How do you grieve for a total jerk?

If you have serious objections to a person’s key family member, then it’s best to be honest about that early, and to say why. It may seem kind or just pragmatic to make nice, but this situation shows how intertwined and far-reaching these issues can be.

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December 7, 2020 - 9:44 AM

Dear Carolyn: My husband’s father died last weekend. He was my husband’s hero and the beloved patriarch of the whole family, but for reasons it would take me 20 pages to cover, I did not like him at all. (Near the top of the list, he believed men should control women, and that philosophy pervaded every single thing he did and said in my presence.) My husband is not a misogynist, but he sympathized with his dad’s way of thinking.

Carolyn HaxCourtesy photo

I don’t know how else to explain how I’m feeling right now other than extreme fatigue at having to keep feigning sadness that he’s gone. I have always been very concerned about my husband’s love for this awful person. I was worried about the impact he would have on our kids, and I’m relieved that he died while they were still young enough not to understand all his blustering. But I will have to attend a service and endure a lot of conversation about how dearly missed he is. How do I get through all of that?

— Grieving a Jerk

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