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News about pregnancy may be difficult for friend

Dear Annie: "Joni" and I were very good friends in grade school and stayed in touch through college. We are now in our late 30s, live about five hours away from each other and communicate a few times a year via e-mail. We never speak on the phone, nor does she drop by when visiting her relatives in my area.

I learn most news about her through mutual friends. I am pregnant for the first time and wondering how to tell Joni.

She has suffered multiple miscarriages, and it seems she and her husband of 12 years will not be able to have biological children. I know she has been depressed in the past and avoids baby showers.

In writing to Joni, should I relate my news factually in a few short sentences or elaborate and acknowledge the feelings this news will no doubt generate for her? It's difficult for me to know the best approach because of our more casual relationship, but I think Joni should hear the news directly from me. – Concerned Pregnant Friend

Dear Friend: It would be best to use a combination – relate the news as briefly as possible, but acknowledge how difficult it may be for her to hear it. Add that you didn't feel it was right to keep this information from her.

Then change the subject. Joni will learn the news through others, which makes it necessary to inform her yourself. If she isn't able to handle it, that is not your fault.

Dear Annie: Recently, I was in the grocery store and saw a woman who looked very familiar. I should have told her so at the time, but I got cold feet.

Back home, I went through my yearbook and found a photo of the woman I saw. She was two years behind me in high school. She is listed in the phone book with her initials. That suggests to me that she is single.

I, too, am single and would like to get in touch with her to see if she'd like to meet for coffee. It's been a long time since high school. We're both in our 50s now.

What do you think is the best way to contact her? Should I drop her a note in the mail or simply give her a call? I don't want to scare her. – Louie

Dear Louie: Give her a call. (A letter says, "I know where you live'') The conversation should go something like this: "Hi. This is Louie Smith. I don't know if you remember me, but I graduated from State High School two years before you.

I thought I saw you at the grocery store last week and wanted to give you a call. I found your number in the phone book. How are you?" Depending on her response, you can then ask if she'd like to meet for coffee. Good luck.

Dear Annie: "Heartbroken Mom" is grieving over her son who has a traumatic brain injury. My son was hit by a pickup truck when he was eight years old.

He is now 48, works full time, is a voracious reader and writer (had to learn all over again), and has overcome the social stigma that he felt from not being "normal''.

Her son needs support and encouragement to keep learning. The brain can be re-channeled, but he has to keep trying.

A brain-injured person needs to sleep a lot because it takes as much as six times the energy for him to do things as it does you. Music was a godsend for my son. Video games helped him learn new patterns and improved his hand/eye coordination. Yes, her son will be moody and have meltdowns. Patience, patience, patience.

My son once told me he felt sorry for me, having a child who was not "successful" because he doesn't have a college degree. I told him with all he has accomplished, in my book it was the equivalent of him receiving a doctorate. I couldn't be prouder. – Loving Mom

Dear Mom: Thank you for giving encouragement to "Heartbroken" and others whose loved ones have suffered brain injuries.