Here's the story:
8 months ago my husband passed away. He had an adult son from a previous marriage and the two of them weren't very close. I don't think they hated each other or anything like that. Honestly, I think the divorce had more to do with it. Because of reasons I won't go into here, his ex-wife basically had sole custody of their son and the two of them never had a chance to fix that relationship.
Anyway, my husband held some animosity about the whole affair because he felt like his son sided against him in the divorce. Right before he passed he made me promise not to give his relatives any of his possessions (he had a bad relationship with his family and he owned some family heirlooms) and I asked him "what about [son's name]" and he paused and he said "he doesn't get anything either".
Honestly, I was shocked, but I was pretty much grieving at this point so I didn't question it. Well, about a month ago his son reached out to me over email asking if he could have a couple of his father's items. He said he's been regretting that they never repaired their relationship and that he never got to say a proper goodbye.
The items he asked about were small things like a gold lighter he remembers (I still have it) and a blue button up shirt (I don't know which one specifically, but I still have all of his old clothes). I responded and told him that unfortunately it would go against his father's wishes to give him anything and he replied very politely "I'm sorry to hear that. Thanks for responding." and that was it.
About a week later his mother sends me an email calling me names and a b*tch for not giving her son the things he asked for and that I'm basically preventing him from moving on. I didn't respond and I blocked her email and I haven't heard anything since.
I've been feeling sick ever since this happened. I'm still trying to move on from his passing and I'm not trying to stop him from moving on, I'm just trying to honor my deceased husbands wishes, but I feel like I've done the wrong thing and I don't know how to handle this. Was she right? Am I in the wrong?
YTA - kind of. All of this sounds terrible. Your husband put you in a terrible position. But here’s the thing. He’s gone. Why pass on the pain and animosity he felt in his life (in regards to his family) to his son?
He isn’t asking for money or anything ridiculous. Just something to make him feel closer to his deceased father. It’s not his fault that your husband held a grudge against a child who was leveraged in a divorce between shit parents. It’s not really your fault but I think you probably made a bad choice here.
NTA. I’m guessing you’re the executor of your late husband’s will, and the executor has both a legal and moral obligation to carry out the will according to the deceased’s wishes. Your husband’s son seemed to respond well to it. I’m sorry for your loss and I’m sorry this woman is being so nasty to you because of it.
NTA But kind of YTA and the mom is TA. First of all, you are respecting your husband's wishes. Second of all, his son is hurting too and asked for very simple things that he remembers from his estranged father. If they hold great importance to you, keep them.
But this may be much more than that to him. If anything, maybe try to connect with his son. Get to know him, talk about his dad. It may mean more than you know to him. If he is young and was young when everything happened it could've skewed his entire view and made things 1,000x harder, especially with his mother involved.
His mother is the a**hole though, no one that is grieving should ever have to be called names or deal with that. And I'm feeling like she is the reason the relationship wasn't there for them and now there is some guilt and anger so she's trying to alpha and fix it. That's just wrong.
Maybe just try to be there for him. If the items aren't special to you, give them up but also try to share some things with his son about him. It may be good for both of you.
You know how there are YTA but justified? This is a NTA but be an a**hole in this one instance. Be a noble a**hole. He didn’t ask for anything of value. I imagine that shirt must mean something to him. He’s young, his mother is more responsible for their estrangement than he is.
Your husband was the a**hole for being petty about his son, esp if his son was still young when they divorced.
YTA. Your husband is gone - his feelings aren’t going to be hurt. The items asked for were small sentimental things - I think you can let them go. I can’t imagine losing my dad and not having any object to remember him by.
And NakedStreets said:
NAH. You’re grieving and have been put in a really tough position. I think it’s OK to give him some items of your husband’s, but please don’t feel the need to rush