Dad Honors His Late Wife's Wishes And Gives Their Daughter A Letter At Graduation — But She Got Angry At Him After Reading It

Is it more important to honor the wishes of the living or the dead?

teen girl sitting on bed crying holding letter Antonio Guillem / Shutterstock

Single parenting after the loss of a partner can be incredibly difficult. Suddenly, you are responsible for everything, including raising kids on your own. 

This happened to one dad who tried to do right by his late wife. It just didn’t go quite according to plan.

A father gave a letter to his daughter from his late wife when she graduated, as the wife had requested.

A confused man took to Reddit to ask for advice after he gave his daughter a gift from his deceased wife that did not work out the way he thought it would.


“I … was married to my wife for 20 years,” he said. “I lost her in a car accident eight years ago. We had two beautiful daughters together, Maeve … and Alex ...”

@mrreddytales Were they wrong for not bringing this up? 🧐 Comment 😡 for yes or 😎 for no! #reddit #aita #askredditstories #reddit ♬ original sound - MrReddy

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This man explained what one of his wife’s great loves was and how it related to their daughters.

“An important thing to know about my wife is that she had a passion for writing,” he said. “One of her favorite things to write was letters. She wanted people to know that she cared about them.”

“After she had each of my daughters, she wrote them a letter,” he stated. “She wrote each within days after their births and wanted to give them away on their graduation days. She put them in the firebox in our basement to avoid losing or forgetting about them. She wrote the letters with the intention of giving them to our daughters herself 18 years later as a sort of time capsule type of thing. Both letters contained mostly words of wisdom and information about what was going on when they were born.”

The family had a joyous occasion to celebrate: Maeve’s high school graduation.


“Maeve graduated from high school today, and I went to her room with the letter tonight,” the dad said. “I let her cry on my shoulder as she read it, and at first, she seemed happy to have … something directly from her mother.”

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Unfortunately, the joy didn’t last for long. “After she read it, she turned to me looking surprisingly angry,” he lamented. “She asked why I had waited so long to give it to her. She had so many rough moments and heartbreak in the last eight years where all she wanted was her mother’s wisdom, and I withheld the letter.”


The dad was distraught. “I told her that I was just doing what her mother had said she wanted, and Maeve shot back that her mother also hadn’t planned on being in the accident,” he recounted. “Alex heard the shouting and came into the room, and Maeve told her about the letter.”

Now, Alex is just as upset as Maeve, and their father doesn’t know what to do or if he handled the situation incorrectly altogether.

It’s important to honor the wishes of the dead.

Juan C. Antúnez wrote about the importance of honoring the wishes of the dead, even when they go against those of the living, for the Florida Probate and Trust Litigation Blog. He referenced the podcast "Future Perfect" and its episode "The Wishes of the Dead."


In the episode, Professor Barry Lam and philosopher Samuel Scheffler discuss why we should honor the wishes of those who have passed on.

As Antúnez summarized it, “To ignore the wishes of the dead can, as Lam puts it, ‘make their lives and projects pointless,’ which in a way ‘might be worse than harming or wronging them.’”


not sure when this letter is from bc theres no year on it, but she died on march 1st this year and her funeral was march 3rd. reading this now just makes me feel so weird

♬ original sound - Julia Senga

Although the feelings and desires of the living do matter, the dead cannot be forgotten or ignored


Their wishes should be honored, as this man tried to do with his family. For now, the daughters' feelings are raw, but they will grow to understand why their father waited and how special the sentiment was.

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Mary-Faith Martinez is a writer for YourTango who covers entertainment, news and human interest topics.