Grandfather’s death leaves many open questions

Dear Amy: My father-in-law died by suicide. Because of his local prominence, the suicide made local news. If you Google his name, stories mention his suicide.

My in-laws’ religion is very clear on suicide and the family feels a great deal of shame over his death. My mother-in-law insisted that none of the grandchildren should be told how their grandfather died.

My husband agrees with me that our daughter eventually has the right to know how her grandfather died. I don’t want to disrespect his family, but I believe that our daughter has the right to know her complete health history.

I do not believe that there is any reason to be ashamed.

My daughter is now learning how to use the internet and has started Googling her relatives’ names. It’s only a matter of time before she finds out about how he died. I feel my husband and I should guide the discussion.

If my daughter finds out about her grandfather through the internet, she will likely believe that because we haven’t talked about his suicide, then it means that she’s not supposed to talk about it.

— Anxious

Dear Anxious: Denial and secrecy surrounding a suicide is not a good thing. But people have a right to privacy.

You seem overly invested in controlling a specific outcome. Yes, of course, your daughter will eventually learn about her grandfather’s death. But your stated concern about your young daughter’s “health history” seems disingenuous.