What seemed like it was going to be a crass story turned out to be an example of strangers on the internet help a young boy understand death, grief and kindness.
So I’m 14/M, and almost three weeks ago I let a boy in one of my classes at school borrow my sweater. He said he’d give it back to me after his mom did laundry, but unfortunately a few days after this happened he was killed in a bad car accident.
Obviously I knew it wasn’t okay to say anything before his funeral, but now that it’s been a couple of weeks I’m wondering if it would be okay to go to his family and ask them for my sweater?
The main reason that I’m not sure if it’s okay to ask is because I’ve never met his family at all and I don’t think they even know who I am, I knew this boy from being in school together but we weren’t friends or anything.
I did ask my older sister for advice but she said that if it were her, she just wouldn’t ask because she would be worried about upsetting the boy’s family.
And I do agree that if it was just any random piece of clothing I wouldn’t bother asking at all, but this is a sweater that I got on an important trip and it has the name of the place where I stayed so I do care about getting it back. I only let him borrow it because it was an emergency. So WIBTA?
NAH, but you have to ask in the right way. 'I knew X from school, and was upset to learn what happened. I loaned him a sweater a while ago, and when you get around to going through his things, I'd like to get it back. It holds memories for me. I'm not in a hurry, and understand if you're not ready to do that yet. It looks like Y.'
When my stepson died, we were comforted by talking with his friends. Op, if you knew him well enough to spend an hour or so with his parents, telling them funny stories about their son and letting them talk about him too, go see them. Bring some flowers and/or a homemade meal.
Then it will be ok to ask for your sweater back. Let them smell it if he’s worn it and it hasn’t been washed yet. Do not ask them to wash it for you. NAH
I agree, sharing a nice story about their son would balance out the awkward ask. If you have any photos/videos to share with them they may like that too. Stories and photos always helped with my grief, I know everyone’s different and sometimes seeing the photos/videos can hurt. So ask if they would like them before just sending them along.
Firstly, I am sorry if some people are jumping down your throat for even asking this question, personally I think asking for other opinions shows a lot of respect and empathy for the situation. That being said, don't approach the family. Talk to your parents first.
If they can replace the sweater that would really be the best case scenario, if they can't replace the sweater they can help you maybe think of an alternative or barring all other options, they will be able to navigate the process of attempting to get the current sweater back and likely a lot easier than you would alone.
NTA for wanting it back but tread carefully with as much empathy and compassion as possible.
While it’s terrible timing to ask for this from a grieving family, I wanna give you kudos and say good job for asking first. Not enough adults stop to ask and think about how their actions may affect people that are hurting.
That fact that you did just that? Means you’re considerate and kind enough to lend out a sweater and ask for guidance before making a bigger deal about it. Good luck OP and keep asking about social guidance and help.
INFO: do you have anything of his that you also borrowed?
OldPrice6256 from OP:
No, but I guess if the school hasn't cleaned out his locker I could maybe volunteer to bring his things to his family.
I'm not even giving a verdict, I just genuinely want to know why you would lend your sweater to someone you're not even friends with? I wouldn't lend an article of clothing to a friend who I genuinely love, because lending so often means 'not getting back at all', so I can't imagine lending a personal piece of clothing to someone I'm not close with at all.
OldPrice6256 OP responded:
Honestly I was just trying to be nice, he burned a big hole in his shirt and didn't want the teacher to see that he had his lighter out and get a detention so I let him wear my sweater to cover it. I wasn't expecting him to wear it home though.