Dear Barb—Sleeping Dogs Lie

Dear Barb;

Hi, my father passed away four years ago and my siblings and I were devastated.  I would say my mother was as well, but now I’m not so sure.  A few months after my dad died, my mom went out for a visit to B.C. to see my uncle—my dad’s younger brother.  When she came back she seemed happier than I had seen her in a long time.  Two months after her return she announced that she was moving to B.C with my uncle.  At the time we were shocked, but ultimately my siblings and I eventually accepted that my mom was happy with my uncle. 

I’m not sure how my dad would have felt as there were problems between the brothers.  Many years ago, before my younger brother was born, my uncle lived with us, at that time something happened and my dad told my uncle to leave.  My uncle moved to B.C. and the brothers have had minimal contact through the years.  In view of the present situation between my mom and uncle, I’m wondering if something happened between them and that is why my dad told my uncle to move out.  Also through the years everyone has always commented that my brother looks like my uncle.  At the time I just thought oh he looks like Uncle Gerry, now I’m wondering if Uncle Gerry really is my brother’s father! I have been thinking about asking my mom, but I don’t what to cause problems.  I don’t think my brother suspects anything because he is not really aware that there were problems between dad and Uncle Gerry.  Do you think I should bring this up, or just forget about it? Thanks Wayne.

Hey Wayne:

Thanks for your letter.  Let me begin by saying I’m sorry for your loss.  It appears that your parents have given you and your siblings a good life and you should be happy for that.  If your mother has now found happiness with your uncle, that is their business.  If you choose to bring up the parentage of your brother, you will definitely be bringing up a lot of issues that may be better left unsaid.  It is possible that nothing happened between your mother and uncle, and it was simply a problem between the two brothers that caused your uncle to move away.  If what you are suspecting is true, and your brother has never questioned this issue, learning this would greatly impact his life.  Discovering who his father really is, may make him question his whole life, which seems to have been a good one.  So my suggestion would be to stop thinking about this and let sleeping dogs lie.