Being the person who has to tell anyone a loved one has died is one of the worst positions to ever be in.
Whether you’re a doctor, nurse, friend, police officer or loved one, it’s never going to leave a good memory.
In that moment you are one of the villains in one of the most awful stories that person is ever going to hear. There is no perfect way to deliver such news and there is definitely no one way to receive such news.
So that is when communication can get messy—when people struggle to deliver bad news.
That was the situation faced by Redditor Annonymous3542 so they turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.
“AITA For excluding my husband from my brother’s funeral after he called me with the news and told me to guess?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained their situation.
“I lost my brother in a motorcycle accident 3 weeks ago at the age of 21.”
“This was sudden and devastating beyond measure. I live 3 towns away from my entire family and I didn’t know about it right away.”
“My husband was calling when I walked into the room where my phone was on vibrate and charging. I answered and he asked why I didn’t answer my sister’s calls.”
“I asked why and whether she called him. He said yes then proceeded to tell me he received the news of a family members death from her.”
“I was shaking at this point while I was waiting for him to tell me more but he said ‘guess who!'”
Well that’s one way to break bad news.
“I angrily told him to stop it and tell me but, he still thought it’s fine to ask me to guess, that’s when I lost it on him because my nerves were done.”
“I yelled at him then hung up and immediately called my sister and she told me it was our youngest brother.”
“I had an awful reaction because this is my baby brother that I adored so much and my husband knew how much I cared about him.”
“I drove to my hometown 6 hours away, by myself, and my husband was mad after he found out I didn’t wait for him to take him with me.”
“I told him I didn’t want him there after how he treated me and played my emotions like that. He said he was trying to prevent me from being traumatized and didn’t want to dish the news all of a sudden.”
There are always so many emotions flying around when grief is involved.
“He wanted to come but I said I’d have kicked him out if he showed up. Which got him pissed, yelling that I had no right to rob him of saying goodbye to his favorite brother in law.”
“He said my anger was misplaced and I was taking it out on him for no reason other than being the ‘bearer of the bad news’ and that nobody wants to be that person.”
“But he tried to be as nice as he could about it.”
“I haven’t talked to him ever since despite him calling me to come home so we can talk.”
Redditors wasted no time in sharing their thoughts by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors overwhelmingly supported the OP and felt they were justified in their anger at their husband’s behavior.
“‘Guess who’?! Who says that in this kind of circumstance?”
“NTA. I’m so sorry for your loss; may your baby brother’s memory be a blessing.”
“Also, maybe take some time to think about how invested you are in the marriage.
Telling you someone died and then saying, ‘Guess who?’ doesn’t leave me optimistic that he’d be able to handle, say, you having a serious illness or something where you’d need support.” ~Significant_Frame197
“NTA. How does making you guess help YOU?”
“You have to process in your mind the potential deaths of all your family members until you guess the right one?! That’s horrific!”
“Anything you had to do to protect yourself after that was understandable! Ugh!” ~TurbulentDrawing6
Our OP felt backed up by that comment.
“You’re right, and I felt absolutely devastated before I even knew about my brother’s death because like you said I started wondering whether it was mom, aunt, any of my brothers or even my nieces.”
“It was awful I felt so much anger I lost it on him.” ~ Annonymous3542
“OP’s husband is possibly the cruelest person I’ve read about on AITA. He calls his wife to tell her someone in her family has died and decides to make a game of it and have her guess.
“Guess which of your relatives has died, honey! Isn’t this fun?”
“This beats ‘burned the candle my girlfriend made with her sister just before her sister died because I hoped it would make her sad and need me’ guy.” ~ thistleandpeony
“I said I’d have kicked out if he showed up which got him pissed yelling that I had no right to rob him if saying goodbye to his favorite brother in law.”
“And yet husband had no problem robbing you of a simple, no games notification that an immediate family member passed away?”
“The lack of self awareness is (almost) astounding, as is the ‘I’m making the death all about me and my feelings’ attitude.”
“It’s not hard to understand that in certain situations like tragic news, one doesn’t joke around, play mind games etc.”
“If he really wanted to be nice and helpful, usually saying something simple like, “hun, I’m so sorry to tell you that your brother passed away. What do you need from me?” Does wonders.” ~ Lilpanda20
“The fact is, he was NOT the bearer of the bad news, your sister was. You had to ring her in an absolute panic to find out who had died.”
“He WAS the bearer of emotional manipulation and abusive behaviour, he is so much worse than an a**hole.”
“NTA by a long streak… tell him to ‘guess’ when you’re collecting your belongings.” ~ 3rd-time-lucky
“He did this to be cruel. He knew exactly what he was doing. Does he often behave cruelly toward you and then gaslight you?”
“His behavior in this post was extremely manipulative. He’s an outright liar who enjoys hurting you and rubbing salt in a fresh wound.” ~ MarieMarioMaria
People certainly had strong reactions to this husband’s actions.
“He essentially magnified the trauma. In that split second you imagined the loss of so many of your family.”
“He made it infinitely worse and now is only thinking of himself, his loss of his favorite BIL [brother-in-law] . Not you. I’m so sorry OP.”
“I’d end a relationship in a heartbeat if they thought a family bereavement was a guessing game and made it all about themself. Think carefully about whether this is his normal behaviour.”
“Even a one-off of selfishness and callousness in these circumstances would be hard to forgive. If this is just who he is do you really want to live with this?” ~ BrickTopsHenchman
That is a lot to process.
Death and the reactions to death always are though.
Let’s hope everyone involved finds a healthy way to find peace and heal.
Sorry for your loss Annonymous3542.