If “the truth shall set you free”—but it’s “rude to speak ill of the dead”—is it better to be free or be rude?
22-year-old Reddit user AutomaticYak3618 found himself facing off against some of his family members after he opted to speak freely about his uncle at his funeral. It sparked drama, but drama doesn’t necessarily mean he was wrong.
So he asked the AITA (“Am I The A**hole?”) subReddit for their thoughts.
“AITA for not pretending someone wl:
as a good guy just because he died?”
Before we get into it—and yeah, it’s a lot—let’s go over what the AITA subReddit is and how it works.
AITA (“Am I The A**hole?”) is a sounding board where people can talk about those morally grey area moments in life where they’re not sure if they were the bad guy or not.
People tell their stories as posts. Other reddit users respond to the original poster (you’ll see them called “OP” quite often) in the comments and cast their votes.
Voting Options Are:
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Now that you understand how it works, I would normally just get straight back to OP’s story.
In this case, though, I want to take a moment and caution readers some of the conversation ahead might be triggering. It centers on lecherous older family members—the “creepy uncle” trope—younger relatives feeling sexualized, etc…
It may be an uncomfortable read for some people.
Now back to OP choosing truth and keeping the funeral real.
“My uncle (48) had a habit of leering at my younger cousins (late teens/early 20s). They’re his nieces.”
“He always initiated hugs with them (they never initiated), and when hugging them his hand just always looked a bit too low on their backs. And once I saw him staring at his niece’s cleavage.”
“On Facebook, he was always posting about how much money he made on some deal (he worked in finance). He would also post pics of him with women from his workplace–all attractive, much younger than him.”
“It’s a finance job, not a modeling gig. It’s obvious he purposely only hung out with the attractive women.”
“As far as I know, he didn’t do anything more than that – just made girls feel like this older, overweight dude is eye-f*cking them.”
“He never seemed to do anything in his free-time that didn’t put him near some younger women/girls. It was always a girl that was 18+, by the way, just much much younger than him.”
“He died a couple weeks ago from diabetes and the funeral was last week. The service went smooth and the eulogy / anyone who talked about him, mainly focused on his work accomplishments.”
“Then people gathered around and had snacks/drinks.”
“I was in a group of about 7 people, including some cousins, and an uncle and aunt. The uncle and aunt were talking about how selfless he was, telling a story about how he helped people he barely knew.”
“They gave the example of my cousin’s 19-year-old friend; he assisted her by helping her move furniture.”
“I remember this incident.”
“The girl had a housewarming and invited my cousin (her friend), and some friends over for. She told my cousin she could bring some friends.”
“On the night of the party, my cousin told me about it and said she wanted me to come because I was studying too hard lately. She invited me in front of some family, including the uncle who died.”
“The uncle invited himself over because my cousin said she could bring friends. He came with us because no one felt like telling him no.”
“At the party, he was the oldest one there.”
“The host mentioned she needed help to move furniture around and make things look better. My uncle’s ears perk up and he says he has a professional interior designer friend, and he’d love to help her.”
“He then asked ‘How’s Saturday? I’m supposed to see her then anyway. You’ll love my friend. She’s great’.”
“The friend said ‘yeah… that works’.”
“I got the feeling like he used his female friend to make the 19-year-old feel more comfortable about him coming over.”
“Later, I heard that after the interior designer left, he stayed back to talk with her for a long while before she finally got the guts to say she had to go and couldn’t talk to him anymore.”
“After my (living) uncle and aunt tell the story about my (deceased) uncle helping someone he barely knew, I said ‘Well, I mean, I think he was just trying to hit on her’.”
“Everyone gave me a shocked look, except my younger cousins. They looked like their day just brightened up because someone finally said it.”
“Everyone else just walked away and didn’t say anything.”
“Later, my parents called me and said I was inappropriate.”
“Am I the a**hole?”
Reddit had some passionate opinions on this one.
“NTA. So many people ‘don’t speak ill of the dead’ but when it’s true it’s true.”
“My mom died a while back and I watched so many people do the same as you describe – ‘so selfless…’ , ‘so full of light…’ “
“Yeah, no my mom was a selfish b*tch. She was a hardcore alcoholic who drove drunk and hurt people.”
“She was abusive and only cared about herself and she was found in a ditch on more than one occasion passed out drunk, but I digress.”
“NTA because you’re realistic. Sorry for rant about my Mom.” – Electric_Tampons
“Ick. I think ESH.”
“This wasn’t really the right time or place, but it clearly needed to be said.”
“Did you ever speak up about it while he was alive? That would have been the right time.” – GoddessArtemis85
“It sounds like the family knew full well what he was like – a revolting, slimy creeper.”
“’Everyone gave me a shocked look, except my younger cousins. They looked like their day just brightened up because someone finally said it. Everyone else just walked away and didn’t say anything’.”
“Sounds like OP confirmed what a lot of people were thinking here. It certainly doesn’t sound like anyone came to his defense or didn’t agree.”
“’Later, my parents called me and said I was inappropriate’.”
“Again, it doesn’t sound like the parents disagreed. ‘Inappropriate’ is the highest they could put it.”
“Besides, what OP said was an honest opinion in response to the uncle being painted as something he wasn’t.”
“For all OP knows, the uncle actually did overstep when he was alive and OP’s courage to be honest in that moment will lead others to come forward about their experiences.”
“NTA, just maybe a little blunt considering the setting.” – cdizzle516
“Did you call out any of this behaviour when he was alive?”
“From OP’s submission, he knew what was going on already. This is the line that prompted my question:”
“‘They looked like their day just brightened up because someone finally said it’.”
“He’s so proud that he ‘called out’ the old guy, but couldn’t be bothered to do it while the behavior was ongoing.”
“Yeah, don’t speak ill of the dead; do it while they’re alive and actively misbehaving.” – Cent1234
“NTA, it’s complicated because you were at his wake and whilst many of your family didn’t like him, there were some there who clearly did.”
“To be honest the worst thing is (as far as I can tell) no-one stood up to him or told him off for his behaviour whilst he was alive.” – PixelUnicorns
“The OP didn’t say anything overly harsh. He didn’t attack anyone there. He really didn’t even attack the dead uncle.”
“No one was excoriated. The comment doesn’t rise to the ‘don’t trash the corpse at the funeral’ level. Not AH behavior.”
“The people who remember him fondly have fond, if incomplete, memories of their family member. They didn’t say anything at the OP’s comments, they didn’t cause a scene, they haven’t called up the OP threatening to disown him, they just walked away.”
“That’s also not AH behavior.” – ExitingBear
“YTA. You do realize that your entire basis for this uncle of yours being a pig is pure speculation?”
“Like, 0 evidence other than things you believe you observed. The comment was an a**hole comment.”
“Regardless of your true feelings you can let people try to remember someone happily. You’re selfish and an AH.” – Jicle123
“My father just passed from the pandemic, he was a physically abusive a**hole my entire childhood and teens and then I moved out of the family home.”
“The domestic violence was so bad that I still can’t remember some of the events that happened. Each of my siblings has filled in different gaps in my memory, each of us shares and remembers different stuff.”
“In the few weeks since he’s been dead one of my siblings has mentally rewritten our collective history. In separate conversations she has referred to him as a saint, a prophet, the kindest man who did no harm, you get the gist.”
“Hearing him spoken about in this way has made the grieving process more difficult.”
“I’m not even grieving for him, I’m grieving for the lost childhood, the emotional trauma I’m having to undo everyday for the rest of my life and the father daughter relationship I never got to have.”
“I was spared having to attend his funeral because of the lockdown, but I couldn’t avoid having to attend via Zoom call.”
“He was not a good person, he is in fact the worst person I’ve ever had the misfortune of having in my life. I wanted to scream it out and let everyone know, but it’s not the done thing.”
“I wish someone had said something like ‘it was ok not to love him because he was a shit father.’ “
“Your cousin’s will appreciate you validating what they couldn’t articulate because of that rule that we shouldn’t speak ill of the dead. You did a good thing for your cousin’s, you didn’t owe that sleazy uncle anything.” – talkabi
Pretty much nobody was thrilled about the uncle’s alleged behavior. The dividing line for readers seemed to be whether the funeral was the time to say something.
Should OP have called out what he was seeing while the uncle was alive? If he had, would his funeral comment have gotten a pass?