Death is a complicated topic.
Some people have very deep emotions about the end of life depending on their relationship with the deceased, while others react with shame.
Some people cling to the ideas “never speak ill of the dead” and “all life is precious” regardless of how abusive or horrible the deceased was during life.
The range of emotions that can come from someone passing is wide and varied.
What happens though when the reaction to someone’s death is a literal party?
Redditor and Original Poster (OP) meliama came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subreddit for judgment in just this area.
“AITA for throwing a ‘death-day’ party? It was in poor taste but I had a reason.”
First, the background.
“I used to work with this guy who started to harass me at work, then also outside of work, showing up random places I was at. After a short while, it became really clear it wasn’t a coincidence.”
Stalking can be difficult to process…
“It was pretty upsetting and scary, I ended up going to the cops about it, not feeling like they took it seriously.”
… so OP began to protect themself.
“Then moving apartments and switching jobs and getting a new car and changing my usual places I’d go, just to put a stop to it.”
Her life altered to avoid the danger.
“My friends were really affected by this too; they often had to deal with being out somewhere and having to leave because this person showed up.”
Her friends had her back.
“He basically became like a Boogeyman to me and my friend group.”
Fear was a part of her everyday.
“Anyway, it had been over a year since he’d shown up where I was at, but I definitely still felt less safe in general.”
Perhaps he got distracted?
“Then, we found out he had passed away, one of my friends saw an obituary online. It was really unexpected, he was young and healthy”
“My friends told me, worried I’d be having some complicated emotions about it. But honestly, the only thing I felt about that news was a lot of relief. And happiness, like I’d been held down by stress for a long time but I finally had a weight lifted off my shoulders.”
Like that, the fear was gone.
“I felt absolutely joyous.”
“Riding on that high, I suggested our little group of friends have a party to celebrate.”
“Five of my closest friends were down, we met up at my place for the first time in a while; I’d been worried about my house being identified by their cars.”
OP could finally have company over.
“We had a fun party, it was mostly just an excuse to get some friends together and let loose, but a few things happened that I know people might find distasteful.”
The party wasn’t entirely gallows-humor-free.
“We called it a ‘deathday party’ and toasted to that. And when we went to pee we’d joke about ‘pouring one out for the deceased’.”
It wasn’t all joking…
“I talked briefly about appreciating my friends a lot for being there for me so much. But mostly we just hung out and had fun.”
…it was also a chance to share her experience.
“The trouble started when we mentioned stuff about the party to our larger social circle. We all do a sport together and we have a lot of friends or acquaintances in the sport.”
OP’s friends weren’t all on board.
“I said that the guy had died and I’d thrown a party, and some of my friends mentioned the toast and some of the dark jokes.”
“We didn’t think much of saying this, like we thought everyone would understand why this was something worth feeling relieved about.”
Not everyone understood.
“But a lot of the team felt that the theme of the party and what went on there was super distasteful.”
Not everyone agreed it was appropriate.
“That I’m gross and vindictive to take joy in that.”
There might be long-term consequences from the gathering.
“And I might actually be suspended from the team because my coach thinks I’m representing the team and club badly.”
“I feel like they would have a point if circumstances were different and this guy wasn’t like a literal Boogeyman in my life for some time.”
OP stood by their convictions.
“But I feel like if anyone understood what that was like, they’d be partying it up too.”
She just needed to know…
“AITA for throwing a party when I found out my stalker unexpectedly passed away?”
Facing possible consequences for the party, OP came to Reddit for guidance.
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: NTA
Some were quick to point out the guy was a stalker.
“Know what? NTA. I was stalked and it wasn’t taken seriously. It greatly affected me and my family. Like our whole lives revolved around him.”
“The person in question is now in prison (unrelated charges but won’t be out for a good 10 years but he’s old so might die in jail).”
“The day he went to prison, I drank a whole bottle of champagne. When he dies, it’ll be 2.”
“Because f*ck that guy. Stalkers never consider how their actions affect you. Your reaction is nobody else’s business.”~Illustrious-Band-537
Others took issue with how we view the dead in general.
“I hate this idea people have that once someone dies they became this perfect and angelical figure, no longer guilty of any sin, unblameable from any emotional damage they leave behind.”
“F*ck them, dead trash is still trash.”~Cat-aclism
Personal stories of stalking were shared.
“This. Stalking is viewed as harmlessly weird or even ‘romantic’ by way too many people.”
“My friend was murdered by her stalker, there were years of unsettling behavior and a flight to a different continent.”
“So people going on about how celebrating that ars*hole’s passing being tasteless really need to set their compass of compassion straight.”~Dazzling-Astronaut89
“NTA. F*ck ’em. I plan on doing the same when my abusive mother dies. Full-blown ding dong the witch is dead party.”~Original_Sail
Some even had suggestions for the future.
“I’ve joked that when my abusive mother dies I intend to bury her face down with a brick in her mouth because that’s traditionally how vampires are buried.”
“I’d also like to recommend a good song for looking forward to abusive nasty people dying: When Will You Die by They Might Be Giants.”
“It’s the usual peppy cheerful tune with dark lyrics thing they have going, heheh. I’ve dedicated that song to my dear mother.”~Cauth_Bodva
Death is a complicated topic, but relief is real simple.
Relief is joyful and freeing and deserves to be celebrated.
Remember to celebrate not just the triumphs in your life but also the small joys, whether everyone agrees with you or not.