So first off, this is not really how I was expecting to spend my evening. I'm a lurker around here, but I don't really have a wide group of friends I can ask for an opinion, so I'd greatly appreciate some help from people who are generally a lot wiser than I am.
My dad recently gave me his old computer. He formatted it, but it was still tied to his account so I was in the process of transferring it to mine before my yearly extended trip home. I just switched the account being used to mine when a popup for a popular backup program came up, which I clicked so it would stop bugging me with the tutorial.
As it turns out, the folder was still synced to my dad's account. In the root folder was an ominously titled doc called chance of survival. It was created very recently - and dated between me first using the computer months ago, and today.
Some background info:
My dad's a (highly) functional alcoholic who started drinking at a young age. He suffers from symptoms that are clearly related to alcohol abuse, but none that impede his daily life. However, he's gone through a rough patch at work recently (can't be too specific about it) and a result he's started drinking more. (But never during work, which I knew and his colleagues have always backed up.)
At one point me and my mum started talking about this (as we often do) and this time she revealed that he was denied life insurance at a young age. We've talked before about his habits and how he might not be around much longer, but this was still shocking to me. She also mentioned that he ignores serious illnesses unless until his hand is forced - in some cases by his boss and co-workers. She asked me to talk to him about his alcohol abuse and health habits, and I did - I was planning to anyway, but I just never had the courage to do it. The conversation went fairly well and was long and involved, but I knew going in you can't change habits with a single conversation - though I did manage to get his permission to talk to him about it more openly.
As you might imagine, looking at this document, I have a fairly lively and imaginative idea of what might be in it. So, do I open it?
On one hand, I wasn't supposed to see it, and if I did, I'd be invading his privacy, betraying his trust, and (the least convincing argument to myself here) taking away something he might be preparing to tell me in the next two weeks. It could also very well be nothing.
On the other hand, he has a difficult time with emotionally charged situations and avoids health problems as much as possible. Making the assumption that this is something to be worried about, I can easily see him not telling my mum and I for a very long time. If I know what's in the file, I could theoretically prod him to open up and get something started. And even if I don't, forewarned is forearmed. But truth be told, I'm not sure if I could handle several weeks of silence around the issue. Of course, if I don't open it... not sure if I can stand that either.
I'm really not sure what the best option is here, but I am definitely leaning towards the latter. For now, I've copied the file, removed my access to his backup program account, and deleted the rest of the folder.
I'm in the European timezone, so I am afraid I won't be able to reply till morning. Still, any advice and perspective would help massively. Thanks in advance.
EDIT: I guess there's a third option: tell him I saw the file and that I didn't open it. I guess that might be what I am leaning towards now?