DEAR ABBY: I am a 14-year-old girl with a big problem. My family consists of my mother, father, older brother, "Jared" (age 19), and younger brother, "Jonas" (age 11). So what's the problem? I have just learned there was another brother!
About a month ago, when my family was sitting down at dinner, we were talking about birth statistics. Out of nowhere, Jonas said, "A lot of infants die." My parents exchanged sad looks across the table, and my mom cried in her bedroom afterward.
I was so confused by this that Jared talked to me privately and told me. Apparently, Jonas was one of a set of twin boys. Jonas' twin was born prematurely and died. I believe Jared because he was 8 at the time and witnessed the whole thing. I doubt he would joke about something like this.
I think it's my right to know more about my third brother. I feel guilty that I don't even know his name. I have been keeping this knowledge a secret for more than a month now, and it's making me crazy. Should I ask my parents about him even though it will make them cry? -- BROTHER-DEPRIVED IN ROCHESTER, N.Y.
DEAR BROTHER-DEPRIVED: Of course it is your right to know about your third brother. However, let me caution you to proceed very gently. Obviously your mother's heart was broken, and this is something from which she may never completely recover. There also might not be much to tell -- other than how devastating the loss was to her and your father.