DEAR ABBY: My mother was murdered by a serial killer about 16 years ago. Whenever the subject of parents comes up at work, I don't know what to tell people when they ask about my mom.
I am 26. Once in a while, they will ask me about what happened to her, but when I open my mouth to say something, I get nervous and start blushing. This might be because I know people get uncomfortable when you talk about stuff like this. I also feel weird telling them that my mother was a prostitute and that's how she was murdered. Sometimes I say she was in an "accident" -- but that's a lie.
Can you give me any advice on the proper way to discuss this in the office without it being weird for me or the other person? -- MOTHERLESS DAUGHTER IN WASHINGTON
DEAR MOTHERLESS DAUGHTER: The fact that you become "nervous" when trying to discuss what happened to your mother means -- to me -- that you are still traumatized by the circumstances of her death. (Frankly, that's understandable.) When someone asks about your mother, it's not necessary to give chapter and verse unless you want to. Tell the person your mother passed away many years ago, which is the truth. If you are pressed for details, say that the topic is painful and change the subject. You are under no social obligation to bare your soul to anyone.