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ADVICE: Dear Angel

My husband and I have had five children and four grandchildren. Two of our children have died, one in infancy and one, recently, as an adult.

The infancy death was for many years a open wound in our lives, the result we are convinced of medical malfeasance. My husband wanted to sue and make everyone pay for his hurt. I just wanted to put it behind me, as I could not bear several years of a protracted lawsuit, hearings, depositions and trials.



Very few people want to talk about their children if they have grandchildren.

As a result, we spent several years in therapy, working our way back from our anger at everyone and each other in order to function together as a couple and a family.

The adult death of our daughter was messy - drugs, alcohol, lots of stupid choices and bodily abuse on her part. We were united on this death and equally bitter that we had to suffer a second happening of such devastation.

We don't wish to deny any of our children, we wish to acknowledge them all, but we do not want to go over the details of either death. They are both, each in their way, still very painful to discuss. But, people keep asking us about our children. I am not sure if we are just so raw that we overreact but, this happens often enough that we need some truthful but subject - ending answer we can use.

Just the question is like a stab in our hearts and we want to get it over with as soon as possible.

Please help us.

Wounded Hearts

Dear Wounded,

I would like to extend my heartfelt sympathy for the great losses your family has suffered. It is a trite, but oh so true saying, that no one should have to out - live their children. Time does not heal the terrible pain you are suffering but life does draw you back in and camouflage the hurt and pain with the necessity of living life with each other and your family and the greater world.

It is sad to say, but most people have no interest in your children and only will bring it up so they get a chance to brag about their own family.

The proper and quickest way to answer is to use your opening sentence. "My husband and I have had five children and four grandchildren." If you wish to, add, "three boys and two girls and three girls and one boy grandchildren."

If you want to end it right there, immediately ask them how many grandchildren they have. If they don't have any, you can commiserate with them and brag a little about your own, assure them there is time to have some, and move on to the weather and some in - the - news subject.

If they have grandchildren, your problem will be feigning interest in their bragging about their little ones wonders.

Very few people want to talk about their children if they have grandchildren.

If, any of these people are aware of your history and are making the devil's misery, they may persist by asking for details. Either stare them down and ignore their prying or walk away, if you can, without a word.

You do not owe anyone, your private history, thoughts or pain, particularly a prying snoop. Remember, if they would rather talk about your family than their own, they are snooping, probably viciously. You do not owe them politeness.

Again, my heart aches at the thought of your great losses. Do NOT let anyone wound you further.

Angel

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