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by Abigail Van Buren

Could Aunt's Death Signal It's Time for Family Secret to Be Shared?

DEAR ABBY: My mom once said that her younger sister had an unwed pregnancy in the early 1940s and gave up a baby girl for adoption. Mom told no one else but me about this. She later said her sister had confessed it to her husband late in life and that he had reacted violently.

I recently attended a family funeral and had a conversation with my cousin, who said he was concerned about possible dementia in his mother because -- among other things -- she had asked him about his older sister. (He doesn't know he had one.) I didn't say otherwise, but I'm debating with myself if I should say anything or just keep quiet. My aunt died last week, after being a widow for several years. -- KEEPER OF A FAMILY SECRET

DEAR KEEPER: If there were anything positive to be gained by revealing this secret, I would advise you to tell your cousin. But there isn't. So keep your mouth shut.

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