Losing a parent when you have a kids of your own can be a confusing experience.
On one hand, it’s important to grieve the one you lost, doing all you need to adequately process the emotions that arise.
And yet, as the parent of someone who also depends on you, you have to regulate those emotions enough to provide an appropriate environment for you child.
One Redditor recently struggled with that balance. She described the experience in a post to the “Am I the A**hole (AITA)” subReddit.
Right in the post’s title, the Original Poster (OP), known as belkalys on the site, gave a clear indication of how fraught that dynamic can become.
“AITA for telling my 11-year-old son to f’k off?”
She began with some context.
“The title sounds bad, but I feel bad and I want to hear other opinions.”
“I [34-year-old female] lost my mother to colon cancer in March of last year. I haven’t been the same since and I’m still not over her death.”
“It was very sudden. She had been diagnosed with stage two colon cancer in December 2018 and had been improving until three weeks before where she rapidly got worse and passed away with numerous health issues.”
Then OP outlined the path her mourning took.
“I was diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety when I was 25 and this only made my mental health worse.”
“But recently, I’ve found myself talking about my mother a lot more which is a slight improvement, as I used to try not to think about her at all.”
“For one reason or another, this has been irritating my 11-year-old son. Lately when I mention my mother around him, he just seems annoyed.”
Recently, OP felt a small breakthrough.
“A few days ago was a year since my mother passed, and that day I prepared a meal for my husband, son, and I that my mother used to make for me and my siblings for special occasions.”
“I planned to spend that evening reminiscing and telling my son about my mother since he only saw her a few times.”
“I wanted to start remembering only the good memories because I feel mentally and physically tired from grieving.”
But it wasn’t appreciated by everyone.
“While we were eating, my son made a snobby comment about the meal, and I told him to be respectful because it was my mother’s recipes and that we were remembering her.”
“I will never forget what he said next. ‘Why does everything have to be about grandma? Why can’t you get over it?’ “
“Then I snapped. I used to cuss a lot as a teenager, but I’ve gotten out of the habit because I don’t want to accidentally say something at work… but the words just came out this time.”
“I hit the table loudly and told my son to f off, twice.
“I instantly apologized but now he won’t speak to me.”
OP found herself struggling to respond to the incident.
“My husband has been taking his side, and today he suggested that I go to my sister’s house nearby for a few weeks until I ‘cool down.’ “
“I was at the point where I finally felt like I could get better, and now I’m lower than I’ve ever been before.”
“I feel like an absolute a**hole but I just couldn’t help it, and my husband is making me feel like one too. AITA?”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
While there were mixed responses in the comment section, a clear majority of Redditors identified OP as the a**hole in this situation.
“YTA. I get you are grieving, but you cannot involve your son in this process. You are placing a lot of expectations on an 11 yr old.”
“Like, you honestly thought an 11 yo boy was going to sit around reminiscing about his dead grandmother he met only a couple times? Come on. Find yourself a grief counselor and leave him out of it.” — False-Explanation702
“YTA If you find yourself in a position where you have to tell your young child to fuck off then you are failing as a parent.”
“If you knew that your son was sick of hearing about your mother(sounds like husband is too but merely being polite) then what were you expecting exactly from your plan to have a night of stories about her?”
“Your grief is affecting your home life, maybe instead of expecting everyone to accommodate you indefinitely you might benefit from grief counseling.” — Dookwithanegg
“YTA. Have you not realized that he basically doesnt have a mom anymore and thats why hes snippy?”
“Your grief affects him too. Do your family and yourself a favour and get therapy.” — rougeadmiralannie
Others were even more blunt.
” ‘I used to cuss a lot as a teenager’ yeah you and a billion other parents who are somehow mature enough not to tell their kid to fu** off. YTA” — greenseraphima
“YTA. He is ELEVEN.” — ilovesarasboots
“YTA You’re doing something called emotional abuse.” — AmITheA**holeRP
“YTA He will remember that ‘fu** off’ from his mom for the rest of his life.” — wannaseemytriforce
“YTA. Quit blaming him for getting sick of your shi**y behavior.” — Ocean_Spice
A handful of people did, however, extend some sympathy to OP.
“NTA. The child was rude and insensitive. Everyone loses their sh** sometimes. Op is not perfect, and it doesn’t mean she loves her child any less. NTA.” — Ambry215
“NTA. But I would definitely never do that again and apologize profusely. I’m not saying what you did is okay, but under the circumstance, I empathize with you.” — tameless_over_tacos
Clearly, OP took the feedback to heart. She added a couple of edits to explain a few other key details–and share further reflections.
“EDIT: I know this sounds absurd, but when I say the words “just came out,” I mean it. I haven’t used that word in years and it was almost as if something possessed me for a moment and let out all my anger and negative emotions I’ve been bottling up.
“My son has picked up several swear words from school including the f word, and I’ve caught him using it more than once (not towards people, though).”
“Since my son is growing up, my husband has been using these words more often as well (not usually around my son), and I guess that hearing them so often has just brought them back into my vocabulary.”
“To everyone suggesting counseling/therapy, thank you. I started looking for a therapist a couple days ago and I am scheduled for bi-weekly, hour-long therapy sessions beginning next week.”
There you have it. An example of how the autonomous contributions of strangers on the internet can actually lead to a positive development.