Ask Someone Else's Mom by Susan Writer

Son Wonders at Late Father's Varied Personalities

DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: My father wasn’t an easy man to get along with — at least if you were related to him. He had a bad temper and a short fuse, and almost no filters at all. Yet when he died, all my sisters and I heard about was what a great guy he was, rock of the community and all that. We couldn’t believe they were talking about the same man we knew, and instead of being the comfort other people meant it to be, it just hurt us to know that there was some other guy out there who never showed this incredible side to us.

I am trying to get over this, but am not sure I can. I know you’re supposed to forgive the dead and everything, but the life we and my mom lived with my father was sometimes hard to forgive or forget.

Am I holding a now petty grudge? --- WHO WAS THIS MAN?

DEAR WHO WAS THIS MAN?: The longer you live, the more you’ll realize a completely consistent person is a rare find. Most of us have separate expectations from those closest to us than we have for the people outside our tightest circle. We also tend to develop a variety of personalities to deal with the wide range of situations we face throughout our lives. Your sisters and you may do the same thing without even realizing it, and it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Different circumstances call for different responses.

Hopefully, in time you’ll learn to forgive your dad for the man he was at home. In his mind, he may have been doing the best he could, and his lasting lesson to you and your sisters may be to remember to save at least some of the best of yourselves for those you love most.

Need advice? Please send your questions to Someone Else’s Mom at