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A Teen Loaned A Sentimental Sweater To A Classmate Who Then Passed Away—He Wants To Know If It's Ok To Ask His Family For It Back

Photo: Ranta Images/Shutterstock
sad teen

Dealing with death is something you might expect a child to struggle with, especially if a young person with their whole life ahead of them passes away. But those struggles are usually around how to grieve the loss.

A 14-year-old boy who recently lost a classmate in a tragic car accident took to the subreddit, AITA (Am-I-The-A—hole) to ask if it is appropriate to reach out to the deceased teen’s family and ask them to return a sweater the boy had borrowed.

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The young man told Reddit that three weeks before posting, he had let a boy in one of his classes borrow a sweater “because it was an emergency.” The other student vowed to give it back after his mom did laundry, but that day would never come.

In a cruel turn of events, the young man’s classmate was killed in a car accident just a few days later. The teen said that he had attended the funeral and wanted to ask the family for the sweater, but knew it was not an appropriate time to do so.

He explained, “Obviously I knew it wasn’t okay to say anything before his funeral, but now that it’s been a couple of weeks I’m wondering if it would be okay to go to his family and ask them for my sweater?”

To add context, the teenager added that he had never met the boy’s family as they were more associates than close friends. He was certain they would have no idea who he is, so was on the fence about asking for the sweater.

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The Redditor also explained that the sweater held sentimental value because he had picked it up on an “important trip” and it had the name of the place he had traveled to. So, he really wanted to get the piece of memorabilia back.

His older sister had already advised him that if she we in his shoes, she would not ask for the item out of fear of upsetting the already mourning family.

Readers overwhelmingly voted the youngster NTA (not-the-a—hole) for wanting his prized possession returned. They implored him to choose his words wisely when approaching the family of the boy who passed. Some even thought the parents might be happy to hear their son had a friend who cared enough to loan him something so special.

Grief is a complex thing, but being compassionate and authentic can go a long way in not offending the bereaved. The fact that the teen turned to Reddit for advice before accosting the family about the sweater shows that he is emotionally intelligent.

Deciding whether or not to ask for the item just a few weeks after the boy’s death is difficult. On one hand, when someone dies, it is important to focus on the people grieving and see what you can do to help.

But on the flip side, when families who have lost a loved one start deciding what to do with their belongings, the clothing usually ends up donated to a shelter. So, it might be time for the young man find am empathetic way of retrieving his sweater from them.

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NyRee Ausler is a writer from Seattle, Washington, and author of seven books. She covers lifestyle and entertainment and news, as well as navigating the workplace and social issues.