Should I Keep My Mom’s Dying Confession a Secret or Come Clean to My Father?

Life has been kicking my butt for the past several months. Work has ramped up due to audits, my marriage has taken a turn as my husband and I struggle to get over a rough patch, and my mother has died. I never thought I would have to sit by and watch my mother suffer the way I have over the past 90 days.

Hospice was the word I was most afraid of, but once the subject was broached, it was almost a relief. So there I was. My mother was kept ‘comfortable’ as she lived out her last days. I did my best to visit after work daily and spent most of my free time there on the weekends with my husband when he was not busy. It was actually refreshing in some ways to be forced to face our reality. She seemed much happier in hospice than she was at home and in and out of the hospital.

Stock Image: Mother and daughter enjoying coffee at home (Photo: Getty Images)

I hated leaving her when it was time to go. I was always nervous it would be the last time that I saw her when I was walking away. But the next morning, when I’d call, she’d greet me with a bright ‘good morning, still here.’ My mother was a fighter, and I knew she would fight as long as she had strength in her bones and breath in her lungs. But one particular morning before she passed away, there was something different in her voice. She said she had something to tell me when I came for my visit.

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On the ride over, I couldn’t help but feel anxious about what my mother wanted to disclose. When I arrived, I hurried up and signed in and rounded the corner to her room. She was lying there looking more frail than she had the day before. It wouldn’t be long, I thought to myself. She beckoned me over to her bedside, and I took a seat. She looked at me for a while, deep in my eyes, and then said, “Your uncle Ronny is your real father.”

So many emotions raged inside me, but all I could manage to say was, ‘What?!’

My mom told me a long story about how she and my uncle Ronny, my dad’s brother, had hooked up 40-some-odd years ago behind my father’s back, and she had gotten pregnant. My father had never questioned whether he was the father. My mom asked me to keep this a secret, and two short days later she passed away.

Should I keep her dark secret from my father and the rest of the family or stir up the hornet’s nest and tell it all now that she’s gone?

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