The pain of losing a loved one can be extremely difficult, and everyone grieves differently.
However, Redditor "OldPainting4" believes there is a socially limited window of time for someone to mourn publicly, especially in the workplace.
The Original Poster (OP) complained about a coworker who is still dealing with the loss of her teenage son who died three years ago. They asked "Am I The A**hole" (AITA) for thinking the mother is "milking" it.
They explained their perspective:
"So my coworkers son passed away due to a seizure in his sleep 3 years ago (he was 13) and ever since she has always taken off for his birthday and the day he passed because they are close to each other (His birthday is Jan 1 and he passed Jan 3)."
"Now don't get me wrong I'm sad for her but I feel like she is just sympathy milking at this point, like during the first few months she would always take 'Breaks' to cry in the bathroom for a few minutes like I walked in to the bathroom to hear her crying."
The OP made a comment about the mourning mother that angered their coworkers.
"So this happened back in January but I'm still getting sh*t for it today, I was in the break room with some coworkers and I asked one of them have you seen my friend (lets call her Bun) and they said she was covering for coworker and I got a bit upset."
"I said 'Why does she get all this special treatment like she does this every year' they all went silent for a bit and one of them spoke up saying 'She's not having any special treatment she uses her days.'"
"I said 'But come on it's been 3 years now she has to get over it at some point like I lost my Mom 7 years ago and I got over it in a few weeks.'"
Their coworkers were not swayed by their comparison.
"They all looked at me and another said ;'She lost her son a day or 2 after his birthday you don't think this is a hard time for her?'"
"I said 'Look I understand that she's sad 3 years later at this point she is just milking for sympathy.' They all start to yell at me saying that I was being insensitive and then the boss came in to see all the racket and they tell him what happened, so he asked me to come to his office."
"He tells me that she's going through a hard time and that he was her only son and I tell him that I feel like she is getting special treatment and that she is just using you all."
"He looks at me dead in the face and tells me that I'm being a insensitive and need to get a grip and tells me to leave his office. Ever since then nobody wants to talk to me even my work friends don't speak to me anymore, I tried to tell the boss and he said 'Look you put yourself in that hole and honestly if your work friend don't want to speak to you anymore I can't blame them.'"
"They all blocked me on social media and try to avoid me at all costs. I feel like they are being immature about this and need to stop being mad but anyways AITA?"
Anonymous strangers on the internet were asked to weigh in by declaring:
- NTA - Not The A**hole
- YTA - You're The A**hole
- ESH - Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH - No A**holes Here
"YTA: she's not milking anything. Her son died. She lost her child."
"It doesn't go away, and the grieving process doesn't just stop just because YOU don't understand what it's like to be her. You're f'king disgusting." – officerhaughtpants
"She's only taking her holidays, she's not been given extra days."
"It didn't even sound like the two days of the year she has off were conflicting with anything OP was doing."
"She's doing her work by the sounds of it too. Jesus OP is a raging, gaping b***hole. YTA OP." – SakuraFerretTrainer
"That's the icing on the evil cake here. She's using her benefits as she's entitled to. That's it. That's the whole thing."
"She's not 'getting' anything that all the other employees don't."
"OP, YTA. This is a weird, cold attitude over something that's none of your business anyway. Butt out and do some serious self-reflection." – unsaferaisin
Redditors shared how others are still dealing with death in the family.
"I'm going to boot in here that my aunt lost her son a month before his first birthday and is still grieving."
"She has learned to function normally again during the year but during the time of birthday and death she's not herself and grieving more heavily."
"And that was ~16 years ago. OP is such an AH. A) what you said. Everyone grieves differently B) the co-worker lost her SON."
"I cannot imagine her pain. It must be horrible. She is probably constantly reminded of milestones he could have achieved i feel so sorry for her." – peasolace
"My fiancée's brother and his wife lost a baby at 3 weeks, the day after Christmas, 15 years ago. He was their first born, after 4 (or 5?) miscarriages. They still don't celebrate Christmas. Doubt they ever will." – OriginalIronDan
"My great grandmother lost a two year old in 1942 and until she died still couldn't talk about it because it made her sad. 3 years is nothing." – shadowmaster132
"A friends' mother died about 10 years ago, my friend was in her early 20s."
"She copes generally well, but for her sister, who is a year younger, her mom's birthday, the day of her death and the big holidays were just aweful for a very long time." – Bonschenverwerter
This person recalled their father expressing something profoundly sad.
"My dad said something like this to me when my brother died, 'Children expect to bury their parents. Parents burying their children goes against the natural order.'" – the_mccooliest
"I lost my mom last year. It was sudden and she was so young, and I'll never be 'over' it."
"But I know that my pain is not worse than my grandmother's. Even though I wasn't ready for it, I always knew I'd most likely have to feel the pain of losing my mom at some point."
"Parents don't have that assumption.OP, you are so much TA that I can't even fully comprehend it and I really hope this is fake." – benali99
"I'll say what I can. OP is being extremely insensitive, and is 100% TA."
"This woman lost her child. Children are often the most important thing in a mother's life. That's not easy to get over."
"She might never get over it at all; it's very hard to fully let go. She doesn't sound like she's getting special treatment in the slightest."
"It's great for OP that they got over their mother's death so quickly, but they need to understand that everyone grieves differently, and that it's not okay to judge someone for the length of time they've been grieving for."
"Birthdays and death dates can absolutely be difficult to go through. Please, OP, if you see this, just consider that." – BirdsAreSkyRats
The OP updated the thread imploring people to "stop with the rude comments" and vowed to apologize to everyone they offended in the office.
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