Grief takes a new form for every person, including parents who have lost a child and their marriage, as well.
For one father, he found himself grieving all over again when his ex-wife married another man and announced they would be giving their baby the same name as the son she had lost.
The father, OP (Original Poster) “throwawaykidname” shared the situation in the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit, wondering if he was wrong for being angry or grieving his ex-wife’s decision.
The OP asked the thread:
“AITA for being angry that my ex wife named her new son after our late son?”
The OP shared how they married young and decided to have kids right away.
“My (33[Male]) and my ex, Lana (33[Female], fake name) were married for four years. We got married at 18 straight out of high school and had our kid a year later. In hindsight, disaster waiting to happen (the marriage).”
“We had a boy, Nathan. Nathan was stolen from us four years later. It ended us. I’m still in therapy.”
Though the OP is not ready to move on, he’s happy for his ex-wife’s progress.
“A few years after our divorce (we’re now 26), she met Steve (fake name). Steve and Lana dated and eventually got married. I was genuinely happy for them both.”
“When they got pregnant, I was thrilled for Lana. It reminded me of Nathan, and it brought back a lot of heartbreak, but I was really happy she was building a new family. I’m not there yet.”
But her choice of a name for her new baby was too much for the OP.
“Last week she gave birth to a boy and announced that she’d named him Nathan. Officially, Nathan the second (like you would with your pets).”
“In a Facebook post, she put his photo next to our Nathan and wrote a tribute, but I just couldn’t. I lost it. I called her up and demanded she change his name. That she had no right. There were a lot of words exchanged before I broke my phone.”
The OP was not supported by his family for feeling this way.
“Not long after I received a call from my sister telling me I was an AH (a**hole) for how I reacted, and that I’m not respecting her grief. She’s since gotten the family involved who are siding with my ex. My mother is insisting I should be grateful that God has given Nathan back to us.”
Worse, someone sent word back to my therapist whose scheduled an emergency session for this afternoon.”
“Everyone is calling me TA (the a**hole) and I feel like I’m losing my mind.”
After receiving a slew of questions, comments, and personal messages, the OP added a few more details to his post.
“Our son was stolen from us by a driver ignoring schoolbus stopping laws. Now stop f**king asking.”
“My ex and I are/were still close because we continued grief counselling together even after the divorce. We couldn’t cope together under the same roof, and that led to the divorce, but we didn’t hate each other.”
“My ex and my family are still close because we’ve all known each other since we were kids. My sister was Nathan’s godmother, and maid of honor at Lana’s wedding.”
“I won’t change therapists because of this. I’ve been with her for many years now. She’s one of my anchors.”
The OP also shared an update about working with his therapist and what the family had discussed without him.
“I had a long session with my therapist and we’re working on managing my hurt again. I feel like I’m back at square one. I don’t know who notified her, but I have my suspicions.”
“Right now, because of the pandemic, moving is not an option. But she’s encouraged the idea of getting away. I know she meant more go to a cottage, but I’m considering uprooting my life and just leaving.”
“I also found out that Lana had spoken to my sister about the name, who then brought our mother into the fold. They both gave Lana their blessings, and my mother made the promise to speak with me about it because ‘speaking to me about Nathan is still a taboo subject’.”
“Obviously, no one ever spoke to me about it.”
“I’m just so tired.”
Fellow Redditors commented on the OP’s situation, using the following scale:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Redditors supported the OP’s grief and encouraged him to continue therapy, make new boundaries, and anything else he needed to do to be on the mend again.
“At the very least, she should’ve spoken to you about it beforehand, it seems like she’s not respecting your grief.”
“Also, whoever contacted your therapist needs a slap, that is not okay.” – schmoigel
“No. This is absolutely something that requires an emergency session imo. Grief, especially when triggered by something this big, is a suckerpunch and it can knock you right out. There is no harm at all in getting help to work through it.”
“We don’t know the things OP may have said in his state of grief (either in the past or present), and family members may have reason to be seriously worried for him while he’s being triggered this badly. I do agree that he’s NTA, though.” – feverdraem
“Also. He physically got violent and broke his phone. An emergency session is probably a great thing, and I’m glad someone is watching out for him.” – blueballoon80
“Yes! This is the only outsider action that wasn’t an AH move. Whoever called his therapist was actually being a friend to him.”
“It would have been better to have OP making that call, but OP may also have been acting out in ways that caused his family and friends to truly worry about his wellbeing. It’s not a normal thing to break your phone after a conversation. And while it’s totally acceptable to be that upset over something like this, it is also a sign that you need some support.” – qednihilism
Some also questioned whether Lana was still in therapy and suggested she should be.
“It’s an AH move to name your kid after their dead half brother. She has put unnecessary grief on OP and a ton of expectations on the kid” – iwastoldnottogohere
“I’d be willing to bet she no longer sees a therapist.” – WiptyWap
“What I don’t understand is how her new husband is okay with this. This Woman’s obviously still not in therapy anymore or she’s mentioned nothing about this to her therapist.”
“Frankly if her husband knows about her past and let her go through pregnancy without seeing that she was getting therapy as well then he’s being highly irresponsible to. So many bad things could have happened not just after but during pregnancy that considering her background would have been a must. And I can’t believe her own parents are okay with this.” – EvilLoynis
Most Redditors were more concerned for the new baby and the life he would have as “Nathan the Second.”
“So God decided to give Nathan back, born to a different couple with no biological relation to OP, and OP won’t be involved in his upbringing, all while the kid will forever be seen as Nathan v2. OP’s family is super f**ked up for thinking this is something to be happy about.” – herasi
“That’s very disturbing. I feel sorry for the kid- he’s going to be raised with the expectation that he turn out like the child who died.” – WaldoJeffers65
“Just imagine the kind of undue burden that will be placed on him if his mother doesn’t come to terms with her grief. Everything she had planned for her first boy will be doubled down on him.” – Vagrant123
“It’s probably a weird thought but do you think there will be negative reactions if the child doesn’t like the same things as the previous Nathan?”
“I mean, he was only four but surely, there were somethings he was growing interested in. Will they always compare him to previous Nathan? Will they go on and on about the previous Nathan to him?”
“It does feel odd but then again, these are just thoughts. It may not happen at all.” – -coccinellidae-
“That’s exactly what’s going to happen. If the ‘new Nathan’ doesn’t like the same tv shows, doesn’t have the same favorite color and animal, etc. there’s going to be a metric f**kton of pushback from everyone.”
“Poor kid is going to grow up being told what his favorite things are and that any divergence from that is a disrespect to his brother’s memory. He’s gonna need all the therapy” – CatdogIsBae
“I wasn’t ‘officially’ the replacement kid, but it sure as h**l felt like it. My oldest brother died about two years before I was born.”
“My entire life, I’ve been compared to him. For looking like him, for acting like him, even liking the same toys he liked to play with. I felt I could never live up to him, his legacy.”
“Nowadays it’s not so bad, but it’s left me with conflicting emotions about my older brother. I mourn the loss of a brother I never met, but it’s hard to let go of the resentment of being compared to him all these years.” – Neverisadork
The weight that will potentially be placed on this child is unimaginable. But it’s also so hard to grasp what this father must be going through.