"Many thanks for taking the time to write this, for your kind way of expressing a disagreement, for your sharing of personal details, and for your very thoughtful advice of your own.
I did receive another well-expressed note like this and have already worked it into a future column.... by way of educating readers further about this sensitive topic, to show the deeper areas than those on which I touched.
May I say - not to excuse myself, but to explain - that anyone who is deeply grieving cannot possibly get enough solace from the 50-100 words of an answer in a general audience newspaper advice column.
I do try to show my compassion, which I genuinely feel....and I do try to offer some possible ways to bring new thinking to the situation, such as that the friends and family who don't mention a subject may actually be trying to be kind, not dismissive.
I thank you for understanding most of my approach, and for deepening my understanding."
I wholeheartedly agree that a 100-word column can't possibly provide enough solace for a woman grieving her lost children and her dreams of motherhood, which is why wasting a paragraph on the whole "filling the void" thing bothered me so much, I suspect.
Well, that and the fact that it was just atrocious advice.
But I give her endless credit for responding so kindly and promptly, and for deciding to tackle the subject again in an upcoming column now that she's heard from those of us on the inside.
This is such a quiet little world, this childless place, and it's nice to know that people are listening to our whispers and trying to do their best to understand.
It's all anyone can ask for, really.