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Words Fail Woman in Response to Sister-in-Law's Miscarriage

DEAR ABBY: My sister-in-law, a mother of four, just had a miscarriage at five months. I have no idea what to say to her or my nieces and nephews. "Sorry" doesn't seem to suffice. Her 6-year-old was ecstatic about the new baby. The family is crushed. My husband (her brother) was in tears, and I didn't know what to say to him either.

I have never been able to easily express my emotions. In emotional situations I just go blank and my mind shuts down. I am always at a loss for words, and I feel like it's disconnecting me from relationships. Any advice? -- WITHOUT WORDS

DEAR WITHOUT WORDS: When people stay silent, it can be mistaken for lack of caring, when sometimes it happens because the emotions are so overwhelming they can't be put into words. So why not just be honest? You don't have to be a poet, but you do have to say something. Because these are your in-laws, who presumably know you, I'm sure it would be appreciated if you simply said, "You know I have trouble expressing my emotions, but please know how sorry I am for your loss."

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