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Woman can't forgive cousin for disobeying grandmother's dying wish involving family heirloom. AITA?

Woman can't forgive cousin for disobeying grandmother's dying wish involving family heirloom. AITA?


"AITA for not forgiving my cousin after a major fallout over a family heirloom?"

My grandmother, before she passed away, made it clear that she wanted me to have her vintage piano. It's a beautiful piece, and I've cherished memories of us playing together since I was a child. Somehow I see it as a symbol of our bond. She even left a note with her will expressing this wish.

When my grandmother passed my cousin insisted that the piano should be his. His argument was that he's the only one in the family who pursued music as a career, thus he deserved it more. The problem is, my grandmother's note was pretty clear, and my parents backed me up on her wishes.

My cousin didn't take this well. He started claiming I was being selfish by keeping the piano when I "barely played" anymore. It got to the point where he and I stopped speaking entirely.

This conflict reached its peak at a family gathering where he confronted me in front of everyone, demanding I give up the piano. It turned into a heated argument. He accused me of not respecting the family's musical heritage while I accused him of disrespecting our grandmother's wishes. After all the fuss, I did not give up the piano. It's mine. It was intended and given to me and I have it in my name on my grandma's will.

It's been months since that incident, and my cousin has reached out, wanting to bury the hatchet. However, I'm struggling with the idea of forgiving him. His actions not only disrespected my grandmother's wishes but also caused unnecessary drama and division within the family. AITA if I chose not to forgive my cousin for the turmoil he caused over the piano, despite his attempts at reconciliation?

Here's what top commenters had to say about this one:

wynlyndd said:

Ask him if he is willing to make a public apology. If it is just an apology to you, it doesn't count. He made such as scene to cause strife amongst several family members. If he is willing to ask others forgiveness publicly, then go ahead and accept. But be wary of repeat performances.

seregil42 said:

NTA. Simply say, "Cousin, I'm not at a point where I'm ready to forgive you. I may be able to in the future, but for right now, I'm not ready."

abbayabbadingdong said:

NAH Grief is hard and often not handled well. I’d ask him to publicly apologize to the whole family for causing turmoil when everyone was reeling from loss. While I’d remember how he acted, and watch his behavior going forward (ready to cut him off if he starts any future issues) I wouldn’t stay mad.

Robert_Rimjob said:

NTA. The one with the final say in this matter was your grandmother and she made her wishes clear. Your cousin is acting entitled and there is nothing trashier than bickering over a dead family member's possessions.

canadakate94 said:

NTA. I absolutely hate the idea that you’re only hurting yourself if you don’t “forgive” someone for hurting you. F that noise. You do what feels right for you. Mostly, the people who want you to forgive want to sweep everything under the rug and want you to pretend everything is fine for their own comfort. They are outright asking you to disrespect yourself.

Nice-Yogurt-6741 said:

YTA. It was an argument, one made more heated because of your grandmother's death. You do not have to forgive your cousin, but you could at least move on. By moving on you help the rest of the family avoid further drama. What happened months ago was caused by your cousin not respecting grandma's wishes, so your actions and feelings are valid. But what happens now is up to you.

Oh, and something to consider is that owning a piano comes with costs. You have to have room to store or display it. When moving to a new home the piano adds complications and costs, etc. I know friends who dragged around a family heirloom like that for years before finding it a new home or selling it. So since you are keeping it, do keep playing. Maybe that's why grandma left it to you, to get you to play more.

Croissantal said:

NTA. Your cousin’s tantrum is probably not unrelated to the reason your grandmother chose you and not him to bestow the piano to. She knew he was a musician and yet she chose you, she went with her heart and she clearly chose correctly - you are appreciating this gift for the true sentimental value it holds rather than any childish entitlement to it. Your cousin on the other hand acted like a spoiled brat and escalated it to an extreme degree. I wouldn’t say you should never forgive him, but don’t feel any obligation to right now if you still feel hurt about it.

owls_and_cardinals said:

NTA. You don't owe him forgiveness or peace over this topic and, I think this situation has probably meaningfully changed your view of him and your feelings towards him (ie, can you trust him, do you have psychological safety with someone who would act like that, etc.). His desire to bury the hatchet does not magically cause those things to evaporate. Has he even reached out with apology or any expression of regret for his behavior?

I do think you should be considering how to minimize drama and division within the family - to that end, you could reply to him to essentially say, with a calm and kind delivery, something like "Thank you for reaching out, I appreciate that.

Peace in the family is important to me and I am sure the next time we see each other our interactions will be perfectly pleasant. But I acknowledge that this situation has been impactful to me, it has changed our relationship and I don't know that it will ever be the same, and that's out of my control. I wish you the best and will see you at our next family get together."

While the opinions were somewhat divided here, most people were on OP's side. What's your advice for this family?

Sources: Reddit
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