Loss is inescapable.
We are fragile beings, on a fragile world.
We try to deal with that truth in a variety of different ways but sooner or later we must face it directly and we all face it differently.
Some of us grow angry and lash out, others deny that we’re feeling anything at all. These are all valid for the person facing the loss of course, so long as they aren’t hurting anyone else.
What happens though when someone uses their loss as a hammer to make someone else feel worse?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) Baby_Vs_Cat when she came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for outside opinions.
“AITA for telling my friend her cat’s death doesn’t compare to my miscarriage?”
OP began with a little background.
“My partner (30 male) and I (38 female) have a child and have been trying for another for about year now.”
“We’ve lost three pregnancies all in the first trimester since then, with the most recent about 7 weeks into the pregnancy.”
“One of my very good friends, Shelly (33f), is a total cat mom and refers to her cats as her babies which I’ve never had a problem with until recently.”
“She has some health issues that mean it’s unlikely she will be able to have children, something she’s always wanted, and the cats, along with a bunch of honorary siblings help fill that need.”
Everything was alright, until…
“The issue came up recently because she just lost one of her cats quite suddenly.”
“She’d had the cat since he was a kitten, almost longer than she didn’t. He was 16 when he passed away which is a good run for a cat, but I agree with her that it’s never long enough.”
“She’s devastated and has really been struggling with the loss and trying to adjust to the change. She still has two cats but this was her first baby that was all hers as an adult.”
“This is where I might be the AH. I lost my most recent pregnancy about two weeks before she lost her cat and of course have been devastated.”
“Our mutual friends have been very supportive to both of us (and were to our previous losses), but I really feel like Shelly is making a bigger deal than necessary about the loss of her cat and is kind of dragging things out.”
“She’ll tear up or start crying out of nowhere and even though she doesn’t make a big deal of it and will even go out of the room for a few moments we all still know what’s going on.”
“I asked her the other day when she was wiping her eyes while we were all talking if she had talked about what was going on with her therapist because it seems like after almost a month she should be moving on already.”
“She just sort of stared at me for a minute before asking what I meant by that.”
“I told her that I knew Tiger was special to her but he was just a cat, it wasn’t like she had lost a baby, an actual human and it felt like she was just drawing things out and should start moving on.”
“She started to cry more forcefully and one of our friends wrapped her arm around her and said that I was just working through my own grief too and we all miss Tiger and know how hard this has been.”
“I said she was right, I did miss Tiger too, but that I was still grieving my most recent miscarriage, the loss of a real baby, and I wasn’t carrying on like she was.”
“I got a bit of a dirty look from our friend who was comforting Shelly and from one or two of the others and they got up and left to get a drink and calm down.”
“After they left one of my friends said I was cruel and an AH because we know how much she loved Tiger and how important he was to her, not to mention she had him for 16½ years and I only knew about the pregnancy for 3 weeks.”
“They also said if I wasn’t able to handle things right now maybe we should stop trying for a little bit.”
OP was left to wonder.
“So reddit, AITA?”
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: YTA
Some wanted OP to consider her actions.
“You were incredibly cruel to your so-called friend. That cat was a member of her family for sixteen years and you think it should take a certain amount of time to get over his death?”
“You should understand better than anyone that grief takes many shapes and doesn’t have a timetable.”
“It’s extra insensitive for you to compare her cat to a baby when you know she can’t have babies of her own and she will never know what it’s like to lose a human baby.”
“Stop playing Grief Olympics and comparing your grief to everyone else’s. You owe Shelly an apology and I think you’re the one who needs a therapist.” ~ fizzbangwhiz
There were personal stories,
“I know people who periodically mention their deceased pets (varying years since the death).”
“That proves to me that people miss their pets no matter how many years it has been since the pet passed or how long the pet has been with them.”
“They all do it because their pets are so important to them and I don’t think people ever forget. I’ve never had a pet before but at this point I know everyone’s deceased pets like they’re my own.” ~
“Even if you take out the fact she wants children and can’t have them the OP is still wildly the AH.”
“I’m coming up on two years since I put down my beautiful boy of 14 years due to cancer.”
“Those last two months of his life and keeping him comfortable, watching him deteriorate, and being unable to attend any of his vet appointments because of Covid were traumatic.”
“His final moments, while peaceful, was hands down one of the worst moments of my life. I think anyone who has sat in a vets office and experienced euthanasia understands what I’m talking about.”
“I grieve to this day, and cry constantly just looking at his photos.”
“I keep his favorite cat toy near his ashes.”
“My life was turned upside down in that moment so this woman, crying and having trouble coping, is normal and understandable.”
“I truly hope they’re more forgiving then OP was showing empathy. I’m not sure I would be.” ~ Irishtigerlily
“God, when my dog had to be put to sleep a few years ago I was not prepared for how heart wrenching it would be.”
“She was 14, a very old age for a great dane. I didn’t think I would cry, because I’m not normally the type to cry, but I cried like a baby when she passed.” ~ Blustasis
Others encouraged empathy.
“Yikes, so she likely wants to have kids but can’t, is grieving the loss of a beloved pet and you threw ‘it’s not like you lost an actual baby’ at her??”
“Please read that back and think about that.”
“I’m so very sorry for your loss but in this instance, YTA. Best wishes to you on your journey but please apologize to your friend for this” ~ Due_Fix_3900
“Anytime you belittle someone else’s feelings by playing the pain olympics, you are being an a**hole.”
“If she’d been the one to try to compare it, you’d be slightly justified.”
“But bringing up out of the blue that your pain was more valid is just an unnecessary and a**hole move. There was no reason for it. None.”
“You’re entitled to your feelings, but so is she.”
“ETA: You have to realize that she is also probably still mourning the inability to have human children, since it was something she has always wanted.”
“Cats to her, are likely the closest she will have. And she just lost one.” ~ass-emo
OP did return to add some final thoughts.
“OK I’m the AH! I’m going to apologize to Shelly and try to look into some therapy for this grieving and parenting journey.”
“If people could stop messaging me with their trauma dumps and wishing I’ll never have more childr3n that would be great.”
“Y’ALL I MADE A MISTAKE.”
“I’m trying to fix it and deal with my issues.”
“Why are you getting in someone’s dms to wish them ill, that you hope they never have any children etc?!”
“How does that make you a better person?! I’ve accepted that I was in the wrong and am the AH, I haven’t been arguing in the comments.”
“Thank-you to those who have sent understanding and kind messages.”
Loss is inescapable.
Fragile as we are, we face the inevitable in all the ways that we can, struggling through with tears or laughter or some mix of the two.
Whatever your coping mechanism is though, never use it against someone else.