DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: When I was about 11 years old, my uncle and my father were up for the same job at the publishing house where they both worked. As a matter of fact, my father was the main reason my uncle got the job in the first place.
A top-level editor retired and there was an opening for one of the more senior editors, which included my dad and my uncle. My dad was always focused on the jobs he had to do. My uncle was more into the politics of the place. He did his work, and did it reasonably well, but he was always looking to move up, while my dad loved doing what he was doing. However, my dad was also the most senior of the editors in the publishing house at the time, and had more than earned lead consideration for the opening.
In the end, my uncle got the job, and although my dad didn’t say anything at the time, my mother and I eventually learned that my uncle purposely undermined my dad. Being the gentleman he was, my father never spoke ill of his brother. Dad used to say he got the better deal, because he could continue doing what he loved best, rather than having to get more into administrative duties; but knowing my father, I can’t imagine it didn’t hurt him both to be overlooked and to have been slid aside by his own brother.
I never heard him complain about the slight, though things certainly cooled between the two brothers from then on.
Now that my dad is gone, my uncle has reached out to my mother and me to try and get back into our lives. And, while I don’t completely doubt the sincerity of his motives, I personally cannot and will not forgive what we knew he did to my dad just to get ahead. My mom is of the opinion we should just let it go, and mend fences. My uncle is now alone, and she thinks we should forgive and forget. Not me.
Which of us is right, in your opinion? --- STILL HOLD A GRUDGE
DEAR STILL HOLD A GRUDGE: I think it’s time you let go of the ill feelings you harbor against your uncle. As a third party to what happened when you were still a kid, it’s impossible for you to know the whole story. There could’ve been considerations made by the management that went beyond what politics your uncle may or may not have been playing.
This isn’t to say you need to become bosom buddies with your uncle, but the adult thing to do is to treat him cordially, and not go out of your way to make things awkward, if only for your mother’s sake.