A couple cries while holding a mortuary urn | An older lady spreads ashes of a loved one in a forest | Source: Shutterstock
A heartbroken mother, reeling from the loss of her young son, cremated him and safeguarded his ashes in an urn in her bedroom. But in her absence, her husband permitted his mother to take the urn, setting the stage for a shocking and heart-wrenching turn of events.
A loving mother gently strokes her little son | Source: Shutterstock
In October 2020, an anonymous poster shared her heartbreaking story on Reddit’s “AITA forum.” Her son Tom had tragically passed away four months prior at the tender age of six due to a heart condition that had deprived him of a normal childhood.
Despite his ailment, Tom was described as an angel with an insatiable love for food. The mother had devoted herself to nourishing him as best she could, for he was extremely frail and lacked the energy to engage in typical childhood activities.
A little boy in a white t-shirt | Source: Pexels
Throughout Tom’s struggle, her husband’s family had been involved in his care, but they had never stayed overnight at the hospital to allow her some respite. They also kept their own children away from Tom.
Her son’s urn had vanished from its usual place.
A young woman is pictured sitting alone and crying | Source: Shutterstock
When he eventually passed away, they began to take his belongings, including clothes, toys, and blankets. The mother-in-law, however, insisted on a burial service, while the mother opted for cremation, choosing to keep Tom’s ashes in an urn inside her bedroom.
Following Tom’s passing, the mother-in-law started visiting more frequently, a departure from her previous behavior when he was alive. She proposed creating ash pendants for herself, the woman’s husband and her family to carry Tom’s memory wherever they went.
A woman is seen holding a mortuary urn and a white lily flower | Source: Shutterstock
MIL even mentioned that the woman’s brother-in-law, who had deeply loved Tom, wanted a pendant too. Stunned and uncertain how to respond, the woman initially rejected the idea, asserting that it would never happen. She pointed out that the rest of the family had their children with them, while she was the one who had lost a son.
The disagreement escalated as the mother-in-law argued that Tom held great importance to the family, suggesting that the woman’s husband would support the idea of sharing their grief rather than keeping Tom’s ashes in her bedroom.
A young woman and a senior lady are pictured having an argument | Source: Shutterstock
Firm in her decision, the original poster declined, prompting her mother-in-law to take it personally. Their conversation ended with heated exchanges, as MIL expressed her disappointment in her daughter-in-law for not accepting what she perceived as a gesture of support from the family. This marked the last time they spoke on the matter.
A Shocking Discovery
Upon returning from a much-needed six-day road trip her family had arranged to help her cope with the overwhelming stress, the mother was met with a devastating discovery. Her son’s urn had vanished from its usual place.
A father-daughter duo cry while holding a mortuary urn | Source: Shutterstock
Her husband presented her with a necklace, claiming it contained their son’s ashes, and revealed another necklace in the shape of a cross that he wore himself. He explained that his mother had commissioned these pendants, spending money to have them made so that the entire family could carry a piece of Tom’s memory with them.
“I was in a shock,” recalled the original poster, who needed a moment to gather herself. It became clear that her husband had allowed his mother to take the urn in her absence. In defense of his actions, he argued that his family cared deeply for Tom and believed they all deserved a memorial necklace to remember him.
An older lady spreads ashes of a loved one in a forest | Source: Shutterstock
Overwhelmed with anger, the woman vehemently protested, emphasizing that Tom was her son, not theirs, and his ashes should not have been taken without her consent, especially after she had clearly expressed her wishes.
Her fury was directed at her husband for his role in the situation, and she couldn’t even bear to look at him. Swiftly, she gathered her belongings and returned to her family, adamantly refusing to accept the necklace her mother-in-law had spent significant money on.
Close-up of a necklace with a cross pendant | Source: Pexels
She took it upon herself to confront her mother-in-law, criticizing her for her selfish and inconsiderate behavior in taking her son’s remains without permission. Despite her husband’s attempts to apologize, she found herself unable to forgive him for his betrayal.
The Online Reaction
The woman’s story struck a chord with the online community, and their response was overwhelmingly supportive. They unanimously declared her “NTA” for refusing to accept the ash necklace.
A netizen’s comment of support for OP, advising her to explore potential legal actions against her mother-in-law | Source: reddit.com/r/AmItheAsshole
Many sympathized with the woman, acknowledging the immense grief she had experienced. They indicated that they would have felt furious in her situation and advised her to explore potential legal actions against her mother-in-law while considering the possibility of divorce.
A second user stressed that what had transpired was well beyond reasonable behavior. | Source: reddit.com/r/AmItheAsshole
Others were appalled by the mother-in-law’s actions, likening them to grave robbing, and expressed deep sympathy for the woman’s plight. They stressed that what had transpired was well beyond reasonable behavior.
A second user found the entire situation absurd and questioned the MIL’s rationale for her actions. | Source: reddit.com/r/AmItheAsshole
Commenters found the entire situation absurd and questioned the family’s rationale for their actions. They recommended cutting off ties with all involved parties, pursuing legal avenues to recover the urn, and documenting the husband’s actions as potential evidence in divorce proceedings.
Another netizen pointed out that the husband had no authority to unilaterally decide the fate of his son’s ashes without the mother’s consent. | Source: reddit.com/r/AmItheAsshole
Several users pointed out that the husband had no authority to unilaterally decide the fate of his son’s ashes without the mother’s consent. They suggested that the woman firmly demand the return of the urn from her husband.
Another commenter empathized with the woman and shared words of support given her insurmountable pain | Source: reddit.com/r/AmItheAsshole
Expressing shock and disbelief, other netizens empathized with the woman’s previous losses and the additional anguish this situation had caused. They couldn’t fathom ever looking at the involved parties the same way again.
Yet another user supported the woman’s stance and deemed her husband and MIL’s actions unacceptable | Source: reddit.com/r/AmItheAsshole
Supporting the woman’s stance, they stated that they, too, would leave their spouse in such a situation. They emphasized that the husband had acted without proper authority and suggested an alternative approach, like placing items symbolizing their son in a dedicated box or urn as a memorial.
A depressed young woman lies on the couch and cries while hugging a teddy bear | Source: Shutterstock
What do you think about this story? Do you believe MIL ruined her daughter-in-law’s mourning process for her little son? Click here to read another story about a bride-to-be who came home and discovered that her fiancé had replaced her wedding dress to please his mom.