hope that your Dad said all this gently.”
“If there is one time that acting unreasonably is somewhat reasonable it must in the middle of the shock of having just lost a child.” ~ Different_Fan_7240
“NTA. Your father was more than kind and respectful in his explanations.”
“Don’t take it to heart, they are grieving the most unimaginable loss and are misdirecting their anger and frustration at your family.”
“Be understanding while continuing your traditions knowing that they don’t have much of the spirit of Christmas to look forward to this year.” ~ PeteyPorkchops
“NTA Yeah, it’s terrible for them and it must be very hard to see other families doing what their daughter loved.”
“However they have another child, if they just sit and mope around every Christmas their other kid is just going to get seriously messed up.”
“They need to teach their living child that Christmas can still happen without his/her sibling and that it’s still a time for celebration and family togetherness.”
“They can do all that and still mourn and respect their lost loved one.” ~ Arnie013
After hearing everyone’e thoughts, our OP felt compelled to reach out and give an update on the situation.
“Thank you all so much for your opinions and messages.”
“Some of your stories brought tears to my eyes and I am SO sorry you had to experience the loss of a loved one, it never gets easier, you just learn to breath a little better each day.”
“You all sound like amazing people.”
“I showed my dad many of your responses and he just hugged me and said that he was feeling pretty guilty too, and that showing him this actually was literally what he needed to see.”
“And yes, indeed, f**k cancer and a parent having to bury their child, it’s not fair, it’s not okay.”
Well that is all a lot of emotion to wade through.
Life really does like to throw us beatings every now and again.
Cancer is the worst and the death of a child is unimaginable.
Let’s hope both of these families can find peace with their situations.
It sounds like they could all really use it.