Woman Pretends to Be Her Dead Twin Every Holiday For Her Grandparents Who Don't Know She Died. "It'll Crush Them."

“We don’t have the heart to tell them.”

Dealing with death in the family can be devastating, but one woman is determined to shield her grandparents from the pain. TikToker Annie Niu posted a video where she says she calls her grandparents every holiday season, pretending to be her twin sister who passed away three years ago from viral meningitis. According to Niu, she is glad to protect the grandparents and keep them from experiencing heartbreak. Here's what she says in the video

Good Intentions

Annie Niu/TikTok

Niu explains that protecting the elders is common in Asian culture, and she wants to shield them from the pain of knowing her twin sister is no longer with them. Niu understands that not everyone would agree with what she's doing, but she believes it's for the best.

Protecting the Elders


Niu says she is worried her grandparents could actually die from the grief if they knew. "A lot of people are like, 'Oh well, they deserve to know,' " she said. "Well, they don't deserve to die, and you can't guarantee that's not going to happen if you tell them."

Keeping the Secret


Niu says her family has no intention of letting the grandparents know about the death of her sister. "We're probably just going to continuously make up excuses for why she is not visiting them," she says. "[We] don't have the heart to tell them. It'll crush them."

Memory Of Her Sister

Annie Niu/TikTok

Niu shares another aspect of pretending to be her sister—it makes her feel as if her sister is still with her. Niu dreams about her twin "almost every single night," she says. "So I treat it as I am spending half of my life with her still."

Mixed Reaction


The public reaction to Niu's now-viral video has been mixed. "What happens when they find out?" one commenter said. Another commenter said they understood. "After my dad passed my grandma stopped eating and basically died of a broken heart. She passed 2 weeks after my dad. She could not take the sadness."

How To Announce A Death In The Family to Your Grandparents

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Announcing a death in the family can be one of the most difficult conversations you'll ever have. It's natural to feel overwhelmed with grief, and it can be especially tough to deliver the news to your grandparents. Here are some tips to help you through this difficult conversation:

Prepare yourself: Take some time to collect your thoughts and emotions before speaking with your grandparents. It may help to write down what you want to say in advance.

Choose a quiet, private location: This conversation should be held in a place where you and your grandparents can talk without interruptions or distractions.

Be direct: It's essential to be straightforward and clear when delivering the news. Avoid using vague language or sugarcoating the situation.

Allow your grandparents to react: It's normal for your grandparents to feel a range of emotions, including shock, sadness, and disbelief. Allow them the time and space to process their feelings.

Offer support: You can offer your grandparents comfort by simply being there for them. Hold their hand, give them a hug, or simply sit with them in silence.

Help your grandparents with logistics: Depending on the circumstances, you may need to help your grandparents make arrangements for the funeral or other events. Offer to assist with these tasks to help alleviate some of their burden.

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more
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