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by Abigail Van Buren

The Time Has Come to End Sisters' Four-Year Silence

DEAR ABBY: I have been estranged from my sister for four years. She lives across the country, so it hasn't been difficult to hold a grudge. Either because I'm turning 50 this year, or maybe it's old-fashioned guilt, I have been feeling the right thing to do is to make amends.

My question is -- how? Should I write a letter, send an email or call her? To be honest, if she made those efforts to me, I would rebuff them. The two of us are similar, so what would be a good way to bridge the conflict? -- HARD-HEADED HAWAIIAN

DEAR H.H.H.: If you call your sister, her knee-jerk reaction might be to hang up. If you email her, it's too easy to hit "delete."

Write her a letter. Tell her you love her, miss her and are sorry for the estrangement. If there is something you need to apologize for, do it in the letter. Wait a week, then give her a call.

If she is as similar to you as you think, she may be as glad to hear your voice as you will be to hear hers. And if she's not, your conscience will be clear because you tried.

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