Father is keeping his cancer a secret

"Seems to me the most respectful plan is to accept his decision and drop the subject."

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January 13, 2021 - 8:59 AM

Dear Carolyn: I found out my 84-year-old father has cancer; I found out from my sister, who found out from his wife, but both communications were “in secret.” My father hasn’t told either my sister or me directly. I would like to be able to communicate with him about this, but am not sure how to bring it up. I think his failure to tell us could in part be his own selfishness/insensitivity — he also failed to tell us when he remarried — but also because he doesn’t want to “burden” us.

Carolyn HaxCourtesy photo

To the extent it’s the latter, it seems like I should be able to tell him that isn’t a problem, but to the extent it’s for his own personal reasons, I guess it’s his choice?

— In Secret

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