The death of a child is one of the worst things a parent can face. But what if your child survived when others didn’t?
A woman went to the Am I The A**hole (AITA) subReddit to see if she had done anything wrong when dealing with another mother whose two children died.
Redditor snoo_10010 asked:
“AITA for ‘gloating’ that my child survived a terrible car accident?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“My ex had a child with a woman I’ll call Kate. They split up when their child was a baby.
“We got together and had a child. We broke up, he got back with Kate, and they had another child.”
“So my child was the middle child in that house and they were very close in age, but there was no infidelity.”
Tragedy struck one day during her ex’s visitation.
“One day on his time, they got into a serious car accident due to a drunk driver. Kate wasn’t in the car, but all 3 kids were.”
“Kate’s children both passed away, my child had only minor scrapes. My ex is now disabled for life, and would not be able to care for himself alone.”
“I now have sole custody. My ex doesn’t have visitation time as such as he is incapable of any childcare, but I bring my child to see him regularly as the agreement states.”
“These visits are in a public park or his mother’s house with me, Kate, his mother and our child present.”
“Every time I go over there, she’s giving me an angry look. It’s been a year of these visits, so I finally asked her what her problem with me was.”
“She decided to let it ALL out.”
“She is furious with me because I’m always ‘gloating’ that my child lived and hers didn’t, starting with the hospital, where I was ‘overjoyed’ (duh) and running up to collect my child without thinking about anyone else.”
“I’m apparently the worst because I’m always so happy when she sees me, and I ‘don’t ever acknowledge’ that my child isn’t my ex’s only child. AITA here?”
Redditors were asked to weigh in by telling OP she was:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Some Redditors felt the OP was the a**hole.
“I think I gotta go with YTA. Only a clod wouldn’t realize that she was grieving, angry and probably feeling jealous that your child was still alive while simultaneously feeling guilty for not being happy that your child survived.”
“You really don’t sound very sensitive to her grief in your account.”
“You’re not the AH for continuing about your life and being happy your child is alive, but there was literally no reason to confront Kate about her glaring. I can get being annoyed and upset by it, but in this situation, ignoring it would have been the only kind thing to do.” ~ shortforstormtrooper
“I slightly see OP as a YTA but want to give the benefit of the doubt and believe it’s by accident. And that her sounding cold and selfish here is just the pain and fear from realizing that she and the whole family has been unbelievably cruel to that woman.”
“And yes, I think OP is gloating. Being happy-go-lucky and all ‘yay, isn’t life great, isn’t it nice that grandma and her grandchild play so nicely together’ might not be intended to be gloating but it’s not just fake, but coming across as gloating.” ~ pokethejellyfish
For those who ruled OP was the a**hole, the decision was based partly on the OP commenting that the her ex’s parents had erased all traces of the deceased children.
The OP was joining the grandparents in that effort and stated:
“She was only two when the accident happened. Too young to remember things.”
“She doesn’t remember the accident or having any [siblings] at all. I don’t have pictures of the other kids, and her grandmother (my ex’s mother) scrubbed the pictures she had to show her because she feels that it’s not appropriate to try to force memories that wouldn’t otherwise be there.”
“My ex’s mother thinks that it’s in the past, and there is no good reason to ‘force trauma down a child’s throat’. The other kids were 4 and a baby, so there isn’t a lot to say.”
People decided OP was the a**hole over dubious claims her daughter “didn’t remember” and agreed it would be best to pretend her daughter’s two siblings never existed.
“It’s easy to say, ‘But…the living child!’ but it’s really cruel to act like that in the face of a mother who has gruesomely lost her children and has become a caretaker from one day to the other. And is now not even allowed to look sad or acknowledge her loss and the existence of her two children.”
“And what will this do to the father in the long run? When he isn’t allowed to grieve when his middle child is around?”
“The kid will suffer more in the long run when they continue this cruel game, partly by not acknowledging what happened (which can massively backfire when OP refuses to see signs of trauma and tells the kid she’s actually not remembering/feeling these things), partly because they either raise an equally cruel person or someone who will be heartbroken when she realizes what her mother and grandparents have done.”
“I have sympathy with everyone in this story except OP and the grandparents. Everyone has lost something except OP, whose consequences are being a little inconvenienced while also monopolizing the last living child more than ever.”
“You’d think someone who came so close to losing their kid while a whole family was destroyed just next to her would be a bit more grateful and compassionate.”
“You know what, never mind. I change my verdict from NAH to YTA. Whatever hurt OP thinks she feels at the remark is ridiculously insignificant to what everyone else is going through.”
“Show a little more grace and compassion towards the people whose life has been reduced to a tragedy.” ~ pokethejellyfish
“I was going to say NAH based on the post but then I read your comments and I’m going with YTA. The woman lost her two kids and you approve that their grandmother is erasing all traces of them in their house.”
“You approve it to ‘protect your child’, but pretending they never existed isn’t protecting your child. You’re actively participating in trying to erase these kids’ memory, shame on you and she is right, you’re gloating. Have some empathy.” ~ LadyAlysanne24
“Agreed. My feeling from the post was NAH, but after reading OP’s comments she seems like a big unempathetic YTA.” ~ Maru3792648
Some did say OP was NTA based on her original post, meaning Kate was at fault…
“NTA. She’s not gloating. It’s reasonable for Kate to be envious but accusing you of gloating makes her [the a**hole].” ~ danger_floofs
…but the majority—who had not seen the OP’s clarifying comments about erasing Kate’s children—thought there were no a**holes here.
“NAH. Poor Kate. I truly doubt I could tolerate being around you and your child if I were her either, regardless of how you acted.”
“You’re not doing anything wrong, but maybe suggest that, for her own mental health, Kate find something else to do during these visits.” ~ Equivalent-Ad2804
The OP didn’t say whether she got the validation she wanted from her original post, but if a person really wants to know if they’ve done something wrong, it’s best to tell the whole story and not a sanitized version.