We tend to imagine one type of response when a tragic death comes: openly mourning freinds and loved ones.
But a recent post on the “Am I the A**hole (AITA)” subReddit reminded that there are other, arguably more nuanced responses that come too.
The Original Poster (OP), known as Partyintheusa__ on the site, laid it out pretty clearly in the title.
“AITA For not going to my childhood bully’s funeral?”
OP led by discussing an upsetting, complicated aspect of childhood.
“I, 21 female, had a very rough childhood due to constant bullying by a large group of people. The bullying has crippled me, even now that I haven’t seen these people in 3 years. A girl in my school year, we’ll call her Amanda, was one of that group.”
“A few of my friends and a few people from theirs would hangout together and I didn’t for obvious reasons. I never minded because it’s not my place to dictate who my friends spend time with.”
A recent surprise forced OP to make a choice.
“Sadly, Amanda died not so long ago and my friend isn’t talking to me over it.”
“When the news came that Amanda didn’t make it, her social medias were blown up by old peers with condolences, kind messages and thoughtful send offs.”
“I was the only one of my friends not to do so.”
She shared her reasons.
“I didn’t want to for 2 reasons.”
“1) my experiences with her were not the fun and happy kind to talk about in such posts.”
“And 2) in my mind, it would be an insult to do so, seen as though we did NOT like each other in the slightest. Writing how mournful and grief stricken I am would be a slap in the face for both of us.”
Not everyone shared those views.
“When I next saw my friend, she was less than impressed that I didn’t write anything for Amanda on social media but she just went on to ask what I was wearing to the funeral.”
“I said i wasn’t going. This infuriated her.”
“She ranted about all the good memories from school but I had to remind her I had no part in any of them.”
OP was forced to advocate for herself.
“She was not my friend and a funeral is a place for friends and family to be together, grieve a loss and celebrate her life.”
“In all honesty, I could have kept my temper more controlled during the argument myself.”
“It just didn’t sit well with me that she was acting as if herself and Amanda had a close bond when, in reality, they hadn’t talked in the five years since she left school. It all came across as attention grabbing and disingenuous.”
OP eventually had to elaborate.
“My friend said that it is respectful to go and show support to her family but it still sounds insulting to me. I don’t even know her family so my support would bring nothing.”
“If the roles were reversed, I would want my funeral to have nothing negative drudged into it, so that’s what I afforded Amanda.”
“So, am I the a**hole?”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Most Redditors came out in staunch support of OP and her decision.
“NTA. The idea that your friend thinks you should ‘show respect’ to someone in death, who didn’t respect you while they were alive is very strange to me.” — PrincessBuzzkill
“NTA – ‘it is more respectful to go and show support to her family’ its also respectful not to go if you have bad memories of her (e.g. not saying anything negative, not wanting to get out of there, declining to do whatever).” — caw81
“NTA there’s no reason to go to the funeral of someone you had absolutely no good memory. you’re not insulting her you’re not saying people shouldn’t go.”
“All you are doing is saying don’t want to go, for your own well-being and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that no one should push you to go to a funeral of your bully” — Lady_Ellie119
“NTA. Like you said, it would be disrespectful to not only you, but also to her.”
“Regardless, you’re still speaking respectful about her here which shows you’re a good person and I think your friend should realize that you’re someone that actually stays true to their character and doesn’t fake their feelings.”
“Perhaps your friend is blinded by grief herself, but to call you TA for that is an AH move from her side.” — BlackberryMaterial33
“NTA Death doesn’t magically change who that person was.”
“You’re not being disrespectful or cruel by not going, your friend needs to accept your decision and back off.” — IHaveSaidMyPiece
Others noted some irony.
“F no, don’t be bullied. Tell her she’s being a bully” — roscoe_e_roscoe
“Holy crap…,you are NTA. Your “friend” is being a bully like Amanda was. Looks like she did you a favor….you know she’s not really a friend.” — DisneyAddict2021
“Jesus, its almost like you’re being bullied by her memory at this point. This girl was a bully to you (and very recently!). She died. You said nothing mean, you are totally respectful, you move on. That is a lot, you’re great.”
“I have no idea how or why your friend is asking what they’re asking of you, but they’re completely in the wrong. There’s a way you could have handled this inappropriately. You haven’t. NTA” — Flyhro
“NTA. You were mature and moral in your decision to not go and your friend needs to understand that. If she doesn’t, that’s on her, not you.”
“If your friend is looking back at all the good times with her, I think she’s siding (maybe unconsciously) with your bully, as if she was a good person.” — dynasriot
If these comments are any indication, it looks like OP will be opting out of the funeral.
The question still open, though, is how this spat impacts her friendship with the person giving her grief about it all.