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A man looking outside from an airplane window | Source: Shutterstock

Am I Wrong for Spending My Son’s University Fund on a Trip to Europe?

Imagine losing your everything, then defying the world to honor their memory. That’s where this story starts. My son, a dream tragically shattered, and a trip to Europe that took an unexpected turn – a turn that revealed the true depths of grief and love. Let me tell you about it.

My son, Lucas, has always been a brilliant kid—way smarter than me. I used to joke about getting a paternity test because he was so intelligent. Ever since he was little, Lucas had this spark, this insatiable curiosity that set him apart.

A man carrying his little boy on his shoulders | Source: Pexels

A man carrying his little boy on his shoulders | Source: Pexels

I set up an education fund for him, which he could use for anything as long as he pursued post-secondary education. That fund was my way of ensuring he had every opportunity to chase his dreams, whatever they might be.

Lucas was around 12 when Lisa and I divorced. It wasn’t an easy time for us, but we managed to keep things amicable for Lucas’ sake. Lisa remarried when Lucas was 14. Her new husband, Matt, seemed like a decent guy, and Lucas got along with him well enough.

A mother-son duo sitting on a couch and using a laptop | Source: Pexels

A mother-son duo sitting on a couch and using a laptop | Source: Pexels

I found love again too, and remarried Melissa when Lucas turned 16. She was great with Lucas, always supportive and kind, which made the transition smoother. Despite the changes in our family dynamics, Lucas and I stayed close. We had this running joke about his education fund.

I always told him, “You know, Lucas, if you decide not to go to university, I could use that money to travel to Europe and have the time of my life.”

He’d laugh and play along, never letting me get under his skin. “Don’t worry, Dad,” he’d say, “I’ll make sure you get to Europe someday, even if it’s with my degree money.”

A father and son posing together | Source: Pexels

A father and son posing together | Source: Pexels

The day Lucas got accepted to Brown was the proudest moment of my life. I can still remember the look on his face when he opened that acceptance letter—pure, unadulterated joy.

We went out to celebrate, and while I playfully mourned the loss of my Europe trip, we were both over the moon about his achievement.

“I guess Europe will have to wait,” I said with a grin, and he laughed. I was incredibly proud, and he was excited to start this new chapter.

A smiling teenage boy wearing a jacket and eyeglasses | Source: Pexels

A smiling teenage boy wearing a jacket and eyeglasses | Source: Pexels

We talked for hours about his plans, his dreams, and what he hoped to achieve at Brown. It felt like everything was falling into place.

But then, just a couple of days later, I took all the money I had promised Lucas and instead bought a ticket for that trip to Europe I always teased him about, just because my precious boy was gone.

Yes, you heard that right. Lucas could never make it to Brown. My beloved son’s dream of studying in his dream institution ended with him.

An airplane ticket | Source: Pexels

An airplane ticket | Source: Pexels

Lucas was struck and died in a terrible car accident in March. I’m still dealing with it. My ex is dealing with it. My wife, Melissa, has been nothing but my rock in this. She is holding me up. It’s a lot to take in, honestly. I mean, how do you mourn the loss of your child and just get over it? You can’t, right?

It’s an endless struggle, and I’ve been stumbling, falling, and just feeling downright miserable since Lucas’ life was tragically cut short.

A broken windshield of a car | Source: Pexels

A broken windshield of a car | Source: Pexels

So, I was dealing with the funeral arrangements and everything when my ex, Lisa, called me to ask for money for her stepson, Jacob. She knew Lucas had been accepted to Brown on a scholarship and was just going to use the money for living expenses and an emergency fund.

“Robert, can we talk?” Lisa’s voice sounded strained over the phone. “Yeah, what is it?” I replied, my voice heavy with exhaustion.

“It’s about Jacob. He needs some help with his school fees. I know Lucas got the scholarship, and I was hoping you could use the money for Jacob.”

A woman talking on the phone | Source: Pexels

A woman talking on the phone | Source: Pexels

I was silent for a moment, trying to process her request. Finally, I said, “Lisa, I can’t give you the money.” She sounded frustrated.

“What are you going to do with it then?” Without saying a word, I hung up the phone and sent her a message with a photo of my ticket to Europe.

The caption read, “I’m going to do what I always said I would: I’m going to Europe and honor my son’s memory in my own way.”

A man using his phone while holding a glass of drink | Source: Unsplash

A man using his phone while holding a glass of drink | Source: Unsplash

The caption read, “I’m going to do what I always said I would: I’m going to Europe to honor my son’s memory in my own way.”

Lisa called back almost immediately. “Robert, this is stupid. You’re wasting so much money! You could be helping Jacob.” But I didn’t care.

The grief and the need to escape were overwhelming. I needed to find a way to deal with the loss, and this was the only way I knew how. So, I packed my bags and left for Europe.

A man in an airplane looking through the window | Source: Unsplash

A man in an airplane looking through the window | Source: Unsplash

The trip was a whirlwind. I visited Rome, Paris, Berlin, and many other cities Lucas and I had talked about. Each city was a mix of beauty and sadness.

I’d stand in front of some breathtaking view, imagining Lucas by my side, sharing the experience. I bought postcards from every city, writing little notes on each one as if I were talking to him.

When I returned, the first thing I did was go to the cemetery to visit Lucas. The sky was gray and overcast, fitting my mood perfectly. I knelt by his grave, placing the postcards carefully on the headstone.

A grayscale photo of Eiffel Tower | Source: Pexels

A grayscale photo of Eiffel Tower | Source: Pexels

Each one felt like a piece of my heart being laid to rest with him. “Here you go, buddy,” I whispered, my voice choking with tears. “I brought these for you. I hope you like them.” As I sat there, lost in my grief, I heard footsteps behind me. Turning around, I saw Lisa. For a moment, we just looked at each other.

I expected anger or resentment, but instead, she stepped forward and hugged me tightly. The tears flowed freely as we held each other, our shared grief binding us together.

A person holding two postcards | Source: Pexels

A person holding two postcards | Source: Pexels

“Robert, I understand why you did it,” she said, her voice trembling. “I miss him too. We all do.”

We stood there for a long time, holding each other and crying. It was a moment of pure, raw emotion. No words were needed to explain the depth of our loss.

As we pulled away, Lisa looked at me with tear-filled eyes. “We need to be strong, for Lucas.” I nodded, tears streaming down my face. “Yeah, we do. We will.”

A man consoling a grieving woman in a cemetery | Source: Freepik

A man consoling a grieving woman in a cemetery | Source: Freepik

In that moment, I realized that despite our differences and the pain we were going through, we were united in our love for Lucas. And as we stood there, grieving together, I felt a small, fragile sense of peace.

It wasn’t much, but it was enough to remind me that even in the darkest times, love and memory can still shine through. And that’s the story. I took my son’s university fund and went to Europe, not out of selfishness, but out of a desperate need to honor his memory in the only way I knew how.

A man sitting by a grave | Source: Pexels

A man sitting by a grave | Source: Pexels

It didn’t bring him back, but it helped me cope. And in the end, it brought a small measure of healing to all of us who loved him.

Do you think I did the right thing, or was I wrong for spending my late son’s education fund on a trip? What would you have done in my shoes?

While things eventually fell into place for Robert, the same may not be true for the protagonist in our next story. Read on to see what Matilda endured, thanks to her boyfriend.

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