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Family Insists That Bereaved Dad Give College Fund To Nephew, Not Late Son's BFF

Amy Pilkington 14 Nov 2020

Most of us love our family and are happy to help out if we are able and they are in need.

I'm lucky enough to have a family like that, but as the internet allows more windows into people's lives around the world, I'm swiftly realizing how rare that kind of luck can be.

"This has been causing a conflict with my entire family. And they think that I'm being selfish and unreasonable. Let me explain first."

Reddit | Aita3409731

That's how an anonymous user opened their post to the r/AmItheAsshole subreddit recently.

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It's an opening that many people can probably easily relate to, even if this dad's situation is unique.

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Ultimately, like many family conflicts, this one is about money. Specifically, about who should get to use savings that were originally meant for something that's no longer possible.

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The 39-year-old Redditor explains that last year, he lost his 15-year-old son to a chronic heart condition.

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To keep both their hopes up during his son's health struggles, the dad made a point of planning for the future and starting a college fund.

"He was depressed but always believed that he was going to get better and continue his education and attend college."

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Sadly, his son lost his battle and the dad was left devasated.

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He makes no reference of a mom or partner in his life, but makes it clear that he was pretty much on his own through the years of treatment and hospital stays.

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He says that his family did pretty much nothing to support him or his son over the years.

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They rarely visited and were mostly hands-off about the whole thing.

"They didn't let me go home and rest even for a few hours. They didn't take care of other things while I had a lot to deal with. I wasn't offered any help just words. They'd just talk but do nothing."

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There was, however, one person who did stick by them: his son's best friend.

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They were about the same age and friends for five years leading up to the son's passing.

Throughout that time, the friend visited constantly, spending the night and generally doing his best to help out and be the best friend ever.

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"To be frank his friend was closer to him than his own family."

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After the son's death, the friend kept visiting the dad. He made memorial projects to his friend and they supported each other through their grief.

"We'd sometimes just sit and talk together or cry together."

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So when thoughts circled back to the college fund, the dad knew who he wanted to have it.

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This wasn't something he planned to advertise, either, but the issue was forced.

"Last week. While I was with my family my sister asked me what I was going to do with my son's college money."

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Since she asked, he was honest: the money was going to the best friend.

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His sister was shocked and said she didn't even know who that person was, that the money should instead go to her son, his nephew, because he's "family."

He said, "My mom agreed that I wasn't thinking straight and that I should help the people close to me-family and that my nephew has a right to go to college and I was wrong for giving this 'opportunity' away to someone else."

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When they pointed out that the nephew would resent him for this, he didn't agree.

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His son and nephew had never been close in any way. Then his sister tried to argue that she and her husband weren't financially able to pay for their son's college, so the money should help them. She accused him of being bitter and doing this to spite them.

"She started lashing out, constantly texting me constantly wanting to talk to me and ending up arguing. When I snapped she had my mom calling me basically guilt-tripping me and telling me I'm wrong and that I needed to think about this."

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Confused, angry, and still grieving, the dad asked Reddit to weigh in on who was the asshole here.

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It was pretty unanimous: the sister and the rest of his family are the assholes, not him.

"NTA," said WhoFearsDeath, "Ask her what her plan was for her son’s college if yours hadn’t died, and then tell her to do that. You aren’t obligated to do anything whatsoever with that money that you don’t want to do."

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Many expressed their annoyance with the sheer entitlement the family is assuming.

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"This boy is far more family to you than anyone of those people you share blood with," said Dana07620.

Minnie-Mint added, "The fact that your sister doesn't know which friend was your son's best friend when he visited constantly, including overnight, truly shows how little she was involved. You have nothing to feel guilty about."

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As for how to handle the situation from here, CandylandCanada had the best advice.

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"Your most powerful weapon is silence," they said, "Refuse to engage with them on this."

Amen to that.

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As of right now, the dad hasn't even told the friend about his plans yet, but maybe he should.

Giphy | One Chicago

By making it official, possibly even in writing, it would help to curb any further arguments.

"I have already signed the money over to the recipient," the dad could say, "So this discussion is over."

What do you think of this situation?

h/t: Reddit

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