TW: Death of a child.
Losing a child is one of the most painful things a parent can endure.
The despair of it can be all-consuming and everyone deals with that pain in their own way – and in their own time.
So, what happens when someone pushes for you to move one when you aren’t ready and you lash out at them?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) AgreeableAffect7090 when she came to the “Am I the A**Hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
“AITA for telling my niece her dog is not comparable to my child?”
OP began with a tragedy.
“I lost my 15-year-old daughter in a car accident last year.”
“I have not been able to clean her room or go in it, so it’s the same as it was when she was alive.”
“My husband doesn’t go in there either, and we keep the door closed.”
“I don’t go anywhere except work anymore, and while I’m in therapy, it isn’t helping very much.”
“My niece is 17 and has always been extremely empathetic to animals, but unempathetic to other people.”
“Her dog passed away two years ago, and she was very torn up for months but has completely moved on now.”
Then she got to the start of the issue at hand.
“Last week, she came to stay with us for the night, and my husband made her a bed on the couch.”
“She asked why she couldn’t sleep in ‘the guest room’, and I told her, confused, we don’t have one- we live in a 2-bedroom house.”
“Niece said that she thought our daughter’s room was the guest room now.”
“I explained that we hadn’t been able to change anything yet, and she rolled her eyes and said it was a year ago, and we need to move on.”
“When I started crying, she tried to apologize and, I think in an attempt to relate, said she had taken the loss of her dog very hard but got over it within a year, and I screamed that my child wasn’t a dog.”
“My husband came in to moderate, and ended up telling my niece to go home, called an Uber for her.”
“I haven’t spoken to her since, but my sister reached out and said I was being unreasonable and had made niece ‘feel like a monster'”.
“I didn’t mean to upset my niece, but I felt that she was completely out of line.”
OP was left to wonder,
Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: NTA
Some chalked up Neice’s poor word choice to youth.
“Please accept my profound sympathy for the tragic loss of your daughter.”
“I’m sure it’s devastating and the experience is life-changing.”
“Being told to get ‘over’ it is unrealistic. May you find solace soon.
“Niece panic indicates to me she was way over her head when she said those things to you.”
“She probably tried to find common ground but ended up making it worse. And you’re right – not the same things.” ~ stacity
“NTA and I’m so sorry for your loss.”
“Your niece is young and maybe was trying to relate to you with the only experience she’s had.”
“Until you’ve lost a child (I have), you cannot possibly understand the depth of sorrow.”
“Please, try to forgive her, she meant well.”
“But forgiving her ignorance does not mean ‘moving on’ or cleaning out that room. You take as long as you need.” ~ Restin_in_Pizza
Others pointed out that though Niece is young, she’s not naive.
“Also wishing you peace and healing OP.”
“No matter the niece’s intention, her comments were completely out of line. Given the circumstances, I don’t think anyone can fault you for your reaction.”
“She is young not not a child; she can comprehend that there are consequences for her actions.”
“Her words were flippant and callous.”
“The niece and your sister should be more concerned about how she hurt you + apologizing vs making you feel bad for how she feels.” ~ Electrical-Date-3951
“I also can’t sense good intentions.”
“I’m not her age, I’m a year older, but I didn’t magically reach some epiphany in the last year, and I’ve never gone through anything tragic—”
“Despite this, 16 year-old me would know that rolling my eyes at a grieving parent is permanently relationship altering” ~ LevelOutlandishness1
“But the niece is definitely an AH.”
“Who rolls their eyes and says it’s been a year and that her aunt should get over it?”
“Let’s not use her age as an excuse.”
“She knew she was being rude, and that was a completely inappropriate thing to do. I would’ve called my sister and asked her to take the kid home.” ~ IndigiSquash18
There were personal stories too, of course.
“I bet the niece has never lost a human she loved yet.”
“My father died when I was 7 and it took a long time before any of my friends could relate to my feelings.”
“I was happy that they didn’t have to go through something that dramatic yet.”
“But one day when we were at uni a friend lost her aunt whom she was super close with.”
“She was understandably devastated.”
“One day she came to me and just gave me a hug, no words, she just walked up and wrap her arms around me.”
“She said she just woke up that morning and thought about how horrible it would have been if she hadn’t had her aunt in her life.”
“She suddenly thought of me and felt bad that she never understood why I would have bouts of depression or how to relate.”
“She was always a happy bouncy person and just didn’t understand the exponential loss compared to losing her cat.” ~ Any_Lead_5506
“I lost my Mom this spring. I didn’t see it coming.”
“I’m old enough that many of my friends have lost parents.”
“I thought I understood how big a loss that would be, but, no, no I didn’t.”
“Now I do, and it’s like belong to club I never wanted to join. But when one of them say ‘Hey, I get it’, I know they do.” ~ Squigglepig52
Some saw this as an experience problem.
“When I was about 40 I felt that my peer group had changed and that I was able to relate to people in a way I never could before. Life was a lot less lonely.”
“I realized eventually that it was because by 40 most people have suffered at least one significant loss (death, divorce, infertility, depression, immigration etc.) and have a kind of humility and empathy that they may have been lacking before.”
“If you lost your dad at 7, it was probably many, many lonely years before most of your peer group suffered anything similar.”
“OP’s niece isn’t a monster.”
“She just doesn’t have this frame of reference yet.”
“It’s true that she lost a cousin but they may not have been close and she may not have experienced a lot of grief.”
“I suspect she’s just a bumbling teenager who learned something important here and felt awful after saying something insensitive.”
“As she should.”
“OP isn’t TA either, she’s doing her best in unimaginable circumstances.”
“NAH.” ~ Hoistedonyrownpetard
Commenters hoped this would be a learning experience for Neice.
“I think this is exactly what happened.”
“Niece said something sh*tty, realized she was wrong, and tried to show empathy the best she could.”
“Many 17 year olds haven’t experienced anything like the loss of a child, and so she reached for the most devastating thing that happened to her, which was losing her dog.”
“Of course OPs daughter and her dog aren’t the same, and OP deserves to be upset and take her time to grieve in a way that is best for her.”
“Hopefully, this will teach the niece some empathy and understand that her words have consequences.”
“After my grandfather passed away when I was 15, I was telling a friend how upset I was.”
“They had lost a pet recently, and told me they understood how I felt.”
“I was really upset, because it wasn’t the same, and she couldn’t understand.”
“Later, after I told my dad about it, he told me that she probably couldn’t understand how I felt exactly, but that she was trying to help me by being supportive and empathizing.”
“I hope that OPs niece meant the comparison the same way.”
“However, OP was right to feel upset and hurt by her comments and husband removing the niece from the house was the best course of action.” ~ Additional-Tea1521
“I have not climbed Mount Everest and I know that it is way harder than going for a hike on vacation.”
“I have not lost a child and I know that it is unimaginable.”
“It does not take a genius to figure this out. People talk about what it means to loose a child.”
“It IS very weird that niece does not see the difference.” ~ Nowordsofitsown
The loss of a child is devastating.
It can destroy relationships and scar families for years.
The important thing to remember is that grief can touch people in different ways and at different times, and those touched by it deserve the time to deal with it in their own way.