Loss is never easy — especially if it's the loss of a child. A recent post on Reddit's "Am I the A**hole (AITA)" forum revealed a complicated dilemma about family obligation after loss that has the internet divided.
"About 3 years ago, my sister and her husband lost their three young children in a really bad car accident. My sister barely survived but pulled through," user u/dearlyohwow wrote. "They had two daughters who were 8 and 6 and a 3 year old son. I won't go into specifics surrounding the accident or their deaths because it's quite frankly horrific."
She continued: "My sister and I are 10 months apart and have always been extremely close. At the time of my nieces and nephews deaths, I was living alone in a 3 bedroom home and offered for them to live with me. They were both, understandably, too unable to function to go back to work and we all needed each other. I didn't want them to have to worry about money or losing their home after what had happened."
The woman said she offered as much emotional and financial support as possible, but her sister and brother-in-law haven't gone to therapy. Now, things have shifted.
"About a year and a half ago, I met my current fiancé. We clicked immediately and got engaged six months later," she said. "We're due to get married next October. I've been trying to drop hints to my sister about wanting my house back to myself to live in with my fiancé but she's not picked up on it. My fiancé has grown increasingly frustrated with me, saying I'm very obviously being taken advantage of."
The woman confronted her sister about moving out but "she got upset and went running to our mom, who called me an a**hole for not considering how my sister would feel about that." She said neither have mentioned it since and now she's wondering if she's the a**hole.
Grief over the loss of a child is a delicate thing. Chair of the sociology department at Boston University Deborah Carr said there's more to it than the typical grieving process.
"The death of a child is considered the single worst stressor a person can go through," Carr told Fatherly."Parents and fathers specifically feel responsible for the child's well-being. So when they lose a child, they're not just losing a person they loved. They're also losing the years of promise they had looked forward to."
However long or short the mourning period, the internet was split on whether the woman was in the right to ask her sister and brother-in-law to move out.
"NTA. Three years is long enough. If they still aren't ready to go out on their own, your mother can take them in," NUT-me-SHELL said.
"My nephew died and his parents, and those who loved him, will never get over it. Never. But you learn to move forward and live with the pain. These parents are stuck and if they won't try counseling they need to join a grief support group," Jerry1Martha2 wrote.
Resident-Money added, "You can either destroy your relationship with your sister or your fiancé. You re going to have to pick one. Picking your sister will ruin your life. Is that what you want?"
"No offense but unless you know the details of just how violent the crash was, you aren't in a position to determine how long is enough time to move on. This isn't a family member dying expectedly within understood conditions, it was a bloody and gruesome car crash... the kind of shit people don't unsee or ever really move on from," Duality26 in part.
KeepLkngForIntllgnce wondered, "OP - in the gentlest way possible - do you have a relationship with your sister? It doesn't sound like you guys talk about anything? The future, healing, therapy, support - the normal stuff that I would want from my family after may kind of a loss, much less a loss this horrific - isn't happening. So - apart from you being biologically sisters, what relationship do you have?"
The post accumulated nearly 2000 comments and over 15,000 upvotes at the time of this article.