Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Couple in Deteriorating Marriage Should Reconnect

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been so busy, I haven’t stayed in touch with my cousin who lives in the same city as me. We both left home years ago. I just saw her at an event, and I learned that her brother died a couple of months ago. I feel so bad that I wasn’t there for her. She is such a sweet woman, and I can tell that she is grieving. I apologized for not knowing or reaching out. I want to be there for her. What can I do that would be meaningful in her time of need? -- Grieving Cousin, New York City

DEAR GRIEVING COUSIN: Now that you know your cousin’s situation, stay in touch. Grief usually lasts for a while. If her brother died recently, chances are she will need loving support for an extended period of time. Death has a way of bringing people together sometimes.

If you are able to commit to connecting with her more frequently, she will appreciate it. It can be a natural way for the two of you to reconnect. Being a good listener is especially helpful in the grieving process. You really cannot have answers for her, but being there to hear her out may prove to be supportive.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Death