A distraught mother named Sarah was coping with the sudden death of her little son, Jake, in the small hamlet of Maplewood. Jake was a vivacious eight-year-old who passed away suddenly from an illness just four months earlier, leaving Sarah devastated. Jake was a happy guy despite his illness, and his contagious laughter could be heard all across the home.

While the entire town lamented Jake’s death, Sarah’s sorrow was more intense. She made the decision to cremate Jake and took comfort in storing his ashes in a calm urn on her bedroom dresser. It turned become a safe haven for her, a physical link to her cherished son.

Sarah believed that James, her husband, had supported her during the grieving process. But while she was away, he took a step that would change their lives forever. Desperate to bring his own sadness some sort of closure, James let his mother Margaret remove the urn without asking Sarah first.

James’s mother Margaret was a conventional woman who attended funerals. Throughout Jake’s battle, she had remained aloof, refusing to spend the night at the hospital and avoiding her own grandkids around him. But after Jake passed away, Margaret exhibited an unexpected change in behavior. She started coming around more often and suggested making pendants out of ash to honor Jake.

When Margaret suggested that James, her, and their other children all wear ash pendants, the strain reached a breaking point. Sarah was still so devastated that she found it impossible to imagine sharing Jake’s body. She said that she was the one who had lost a kid, and she angrily rejected the proposition.

The argument turned into a furious exchange, and Sarah and her mother-in-law’s final discussion on the subject concluded with unresolved tension.

Sarah’s family planned a six-day road trip for her as a coping mechanism since they were desperate for a respite from the intense stress. She had no idea that when she got back, Jake’s urn had gone missing, which would be tragic. Sarah was furious and felt betrayed by her husband’s choice to let his mother collect their son’s remains without getting her permission.

She couldn’t stand to see James again, so she packed up and went back to her family, turning down the necklace Margaret had spent a lot of money on. Sarah went over to her mother-in-law and chastised her for removing Jake’s remains without permission. It was an act of selfishness and inconsideration.

Online, people were moved by Sarah’s tale, and an outpouring of support was sent. She was praised by commenters as “not the asshole” for turning down the ash necklace and they expressed empathy for her deep sorrow. Some advised looking into filing a lawsuit against Margaret and thinking about getting a divorce.

Like Sarah, the internet community thought the family’s explanation for the predicament was ludicrous and questioned it. They suggested severing contact with everyone concerned, going after legal measures to get the urn back, and recording James’s behavior so that it might be used as proof in a divorce.

Following the startling change of events, Sarah took comfort in the help of strangers who could relate to her extreme suffering. She knew it would take time to heal, but she was committed to taking back her son’s memories and finding solace on her own terms.