DEAR HARRIETTE: Growing up, I was raised by my mother in a single-parent household after my father passed away when I was a baby. Now that I am older, I have a desire to find my father's side of the family. I am concerned that this may cause some issues or bring up past hurt for my mother. My mother never spoke much about my father's side of the family, which always left a void in my heart. I think it is important to tell my mom what I am doing, but I don't want this to cause any problems between us. Can you please help me with this situation? -- Finding Myself
DEAR FINDING MYSELF: You have every right to learn about your father’s family. Your mother may be uncomfortable about the idea at first, but it is OK to let her know your intentions. Thank your mother for all that she has done to care for you for your whole life. Point out how hard it may have been at times, especially since your father passed away so early in your life. Tell her that you are curious about him and his family, and you want her help in learning about them and finding them. Listen to her thoughts on the subject. Find out if she knows how to reach any of his people. Probe to learn their names and any other clues about them. Do your research to put the pieces together. Also, ask her why she didn’t maintain a relationship with them. There may be good reasons why she has kept her distance. Learn what you can, and proceed with caution.