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Struggling Woman Upsets Her Family By Refusing To Buy A Birthday Gift For Her Dead Niece

Francesco Carta fotografo/Getty Images

Living in poverty causes all sorts of problems. That includes problems in relationships with friends and family, who are often unable to be understanding when money problems prevent someone from participating in things or being supportive.

That’s the situation a woman on Reddit found herself in following a death in her family. So she went to the AITA (Am I The A**hole) subReddit to get some perspective.

The Original Poster (OP), who uses the name Realistic-Citron-2151, asked:

“AITA for Refusing to Get a Birthday Gift for a Dead Child?”

She explained:

“So I(21F[emale]) have been really struggling recently. I got fired from my job 8 months ago and haven’t been able to find anywhere else that could hire me because of my disability.”

“I have a 3-year-old daughter and her father (who my daughter has never met) got arrested in December and so I don’t get any more financial support.”

“We are currently just moving into different Airbnb’s because my college dorms are closed and I doubt I’d be able to live there anyway with a child.”

“My parents have offered to take my daughter but refuse to let me stay with them (they kicked me out when I turned 18) and I’m not gonna go let my daughter live 8 hours away from me.”

“Well my sister’s daughter had been sick for a long time with a heart condition. I had never met her but I heard about her a lot.”

“She was able to get a heart transplant but her body rejected the heart and she passed away last week. Yesterday was her 6th birthday.”

“My parents decided to send gifts like they would have done if she was still here like a Barbie or dress.”

“My parents called me and asked if I had sent her a gift yet and I said I really can’t right now, my mom started screaming at me over the phone and called me a lot of mean words, saying I don’t care about my niece and my sister.”

“I’m not sure if I would be able to send them a gift even if she was alive. I said to my mom I could send her something small like a little ball or something but she told me that was disrespectful.”

“So far my sister hasn’t said anything to me and I’m not even sure if she will like my parents doing that.”

“I feel so bad for her and I’m willing to support her anyway she needs but in my current situation I’m struggling to feed my own child and I don’t think I should prioritize sending a gift to my sister that she may not even want over feeding and clothing my own child.”


OP came back later to add more information.

“Edit: just got off the phone with my sister, she said she likes the gift giving idea and my parents had asked her if that would be ok to do and she said yes (I didn’t know that when writing this though).”

“She said that she may keep the toys to put at her memorial or give them to some other kids she knows at the children’s hospital however she doesn’t want me to feel required to do it and it’s not an obligation. My parents do still think I’m TA though.”

“Edit 2: Can people stop saying that ‘I just shouldn’t have done the dirty if I couldn’t care for a kid’, let’s just say this baby was not put into me consensually.”

Redditors were then asked to judge who was in the wrong in this heartbreaking situation based on the following vedicts:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH – No A**holes Here

And most of them were not only on OP’s side, but many thought her parents’ demand was downright bizarre.

“NTA, Honestly I find the whole idea of sending birthday gifts for a recently dead child very strange and somewhat insensitive/inappropriate.”

“If I had a child that passed, I think receiving toys they’d never play with would just trigger me into being sadder. Who does that?”

“I think sending flowers and a card for condolences would be a better compromise and might smooth the situation over. If money is tight, maybe just a handwritten letter of condolences to show you care.” Halleaon

“This situation sounds like gifting a present to a recently deceased person is more for the sender than the receiver. It’d make the sender feel better about the situation than the receiver, which is selfish and ignorant as hell.”

“I highly doubt the sister will want any gifts that her daughter will never be able to play with, and their parents sound selfish and ignorant for wanting to send any gifts to her.”

“More evidence that the parents’ reason for sending gifts is selfish is the fact that they want to make their other daughter send a gift when she can’t afford to, and I bet they’re guilt tripping her about it too.” Crafty-Koshka

“NTA, one gotta be a moron to buy gifts for a dead child and send them to the grieving parent”

“‘Oh look, all these beautiful toys your daughter could play with IF SHE WASN‘T F*CKING DEAD LMFAO'”

“Absolutely braindead, your mom needs a reality check.”

“Sorry for your family‘s loss”IAmWayTooThick

“NTA. NTA at all.”

“That said, maybe send your sister a heartfelt card? That may mean so much more to her.”DeterminedArrow

“NTA call your sister. Check in on her. If it feels right, explain the situation, see what she thinks. I wouldn’t think that she’d want those gifts sent after her child has passed…” —shangib723

“NTA – your mom is obviously grieving about the loss of her grandchild and when some people grieve they can be unreasonable over simple things.”

“Call and talk to your sister. Offer your condolences. Sending a gift would be strange in this situation.”dookle14

“NTA. This is really messed up. The last thing I would want to do is open and see gifts that my child would never play with.”

“It seems to be a cruel thing to do to your sister. What your sister actually needs is help paying for her child’s funeral and medical bills. You can send condolences without sending a gift.” —Expensive_Shower_405

Hopefully OP can get the help she needs and mend things with her family.

Written by Peter Karleby

Peter Karleby is a writer, content producer and performer originally from Michigan. His writing has also appeared on YourTango, Delish and Medium, and he has produced content for NBC, The New York Times and The CW, among others. When not working, he can be found tripping over his own feet on a hiking trail while singing Madonna songs to ward off lurking bears.