Life Advice



Ask Amy: Life-long father/son hurt resurfaces

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: My husband's biological father left him and his mom when he was 2 years old. They haven't seen each other in decades. We live on the other side of the country.

My husband just learned that his dad has stage 4 cancer.

My husband says he feels ready for his father to die so he can be done wondering if he'll ever reach out to apologize.

His dad's name recently popped up as a suggested friend on his Facebook page and my husband wondered if maybe his father will try to reach out that way. My husband doesn't want to be the one to reach out, which I fully understand. It's not his job to do that — he's the child in this situation.

I feel pulled to introduce myself online to his father or maybe his aunt to see if there's a willingness to communicate with my husband. My husband says he's numb and doesn't like talking about it, but I wonder how he will feel when any chance to get an apology or acknowledgement of his hurt is totally gone.

My husband says he would want his bio dad to reach out on his own terms. Would I be hurting him and breaking our trust if I do this on my own?


I want to honor his feelings, but I also believe in the humanity of other people and the chance to heal. Should I leave this alone?

— Let it Be?

Dear Let it Be: The odds that your husband’s father will reach out and either acknowledge or apologize for leaving him in childhood are low. The whole topic is simply too big for a late-life reveal.

A suggested friend on Facebook is simply someone whose “friend” network crosses paths with yours. In this case, the FB algorithm did its work.


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