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Woman Balks After Stepsister Asks To Have One Of Her Late Biological Mom’s Paintings As Keepsake

Woman looking at framed painting on wall.
Ekaterina Goncharova/Getty Images

As the saying goes, those who we love never truly leave us.

When you share a great love with someone, who had a huge impact on your life, they remain alive through all the memories you shared with them.

Of course, many people like to keep the memory of a lost loved one alive with a keepsake or memento, whether that might have been given or inherited.

Redditor CulturalAfternoon313 recently lost her mother in a very sudden and unexpected way.

Through chance, the original poster (OP)’s stepsister would also become close with her mother, owing to a shared passion.

As a result, when the OP’s mother passed away, her stepsister wondered if she could keep something the OP’s mother had made.

Something the OP felt her sister was in no way entitled to.

Wondering if she was being insensitive and unfair, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA).

The asked,

“AITA for refusing to share a single piece of my mom’s art?”

The OP explained why she simply wasn’t willing to part with one of her mother’s possessions, despite her stepsister’s pleas.

“My parents got married straight out of high school, had me (25 F[emale]) right away, and then split up when I was 3.”

“But they stayed close friends til the day my mother died.”

“My dad remarried Ana when I was 7. She had a daughter Eve (22 F).”

“Then they had our brother Jake (16 M[ale]) together.”

“Jake was really sick when he was a toddler, so our parents spent a lot of time at the hospital with him, and I spent a lot of time at my mom’s house.”

“Eve’s dad worked weird hours, so my mom was more than happy to take Eve too most of the time.”

“She loved hanging out with kids.”

“My mom was a talented and passionate artist, and she was determined to foster a love of art in us.”

“And she did for both of us, but Eve is far more talented than I am, and her & my mom bonded over their shared love of painting.”

“My mother passed away suddenly this January.”

“I was always extremely close with her, and I was & still am completely devastated.”

“I still can’t accept that she’s gone forever.”

“I miss her so so much.”

“In late April, I finally got up the spirit to start organizing her things.”

“Eve approached me after I mentioned that I was going to my mother’s home to sort through some stuff, and she asked me if she could look through my mom’s paintings and have a few as a keepsakes because my mother was such an inspiration for her.”

“I don’t want to & I refused.”

“Not the paintings.”

“I’m willing to give her clothes, jewelry, furniture, almost anything, but the paintings and journals are the closest things I have left to my mom.”

“There’s pieces of her soul in there. It’s not just stuff.”

“They’re the most personal items she left, and I don’t want to let a single one go.”

“Eve got really upset and said she didn’t care about any of the other things either, and she didn’t think she was asking for that much.”

“She said my mother was an important person in her life and that they had a strong relationship.”

“Eve believes that if my mother would’ve left her something if she had the opportunity to decide.”

“I still said no, and Eve went to her mom to complain, and now my immediate family is torn on the issue and arguing when we see each other.”

“My dad understands but thinks I can give up one or two.”

“And that I might change my mind in a couple of years once the pain isn’t so fresh I do think that could’ve happened before, but Eve and Ana are pushing me so hard on it and being passive-aggressive towards me, and I feel completely different about them now.”

“We all used to be close.”

“I understand she wasn’t a stranger to my mom, but that’s just not enough to me.”

“I think my own grief is bigger, and to ask me for such a personal thing so soon after her death was insensitive.”

“And I’m ever more upset that they don’t even see the irony of Eve sending her own living mother after me for my dead mom’s stuff.”

“This isn’t about the jealousy of Eve.”

“I can admit I was a little jealous when I was younger because I had ideas that I couldn’t properly get out, and it seemed unfair that they could, but when I got to high school and discovered the medium that worked for me (film), the frustration I felt at not be able to express my creative thoughts properly melted away, and the jealousy went with it.”

“This is fully about what my mother’s paintings mean to me.”

The OP was left to wonder,

“My boyfriend wants me to just give her one and repair my family so I stop tormenting myself but I think I want to stand my ground here, so AITA?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:

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

If the Reddit community was somewhat divided, they generally agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for refusing to give Eve one of her mother’s paintings.

Most people felt that the OP was more than justified, as they were her mother’s proudest possessions.


“I ended up giving away a lot of my dad’s things to my brother and his friends out of guilt after he passed away, and I regret it regularly.”

“Though if you’re open to it, ask Eve if she would be open to prints of the paintings you could make for her.”

“Maybe also communicate with her, as you said in this post, that the wound is still fresh, and you’ll reconsider when time has passed.”- hauntedfruit


“I’m so sorry for your loss.”

“I know how hard it is to lose a parent, and it goes many times worse for you as she is your main support.”

“It is ultimately your choice in how you want to share your mum’s things, but you did say that your mum is also close to Eve and they have bonded over art.”

“Objectively she should also be grieving in her way?”

“Then again, she is wrong to send her mum against you, especially when you lost yours.”

“I don’t know if it’s a bad suggestion, but tell Eve that you are not ready to part with anything currently and she needs to give you space to grief instead of turning your family against you.”

“Having to cope with the passing of a parent is hard enough without all these family pressures.”

“Virtual hugs to you.”- Crazy_Past6259


“You lost your mother.”

“That hurts.”

“Perhaps a compromise would be to have a print made of one of the paintings for your stepsister.”

“Then she gets the art she wants and you don’t have to give up the original.”- Special-Attitude-242

There were a few, however, who did sympathize with the OP, but also sympathized with Eve as well, as they became close and bonded over their passion for painting.


“I don’t think this is about the paintings as much as this is about your grieving.”

“Ask for time to grieve and process.”

“Use that time to figure out what your Mom would have wanted to do.”

“Ask yourself if it’s fair to hold on to all of the pieces of your mom, or whether she’d want you to share with those she was closest to.”- nickfarr

“I’m so sorry for your loss.”

“I don’t want to call you an AH because what you’re going through is horrible, and grief can cause a lot of emotions.”

“But you say that they shared a bond, especially through the paintings.”

“I understand that the trauma from your loss is making it hard to part with them.”

“Depending on how many there were that she left, I’d seriously urge you to consider parting with one, even if it is just one.”

“Eve is also grieving, not the same as your grief, but grief nonetheless.”

“They bonded over some of those paintings.”

“She was your mother, but other people still had close relationships with her and want to cherish memories with her too.”

“I lost someone who was close to me a few years ago.”

“When I discovered that I wasn’t able to hold onto any of the things we made memories with because direct family members refused to part with them, it hurt.”

“A lot. I understood it, and let it go because grief is a huge, painful thing.”

“But others are feeling it too.”

“I am not condoning Eve’s actions.”

“The way Eve is handling being denied is not right.”

“However, she is also dealing with grief, which can make tensions high and emotions run rampant.”

“I hope that they can overcome this and learn healthier coping methods.”

“OP should not feel pressured or bullied into making a certain decision if they do not feel fully comfortable with it.”

“Please do not mistake my opinion or advice for pushing them to do something they don’t want to.”

“If they decide that they don’t want to, they are valid in their choice and feelings.”- LunaMay196

No matter what people may say, there is no right or wrong way to grieve, as grief is something that is almost completely out of our control.

The OP is likely coping with her grief by hanging on to her mother’s paintings.

However, seeing how close Even became to the OP’s mother as well, it’s easy to understand why she might want to hold on to one of her paintings as well.

One can only hope that they will come to a solution that pleases everyone.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.