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Adult Daughter Continues to Nurse Anger Over Childhood Loss of Mother

DEAR ABBY: My mother died from a heroin overdose when I was 8. As a mother with children of my own, I often find myself getting upset when people say nice things about her -- things that would normally make people feel good, such as, "Oh, she would have been so proud of you," or, "She was such a great woman." I feel that if she was such a great woman, she wouldn't have chosen drugs over her (or our) well-being. How can I let go of the anger I feel toward her when everyone else sees her only in a good light? -- MIXED FEELINGS ABOUT MOM

DEAR MIXED FEELINGS: I'm sorry for the loss of your mother at such a tender age and under such tragic circumstances. Far more is understood about drug addiction today than was known when you were a child. We now know that addiction can be less about a lack of character than a medical problem.

I seriously doubt that when your mother gave herself her final fix she realized it would be her last. While I sympathize with your anger at being cheated out of her presence in your life, it would be better for your own quality of life if you could accept that she was a human being and fallible. A licensed mental health professional can help you work through your anger, and I hope you will talk to one soon.

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