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'AITA for overreacting after learning about the true fate of my little sister's remains?' MAJOR UPDATE

'AITA for overreacting after learning about the true fate of my little sister's remains?' MAJOR UPDATE


Grief can make people do weird things, but that's not an excuse to gratuitously lie to loved ones.

"AITA for overreacting to learning about the true fate of my little sister's remains?"

My mother and father divorced when I was young. They had an oops baby together after my mom remarried, which rocked that marriage apart. That oops baby was my little sister. She d**d abruptly in an accident 4 years ago at only 14. You know how people say the firsts after a d**th are the hardest? They don’t account for when there's no first to be had.

When they should have been getting ready for prom but never will, it's a completely different pain. My mom and I were talking about it, we were both drinking, and she slipped that my bit of ashes I carry that I thought were my sister's were just regular ashes. Burnt wood. She already poured out my sister's ashes without me or my brother in the plot she bought with my stepdad.

She couldn't fathom my r@ge because to her, the sentiment and emotions are the important aspects, not that it's physically my sister. My anger is prompted by the lies and the fact those sentiments and emotions are attached to some thing NOT MY LITTLE SISTER, and I had no idea she cast her ashes on a plot she wouldn't have cared about.

I scre*med at her to get out of my house, locking the door behind her and calling up my stepdad to pick her up. I threw the necklace out the window to the front lawn, then regretted it and tore it out of her hands when she picked it up. As she would say it I "made a scene" and embarrassed her. I kept scre*ming and calling her a liar whenever she tried to explain herself or get back inside.

I was threatening to call the cops on her when my stepdad finally showed up and took her away. He called me the next day and left a message saying that he wanted to talk about "what happened" and how he understands why I'm angry and hurt, he just wants to talk.

He said I need to talk to my mother too about this because she's a grieving mother (emphasis his) and my sister's death was a huge blow to the entire family and everyone is trying to regain our bearings still so some kindness is needed.

All I can think of right now is my mom's heartbroken face as I ripped my necklace with my "sister's ashes" out of her hands, or the way she turned away from me crying as my stepdad ushered her into the car. I called her names, I let my pain and r*ge take over me. But I can't get over the lies.

Four years of thinking my necklace had my sister, of thinking she was right by my heart, and it all came undone because my mom had too much to drink. How long would she have let me think this? How long would the lie continue?

Comments quickly came in.

CenterofChaos wrote:

Yea your mother is grieving. But you, her very living child, are too. Having your mother lie to you about something important is going to get an emotional reaction. What you do is up to you. But I wouldn't let her frame this as embarrassing her or that she's a victim in any way. She lied about it, she got dr*nk and tattled on herself, these are the consequences of her own actions.

OP responded:

It was an absolute mistake on her part that she even said it. We were talking about prom season and how hard it can be to be reminded of things that my sister would have loved. Then she started to say "I start crying before I even reach the cemetery sometimes" and she named it by name.

I started flipping then and was like "what cemetery? Why that cemetery?" in a sort of why are we talking about cemeteries when we're talking about her way. I kept pushing her for an explanation and that's when the whole thing came out.

Acmcshepherd wrote:

A recurring theme I see online is that the person that lied/started the problem/was the reason, is claiming that somehow the person who is mad embarrassed them. No, they embarrassed themselves by their initial actions.

Okay, I’m sure she is devastated by this loss, and that’s understandable, but that’s still not an excuse for lying about something this important, and even worse to then tell the truth, and expect you to just be, eh, it’s ok no worries. NTA.

MadMuppetJanice wrote:

I don’t know if this will help or not, but I had a patient tell me a similar story she had a locket of sorts with her brother’s ashes in it, I met her through the said “break down” that followed. (They called an ambulance) I told her before dropping her off to go where he was sprinkled and put the dirt in the locket.

Some of him would be in that. She seemed to like that idea. I never saw her again to find out if it helped. You might try that OP. I am so sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine losing my sister.

Glowwey wrote:

Everyone was grieving though. How do you even justify throwing your daughter’s ashes without her sibling’s knowledge. And giving them wood ashes? Lies after lies. She took away from you guys and a chance to properly say goodbye and grieve. Now you’re grieving all over again. Forgive me for saying this, and hope it’s not harsh, but it’s like she killed ur sister again and your back to square one.

Now your sister’s ashes is in some plot of land. And yall didn’t even know till now. I would not just be mad and hysterical. I’d go no contact after this BS. What are u suppose to do now? Kiss the plot of god knows where she dumped your sister’s ashes?

The way she just chose random plot to throw it tho…I just can’t. And she’s the one who needs comfort? NO. NTA! Was she being kind or thought or considerate when she gave some random ash to replace ur sister? NO!!!

A week later, OP shared another update.

I gave my mother an ultimatum of either telling my brother and father, or I will. She refused to, because "you reacted so horribly." And she told me not to tell because "You're doing this to hurt me and you're just going to hurt them." So I told them. I sat my dad and brother down and explained that the necklaces didn't have the right ashes in them.

I've never seen my dad break like that, and I've never heard my brother scr*am at me like that. He was angry that I knew before him and didn't immediately tell because "this is s#$t you tell me, you needed to tell me, we tell each other everything!", but he started crying and apologizing to me, admitting he's just so mad about what Mom did and he can't handle it.

So I guess that's clearly something else me and my brother share, we get overwhelmed initially before cooler heads prevail. My dad looked gutted but he was clearly trying to piece himself back together.

He said a lot of the same other people had said to me on my other post: "we can get some of the dirt from the plot where she was scattered, the necklace has the meaning we attribute to it and she's still with us even if her body hasn’t been physically with us."

I feel bad because some of it my mom said (ie the bit about the necklace being important even without her ashes in it) but I was able to accept that much easier from him.

Maybe because he didn't lie to me for four years and drop a bomb on me out of nowhere because I pulled apart a lie. He held my brother and I as we cried, and he apologized for the pain, and he said it wasn't fair that I had to be the adult when my mother should have told all of us a lot sooner.

Dad's going to try to talk to my step-father to find the plot because my mom has been refusing to talk to us anymore, not answering messages or picking up the phone. Her social media has even gone dark. He's going to find out where the plot is and go to the site. I don't know if I could if it were up to me.

It just feels like the final bit of proof that this fucked up nightmare is real and my sister is mixed with dirt and rocks and grass of an unmaintained and unvisited plot. My mom and I always had some issues, but that's normal. This is worse than anything, and we had a rough patch when I came out that we didn't even talk, but we mended fences after.

I can't see ever forgiving her, not with how she dropped this on me, blamed me for my reaction, and left me to do what she should have done. To top it off, she won't even show the decency to explain why or even talk to me. When we were discussing cremation, it was agreed we would all get a necklace with the ashes.

My mind keeps going over things that just didn’t add up fully, times she almost slipped or things that make complete sense now. She almost left behind her necklace on a trip and didn't freak out like I would have, because she knew where my sister was the whole time. She volunteered to be the one to separate the ashes and gave dad "the rest". I assume those ashes are the same as ours, fake.

God this whole thing just makes me want to curl up in a hole and never see the light of day again. I've been on and off crying all week without being able to stop, or just so angry I could scream. In the middle of my damn workday and suddenly I'm rushing to the bathroom to hide the fact I'm breaking all over again because I can't stop my thoughts.

I quit smoking after my sister died but I picked it right back up again. My dad has been calling me every day to check in on me and remind me of how much he loves me and how much my brother loves me. I think he's afraid. My brother has come over each day since the talk with his girlfriend to make sure I eat something.

I don't know how to end this post. I feel lost and like I don't know anything anymore. I feel like a burden because my dad and brother are both dealing with the revelation too but they're clearly thinking of me and checking in on me. I'm going to look into grief counseling but the therapist I saw after my sister died isn't practicing anymore and my insurance isn't accepted by a lot of therapists.

I try to remind myself that my little sister wouldn't have minded so much becoming woven into a tapestry of grass and flowers, and that I can visit her once we know where she was cast and make sure her site is always beautiful. Thank you to everyone that helped me and shared their own perspectives and stories. I really appreciate it.

The internet was invested in the update.

Ms_PlapPlap wrote:

You mentioned she said the cemetery's name when she tattled on herself? Can you call and ask about the plot? It's probably under your mother's or your sister's name. Then you can visit and not have to go through your mother at all.

OP responded:

It's my mother and step-father's plot. If trying through my step father fails, I'll try that. I didn't think I could just call up and say "is there an empty plot sectioned for the so and so family" but it's worth trying.

CarefulSignal7854 wrote:

That’s really f#$ked up what your mum did. And I would like to say the only reason she doesn’t “understand” how you feel is because she knows where your sister's ashes are and she knows she can visit them at anytime.

FamilyGuy421 wrote:

I am head of a cemetery commission. Just call them up. We don’t care about drama, just information. The best of luck to you.

OP responded:

Thank you so much. That means a lot.

Agreeable-League-366 wrote:

I knew she was going to make you tell. It's all about her. How she felt. She didn't care about how the rest of the family felt. She has shown how incredibly selfish she is. I'm sure if you think back she has manifested this in other ways. When she wants something she will try to communicate with you again.

Have your eyes wide open about this and then make the choice that protects you. I'd recommend just letting her go. She's unable to give to you anything you need. One way relationships just sap away from you. Stay safe.

_Trinith_ wrote:

I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I felt so crushed for you after I read the first one, and I’m so glad to know that you have the support of the rest of your family in this. If you live in the US, psychology today is an amazing website for finding counselors/therapists. You can search by specialty, whether or not they’ll do virtual appointments, and what insurance they take.

Among a lot of other things. It’s worth looking at. Maybe there’s an equivalent in your country if you’re outside the US. My sister and I planted our dad underneath an elm tree, off to the side of a trail on his favorite mountain to hike. We feel like, as the tree grows, dad will nourish it. Some of the things trees can store as they grow is wild.

Including human dna. You can google it. And he’ll be a part of everything that’s growing there. Your sister is in the grasses, the wildflowers (because while those are probably seasonal, they will drop seeds, and she’s in those too), definitely any trees or bushes. She’s nourishing part of what is likely a beautiful ecosystem.

It doesn’t change the devastation of not having her actual ashes. I can’t even tell you how badly I’d be holding up in your position, but when I self destruct I don’t do it by halves. My friends and family would be absolutely terrified. But it’s…something of a consolation prize in a way? You can’t see, or feel, or touch her directly. But I believe she’s still there in a way. Just like my dad’s in that elm.

Sources: Reddit
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