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Aunt asks if she was wrong to tell niece a dog's death isn't comparable to a child's.

Aunt asks if she was wrong to tell niece a dog's death isn't comparable to a child's.


We've all overheard or been involved in at least one awkward conversation where someone is vulnerable enough to share their pain only to be met with 'I get it because my hamster died when I was in first grade...'

So, when a conflicted aunt decided to consult the moral compass of the internet otherwise known as Reddit's 'Am I the As*hole' about her reaction to her niece's cavalier attitude toward the death of her teenage daughter, people were quick to help deem a verdict.

AITA (Am I the As*hole) for telling my niece her dog is not comparable to my child?

I lost my 15-year-old daughter in a car accident last year. I have not been able to clean her room or go in it, so it's the same as it was when she was alive. My husband doesn't go in there either, and we keep the door closed. I don't go anywhere except work anymore, and while I'm in therapy, it isn't helping very much.

My niece is 17 and has always been extremely empathetic to animals, but unempathetic to other people. Her dog passed away two years ago, and she was very torn up for months but has completely moved on now.

Last week, she came to stay with us for the night, and my husband made her a bed on the couch. She asked why she couldn't sleep in 'the guest room', and I told her, confused, we don't have one-we live in a 2-bedroom house.

Niece said that she thought our daughter's room was the guest room now. I explained that we hadn't been able to change anything yet, and she rolled her eyes and said it was a year ago, and we need to move on.

When I started crying, she tried to apologize and, I think in an attempt to relate, said she had taken the loss of her dog very hard but got over it within a year, and I screamed that my child wasn't a dog.

My husband came in to moderate, and ended up telling my niece to go home, called an Uber for her. I haven't spoken to her since, but my sister reached out and said I was being unreasonable and had made niece 'feel like a monster.' I didn't mean to upset my niece, but I felt that she was completely out of line. AITA?

You'd think 17-years-old would be old enough to have a basic grasp on human empathy, but sometimes people who haven't processed a human loss are quick to compare any death to the time their childhood golden retriever was sent to a 'farm upstate...'

Yes, her niece missed the mark here but accepting death and mortality is a complex process that everyone handles differently. It seems like an apology is in order, but the fact that OP's sister is defending her child's behavior is upsetting. You'd think at least the adults involved would be more rational, but is it even a real family without real drama?

Of course, the jury of internet strangers was eager to weigh in on this mess. Here's what people had to say:

DeliriousBookworm said:

Your niece definitely said something monstrous. Two monstrous things, actually. She owes you a big apology. NTA (Not the As*hole).

Ok-Run-5193 said:

NTA. I'm sure your niece told her mother a heavily edited version of what happened to avoid getting into trouble. There's no timeline or expiration date for grief.

QutieLuvsQuails said:

NTA. My 6-year-old knows and understands I’d literally sacrifice my dog if it meant saving the life of my child. Not ever comparable in any way.

Restin_in_Pizza said:

NTA and I'm so sorry for your loss. Your niece is young and maybe was trying to relate to you with the only experience she's had. Until you've lost a child (I have), you cannot possibly understand the depth of sorrow. Please, try to forgive her, she meant well. But forgiving her ignorance does not mean 'moving on' or cleaning out that room. You take as long as you need.

So, there you have it!

Everyone agreed unanimously here that this aunt wasn't at all wrong to blow up on her niece for her overall lack of sympathy for her own cousin's death. Still, a productive conversation is probably necessary for the future. Good luck, everyone!

Sources: Reddit
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