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'My best friend died and I went from being child-free to having a teenager.' + Update

'My best friend died and I went from being child-free to having a teenager.' + Update


"My best friend died and I went from being child-free to having a teenager"


I had posted a few times before on Reddit about my fiancee and I (about my not wanting kids, our engagement, the love we have for each other). For the most part, my posts have had happy endings but this one just isn't a really happy one.

Soon after my engagement, my best friend (since elementary school) and his wife passed away in a car accident, leaving behind their 11-year-old daughter (Amy - not real name). Amy is my goddaughter, but we do refer to each other as niece & tia. I've been there for her her whole life and she has always been one of my favorite people (and still is).

It's been a really hard several months since the accident and everyone is having a tough time. I have spent most of my life with my best friend in it than without him. Our parents are best friends (due to us being friends at first). I refer to his mom as "Mama *his last name*" and dad as "Papa *his last name*" and he did the same with my parents.

My siblings were his siblings (he was an only child). We went to events/concerts together a lot so multiple times since he passed...I've subconsciously bought him a ticket, forgetting that he wouldn't be able to use it.

I introduced him to his wife in high school (we were the only two openly nerdy cheerleaders at our school). They got pregnant young, and I was there to help & I even went so far as to stop eating foods she couldn't eat because I could tell being pregnant was not fun for her.

I was at the hospital because she was scared and asked me to be close by. I was the first non-blood family member to see Amy. I say all this because him and his family are indeed my family. So them passing was a huge hit for everyone, especially for Amy.

Now the month when it happened, Amy went to stay with her grandparents. Luckily we all stay in the same big city so the farthest anyone of the family is from the other is an hour AT MOST (and that's mainly due to traffic).

The issue though is that her grandparents are much older (70s) compared to my parents (50s) so while they do very much love her, they are already at that point where they themselves need help.

Plus they just lost their only son and daughter-in-law! Amy's mom's parents are out of state and they also didn't believe moving her to them and away from everyone she knows was the right thing either. Her grandparents overall didn't think Amy staying with them was the best for her and they relayed that to my parents who then mentioned this to me.

So after talking to my fiancee about it as well as talking about it in therapy (which included: me, my fiancee, and both our therapists), we came to the conclusion that we would be happy to take her in since we are financially capable, have the space and we do also just love her so much.

Before the accident, she was realistically at our house at least 3 times a week. She is the reason why I even have an art room since it was an activity we always did together (even at 11 she's a fantastic artist).

When we approached her grandparents, they were completely on board with the idea and I do think that a part of them had hoped we would take her without them asking us directly (hence the comment to my parents).

However, when we had broached the idea to Amy, she was hesitant. It turns out that she is aware that I never wanted kids and is afraid that I will hate her for having to raise her. It 100% broke my heart that she felt that way and I tried everything to convince her that was wrong.

In the end, I told her the truth: I will never be able to replace her mom or her dad, and I have no plans to. Her parents made me her godmother because they knew that I would love and care for Amy the way they loved and cared for her.

I could never hate her. My fiancee even pointed out that I was the one who had the idea to foster her. But I also had to stress to her that this is a new situation for all of us. We are all grieving together and we are all jumping into this new living situation together.

So there will be mistakes but there will also be a lot of love. We also put her in therapy, which she has been very hesitant about but after finding out that my fiancee and I are both regularly in therapy, she felt a lot more comfortable.

My fiancee has been great through all this and my absolute rock. He was also very close to my best friend (my best friend was going to be his groomsman and was the second person my fiancee asked after he asked his brother to be the best man).

My best friend was the type of person who will see something and say "this looks like something so&so would like so I'm going to buy it for them". So some days I will catch my fiancee staring at one of those many gifts for a long time. Or he will say something like "I hope they both knew how much I loved them". We hold each other tighter now when we hug and kiss longer than before.

When I asked about Amy living with us, my fiancee was shocked and wasn't sure how he felt since change was happening lightning fast with the engagement then the accident and now with Amy.

So I didn't bring it up again until he did a week later with "I thought about it and I think it would be good for all of us but let's get our therapists together to make sure we aren't jumping the gun because we love her".

Amy moved in right after Thanksgiving. All the families got together for the holidays with her to remind her that she is never alone. She has her mom's family (out of state but they call often), her dad's family, my family, my fiancee's family (out of the country too minus my fiancee's brother + his wife) and let's not forget all our friends & their families. There was a lot of crying but a lot of laughing too.

Her living with us is a huge adjustment but nothing we can't handle. She has always been a sweet girl and very bubbly & loud. Since the accident, she obviously has been a lot more withdrawn and quiet.

But I am seeing sparks of herself come back briefly and slowly. We had to switch her therapist a few times but this current one is definitely helping a lot. Amy really likes her too.

Her grades did slip a bit. But my fiancee has made it a point to do homework with her every day and it made her cry the first few times he did it. He asked her if she wanted him to stop but it turns it that it just reminded her of her dad so it really meant a lot that her tío was so willing to help her too. I was expecting some rebelling but that hasn't happened...yet lol.

Actually, she has been doing the absolute most. She would clean up after us before we had a chance to do it ourselves or try to do things for us that seemed a little out of character.

After some prodding, it turns out it was because she is afraid we would get rid of her if she upset us or did something wrong. We have stressed that in no way has that even crossed our minds.

We are here for her and - unless she wants nothing to do with us - we will continue to be here for her through the good AND bad. But let me tell you...I cried so much that night feeling terrible that she felt that way. I want her to know that our love is unconditional. And it always has been.

We are also in the process of setting up a trust for her. Her parents left behind money and there is money coming in from their insurance policies too so all that is going in that trust for her. I will also help supplement this trust (plus my fiancee, even though I stressed that he doesn't need to).

Neither myself or my fiancee will touch this trust. When she turns 18, she will have access to use the money for college if she decides to go and a set amount will be available every month to live on. If she decides not to go, then she will still have access to a set amount every month.

Side note: we would prefer she go to college and will encourage it but her dad didn't go to college and did well as an artist and we see that she has his talents so we just want to be supportive of any decision she makes.

When she turns 21, she will have access to the full trust to use as she wishes but we will do our best to ensure she is responsible with it when the time comes. At the end of the day, she will be an adult and we have to trust she will be responsible when she has access to the money.

I also want to say we didn't come to this decision on our own. We consulted with all four sets of grandparents and this was what we all thought was the best approach (as well as help from a lawyer). When Amy is a little older, we will discuss this with her but for now she's still so young and dealing with a lot.

Some nights I sleep with her in bed (with my fiancee sleeping on the floor by the bed) because she cries herself to sleep & she feels so alone. I don't know if that feeling will go away anytime soon.

I think about how I'm in my 30s and I still can't imagine not having my parents. So I really have no idea what she is feeling. Best I can hope for is that I can help the pain just a little bit.

Amy's mom was going to be my bridesmaid and I was going to have Amy be the flower girl but I think I'm going to ask Amy if she would prefer to be my bridesmaid. Amy looks so much like both her parents and I see SO much of their personalities in her.

A part of me feels like having her up there with me will make me feel like her parents are up there with me too. And I never once imagined getting married without either of them by my side. All planning stopped the moment of the accident for that reason and even now typing this has me crying that they won't actually be there.

But also that's a lot of pressure to put on Amy. I don't want to tell her all that. I do want to give her the option to be my bridesmaid if she wants and if she doesn't want to, then that's also okay because she is still going to be part of my wedding. I won't even bring this up for a while because I still am not in the headspace to plan the wedding right now.

There is no real reason why I'm posting this. I tried a couple times to write out what happened but each time I broke down or deleted it. I think I just want to vent or just feel better. Maybe to get validation that we are doing the right thing and not messing Amy up. One step at a time I guess.

EDIT: I'm seriously overwhelmed by all the comments. I was trying to respond to every single one but now I'm falling behind because there are so many lol. If I don't respond to your comment, still know that I really appreciate your support/love/kind words.

I wish I could hug every single one of you. I don't know what I was looking for posting here but I feel immensely grateful I did because you have all shown me so much love and support. I'm just a crying mess but just know it's definitely happy tears because I now feel like I am doing the right thing for Amy. Thank you all so much. <3

Here were the top rated comments from readers:


I have tears in my eyes. I hope the three of you have beautiful lives.

The OP responded here:


Thank you so much. <3


Oh man, I am in awe of you guys. You, your fiancee, and Amy. You all are facing this awful grief and trauma with the best possible setup and attitude. And anticipating that you all are on a roller coaster ride together, therapeutic help, individual and as a unit, is so important. I have so much hope and love for you all.

The OP again responded:


Thank you so much! We are very fortunate to be able to provide what we can for her because not everyone is so lucky. And I appreciate all your kind words.


Thank you for posting this, mainly because it’s a break from the mostly negative or sad posts here, but also because it’s nice to know good people exist. Good luck with everything!

So, a sad but heartwarming story. If you could speak to the OP and give them any advice, what would you say?

Sources: Reddit
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