Grief is not a straight line and we all walk the path in our time.
Some people move through grieving at one speed and someone else might take three times as long.
This is natural, healthy, and totally expected.
The difficulty is when you have moved beyond your grief but someone else hasn’t and tries to keep you mired as well.
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) autumnstarz when she came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
“AITA for telling my grandma that she can’t expect us all to mourn forever?”
OP began with the tragic past.
“My (19 female) mom died of cancer when I was almost 5.”
“Her passing absolutely devastated my dad.”
“I know he loved her more than anything, and losing her then raising a child on his own was hard.”
She did express how her mother was honored even after passing.
“He always made sure to preserve her memory though.”
“He’d tell stories and show me pictures/videos, take me to visit her family as often as we could, and we still leave fresh flowers at her grave every Saturday morning.”
“He’s always tried to honor her as best he can.”
“For 14 whole years, my father has never even glanced at another woman.”
“I didn’t ever bring up dating to him bc I’ve never lost my spouse. I don’t know what it’s like to love someone who isn’t here anymore, but I also didn’t want him to think or believe that he wasn’t allowed to move on.”
It seems now that Dad is ready to start moving on.
“I know he met someone about six months ago, she works with him, and they are just friends but she makes him happier than I’ve seen him in years.”
“I caught him smiling at his phone a while back and saw that he’d been texting her.”
“They’re totally being flirty with each other.”
“I very subtly let him know that I would never be mad at him for moving on and that none of us deserve to live without love forever.”
“I guess that must have helped him gain the confidence to ask her out, bc he has a date on Friday (he doesn’t know that I know it’s a date but it totally is).”
Everything was fine, until…
“Somehow, my maternal grandmother found out about it, and she called me to ask what was going on with him and this woman.”
“I said that it was dad’s business and that as far as I knew, the woman was only a coworker/friend.”
“My grandma started saying that it was wrong for my dad to even think about dating because he’d taken vows when he married my mother and those vows should’ve been honored even in death.”
“I said, very gently, that it’s been 14yrs since mom died and that she wouldn’t have wanted my dad to live and die alone with only her memory to keep him company.”
OP then lashed out.
“Grandma said that I just didn’t understand, and it was horrible for my dad to want to move on from his wife. Finally, I told her that if she’s still mourning my mom, that’s fine, but she cannot expect the rest of us to put our lives on hold forever for a woman who isn’t here anymore.”
“I know that it really upset her, bc she still hasn’t texted or called me back since hanging up.”
“She hasn’t told my dad how she feels, I’m still hoping he won’t find out about this at all bc I don’t want to mess up the date for him.”
Now, she was left to wonder,
“He should be allowed to move on, I know that, but I just don’t know if I was wrong to be so blunt with my grandmother.”
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 posters felt that OP was justified.
“It was inappropriate for your grandmother to try to tell you what your father is doing is wrong so however blunt you might’ve been (although it doesn’t sound blunt at all), she would still be in the wrong.”
“She may need time to process how you and your father’s relationship with her might change if he does start dating someone else more seriously but that’s for her to deal with.” ~ duckterrarium
“‘Sometimes you need to be blunt and harsh in order to get through to people.'”
“You were blunt and completely NTA here. But it may not be enough.”
“If she ever talks to you again and starts in on this topic remind her that the vows are ‘until death do us part’ and that the marriage officially ends at the death of either party, and the survivor is very much allowed by law and all religions to move on after mourning.”
“There is no such thing as any kind of organization that goes around silencing widows and widowers.”
“Romeo and Juliet were idiot teenagers who could have lived full and healthy lives, it’s a tragedy, not a love story.”
“And remind her your father has been absolutely wonderful in keeping your mothers memory alive for you and your mom couldn’t have asked for better after service (a bit crude but best term I could come up with at the moment).” ~ Throwawayhater3343
“NTA at all. And honestly, from the way you described your conversation, I don’t think you were too blunt.”
“Your father is allowed to move on, ESPECIALLY after almost a decade and a half! Also, marriage vows literally say “til death do us part”…”
“As in, the vows no longer hold your father at all by this point.” ~ Allie614032
Others thought there might be deeper motivations for Grandma’s behavior.
“I agree with everything, nothing OP said was wrong or too out of line. Sometimes you need to be blunt and harsh in order to get through to people.”
“The grandma could be “acting out” because she is afraid another woman will try and encourage OP and OP’s dad to cut her out/go NC/etc.”
“Maybe OP could try telling grandma that? Her attitude about the whole thing could change. 🤷🏼♀️” ~ SprayBottle25
“NTA. This comment should get moved up.”
“Kudos to your dad for raising you by himself.”
“No parent should have to bury their child. They will never get over losing their child.”
“OP and OP’s dad are her last connection to her daughter.”
“She is def afraid of being less and less a part of their lives and losing them both especially now that OP is 19.”
“(Plus no mom likes to see their kid ‘replaced.’ No matter how old you get, you’re still your mom/dad’s ‘kid’) but it’s also been 14yrs.”
“Maybe some reassurances that she’s still very much a part of your lives and gentle reminders of how devoted to your mom’s memory your dad has been these past 14yrs shows no one will ever replace your mom in his heart even if he does start to date.”
“With you being 19 and having your own life and interests, your dad is def lonely. He deserves to meet someone that can make him happy.” ~ hooliganoll
Commenters commended OP for her response.
“NTA. Grief hits people hard and makes some people crazy.”
“Your grandma is still grieving.”
“Don’t worry if your dad finds out what she’s saying. He can handle it.”
“You were absolutely correct. Wedding vows are ‘until death parts us’ or ‘until one of us goes to be with the Lord'”
“Your dad kept his vows to your mother.”
“He is a good father to you.”
“He deserves to have some happiness. When people marry again after a death, it is a compliment to the spouse who died because it shows that they liked being married.”
“Let your grandmother talk. You can’t convince her. Just keep supporting your dad. Much love to you. Big hug.” ~ Sonsangnim
“You have an incredible amount of tact and insight for the situation and how best to approach it.”
“I already think you’re being as gentle, yet firm as you can be in this situation. And all you’re going to get out of most of us is that you’re doing what you can to navigate a tricky situation.”
“Both you and your father can’t deify the dead or inconvenience your lives to fit someone who isn’t here into it. To me, it speaks to an unhealthy relationship with the concept of death and attachment.”
“I’m sure your mother would be proud of you for trying to help your father through this difficult time in his life where he’s making the first steps to find romance again.”
“I’m sure she would understand her own mother’s pain but still rebuke your grandmother’s treatment of you.”
“You have an excellent head on your shoulders.”
“Keep trying your best.” ~ OhNoaDynamiteshark
Death is a natural part of existence, but certainly not a comfortable part.
We all deal with the loss of a loved one – particularly our child – in our own time.
We just have to remember that there is no single timetable for letting go.