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Mom Livid After Ex Opts To Spend Late Son’s College Fund On Trip Rather Than On Her Stepson

man going on international trip
Prostock-Studio/Getty Images

They say a parent should never outlive their child, but unfortunately things happen that are beyond control.

After the death of a child, there are unique issues to address from a life interrupted that aren’t present for an elderly parent whose life is winding down.

A man struggling with the right thing to do after his son’s death turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.

Possible_Soil_3886 asked:

“AITA for spending my son’s university fund on a trip to Europe to drink beer like I always threatened instead of giving it to his step brother after he passed away?”

The original poster (OP) explained:

“My son was smart. Smarter than me. I almost requested a paternity test because he was so damn intelligent. THAT IS A JOKE.”

“My ex and I divorced when he was about 12. She remarried when he was 14. I did when he was 16.”

“I had an RESP set up for him. That’s an education fund in Canada. As long as he went for post secondary education, he could use the money for anything.”

“I always told him that I was okay with him not going to university. That way I could use the money I had saved up for him to go to Belgium and buy some beer from monks that only allow you to buy one case.”

“He knew I was joking and he always played along. He wouldn’t let me get his goat.”

“When he got accepted to McGill, it was the proudest moment of my life. I took him out for a beer to celebrate his achievement and mourn the loss of my trip to Europe.”

“My son wanted to study microbiology and immunology. He has thrown for a loop by the pandemic and he wanted to make sure it didn’t happen again. He talked about a lot of stuff that went over my head. I’m a baker. I understand yeast.”

“My son was struck and killed by a drunk driver in March. I’m dealing with it. My ex is dealing with it. My wife has been nothing but my rock in this. She is holding me up.”

“I was dealing with the funeral arrangements and everything when my ex came to talk to me about his money. She knew he had a scholarship and was just going to use the money for living expenses and an emergency fund.”

“She never contributed money to it. It was my folks, her parents, and cash birthday and Christmas gifts from when he was little. I set it up and I probably put in 95% of the principal.”

“That doesn’t in any way minimize the fact that without my ex our lifestyle would have been impossible. She asked me what I was going to do with it.”

“I said I was going to do what I always said I would. I was going to Europe to drink beer. She asked if she could have it for her stepson.”

“I thought about it and said no. Her husband is a decent enough person, but he made it clear that he wasn’t responsible for any expenses for my son.”

“He has his own son to look after. My son had two parents. My ex’s husband is a good person that was never cruel or abusive towards my son. He and I had a good relationship.”

“He is a good person. The reason I took care of the funeral arrangements is because my son lived with me to finish high school. I was responsible for him. We still lived in the Eastern Townships.

“My ex and her husband just moved to Montreal last year. My son was going to live with them while he was in university.”

“Beyond food and shelter and stuff obviously. Like I said he is decent.”

“I said I was not going to do that. I was going to go drink beer in my son’s honour.”

“She says I’m wasting thousands of dollars. And I guess I am. I have to give back the government portion of the fund. But I don’t care.”

“My ex thinks I’m being stupid and irresponsible wasting my son’s money like this.”

“I don’t care.”

“My son would laugh his a** off if he knew I actually did it.”

The OP summed up their situation.

“My son died and I am using his education fund to go to Europe and drink beer like I always told him I was going to do.”

“I might be the a**hole for not giving his step brother the money.”

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 unanimously declared the OP was not the a**hole (NTA).

“Hey OP, you’re NTA and I’m very sorry for your loss. I have some comforting news though.”

“RESP’s can only be transferred between siblings. Assuming that your son was not adopted by your ex’s new husband, that means your son was not related to your ex’s stepson in a way that would permit the RESP transfer.” ~ Bwoah_Its_Kimi

“NTA. You’re not wasting your money; you are celebrating your son’s life and mourning your loss at the same time.”

“I’m sorry for your loss and I hope the trip is healing for you. Raise a glass to your son for all the internet strangers who are thinking of you.” ~ MaIngallsisaracist

“NTA. You don’t owe your ex-wife’s stepson anything, OP.”

“Sorry for your loss. Have that beer in Belgium in memory of your son.” ~ No-Alarm-2208

“You should never have been asked for that money. That was totally out of line. Please spend that money to find joy in this world through your sadness. NTA.” ~ milliepilly

“From someone who lost her 15-year-old sister to a car accident, this really tore me up way more than I thought it would. She was killed a month after her 15th birthday & had just been accepted to a private high school with a full ride scholarship she had been trying for.”

“The acceptance letter sat on her vanity in her room for years after. You are NTA, if anything, far from it…. the ex-wife even asking is a huge one.”

“Please go to Europe & celebrate his life! It’s the only thing that should be done with that money.” ~ mylittlewedding

The OP provided an update.

“Hi everyone. We are on our way to the airport and on our way to Barcelona. We will be going to be in Europe for a month.”

“I have family all over the Basque part of Spain and France. My grandfathers both brought wives back from France after WWII. I will be doing a lot of visiting. My cousin lives in Bilbao and has offered me her car for my trip.”

“The visit to the monks at Westvleteren will be the last part of our trip. Two reasons. I don’t want to lug beer bottles all over Spain, France, Belgium and Holland. Also, I am putting it off for as long as I can.”

“For those of you that asked, my son’s name is Ryan. He was an amazing kid.”

“I don’t know if he got his love of the microscopic world from me. I did teach him how to make his own sourdough starter and I will be keeping his alive to make loaves and waffles with.”

“His ashes are in our yard, on Mount Tremblant, on the shores of the St. Lawrence and I will be taking some to Belgium. My grandfathers have many friends buried there and I think they would approve.”

“I thank everyone that offered to buy me a beer. And while I appreciate the offer, I’m pretty sure my liver, and my wife, would not have been happy with me.”

“I will be with the monks on the week of June 23rd. If you would like to join me in a toast with your favorite drink of choice I would love that more. I love knowing that people all around the world know about my son and he would love knowing he was toasted in such a manner.”

“I spoke with my wife, my ex-wife, her husband, and his son. I invited them to join us, at my expense, for the last week of my trip.”

“My wife’s stepson was friends with my son. I didn’t know how close until we spoke. They are gaming buddies. They spoke almost every day playing online.”

“He gave me a picture of my son I did not have. It is a picture of the two of them age about 14/15 at my ex-wife’s wedding to his father. My son looked great in his suit.”

“I cried. He did too. We had a very awkward but heartfelt man hug. Then we laughed. They will be coming to say goodbye with us.”

“After talking to my accountant and my lawyer, I was told that I could not have transferred him the value of Ryan’s RESP. I have decided, after talking to my wife, that we are going to give him enough money to cover one year of tuition.”

“Even after my trip we will have money left over. I’m trying to do some good with it. I also said that he could call us any time he needed since he will be attending school close to us.”

“So funny he got accepted here and my son was accepted there.”

“I want to thank everyone who shared their condolences with me. I want to especially thank everyone that helped me plan my visit to Belgium. I know we won’t see each other, but you were invaluable.”

It sounds like this trip is turning into a fitting tribute for Ryan and a way for his family to say goodbye.

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

Amelia Christnot is an Oglala Lakota, Kanien'kehá:ka Haudenosaunee and Metís Navy brat who settled in the wilds of Northern Maine. A member of the Indigenous Journalists Association, she considers herself another proud Maineiac.