Losing a loved one is hard and everyone deals with grief differently. Some people have some rather standard coping strategies, while others turn to more extreme measures.
One woman took to TikTok to share the way her family allegedly handles the loss of her twin sister, and the method wasn’t well received.
In a now-deleted TikTok video, Annie Niu (@annie_niu) revealed that her family pretends her sister is still alive and she’s the one responsible for faking her late sister’s phone calls. She shared in the video that she calls her grandparents every year and pretends to be her twin sister because she’s afraid to tell her grandparents the truth about her sister’s passing.
She wrote in the text overlay, “POV: your twin sister passed away three years ago but you still haven’t told your grandparents so now you have to call them every holiday pretending to be her.”
She went on to explain in the video how it’s “really common in Asian culture” to protect older family members. She said her family is trying to “shield the elderly from terrible news,” and that’s why they haven’t told her grandparents about the family’s loss.
People naturally reacted to her video with a mix of horror and shock. Within a matter of days, her video received millions of views and thousands of reactions.
@metalktoomuch #stitch with @annie_niu ♬ Anti-Hero – Taylor Swift
Annie’s sister reportedly passed away from viral meningitis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that viral meningitis isn’t usually fatal, but in rare circumstances it can lead to death.
After sharing the video, thousands of people dogpiled in the comments, expressing how horrified they were over the deception. In a deleted follow-up video, Annie justified her decision by saying that her grandparents “basically raised” her and her sister, and her sister was very close to them. Hearing of her sister’s death would devastate them and possibly kill them.
Annie said, “A lot of people are like, ‘Oh well, they deserve to know.’ Well, they don’t deserve to die, and you can’t guarantee that’s not going to happen if you tell them.” She added that they have no plans to tell her grandparents the truth and will likely “make up excuses” for why she’s not visiting them indefinitely.
Annie deleted the videos just days after posting them, likely due to the harsh criticism she received.