Widow Wednesday: Protecting the Dead

Sometimes, after people die, we make them into better people than they were when they were alive. Speaking ill of the dead is just not something you’re supposed to do. So how do you share information about your loved one without it feeling like you’re speaking ill?

I worry that if I am not completely honest with Nicholas about Mark’s life that he will have a warped image of his biological dad (the least worrisome outcome) or that he will repeat the mistakes that Mark made (the most worrisome outcome).

Mark made a *lot* of mistakes in life. Mistakes that really hurt not only him but also many, many other people. I don’t want Nicholas to make those choices. But I don’t want Nicholas to feel like I’m bashing Mark. Ugh.

I think part of this issue for me is that I spent so many years protecting Mark and his image (or thinking I was), so many years denying or just flat-out lying about our lives that I can’t get over the feeling that I need to protect him. There were a lot of people who got pieces of what was going on, but nobody who ever knew just how bad things were before Mark got sober. I don’t want Nicholas (or his potential family) to live that way, so I want him to be informed.

Obviously, at 5 years old, Nicholas isn’t asking too many probing questions about Mark. I want to be ahead of the curve, though, and address things before they become a problem.

Have you ever had to share uncomfortable information about a loved-one? How did you handle it?