I think my aunt wants to open up about some of her past life and some of her family life. How can I help her do this without being a busybody?

Mel in New York

We all have secrets, and this includes our elder loved ones. They have lived full, rich, and diversified lives with ups and downs, and yes, secrets. Sometimes these hushed-up facts have caused your aunt serious resentment or hurt or continuing anger. Letting go of secrets can have a healing effect on your aunt. If she wants to tell you a secret that’s deep in her heart, be the listener that she very much needs. This may help unburden her from the weight of a hardship or experience that could have been shared long ago. But don’t force the issue if she isn’t ready. We all need to be listened to, no matter how old we are.

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