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by Abigail Van Buren

Workaholic Mom Regrets Time She Didn't Spend With Daughter

DEAR ABBY: The letter I am enclosing with mine was written to you in March 2000 by my daughter, Kelsey Leigh Holland. She never mailed it. Kelsey died in her sleep of respiratory failure on Dec. 29, 2000. She was only 13.

"DEAR ABBY: My mother is a workaholic. She works at work, at home, after dinner and after all hours. She never has any fun. I'm afraid she's on the verge of a nervous breakdown -- if not already over the edge.

"I've talked to her, so have my brother and my father. How do I send the message to Mom that life is not just paperwork and deadlines, but fun and happiness? Signed ... OUT OF IDEAS"

Oh, how I wish I could change the past and spend less time working, volunteering, etc., and more time with Kelsey! But that's impossible. What I can do is be a better mother to my son, and pass along my daughter's message to your readers.

Parents, PLEASE spend more time with your children. Listen to them, share with them, teach them. Every moment of life is precious and we truly don't know how much time we have left.

Thank you, Abby, for listening. I wish I had listened before it was too late to spend more time with Kelsey. -- LORI HOLLAND, RIVERSIDE, CALIF.

DEAR LORI: Please accept my deepest sympathy for the tragic loss of your daughter. I'm printing your message as a reminder to other parents. The working world can be extremely demanding -- and often there are not enough hours in the day to do what needs to be done. But children are young only once, and they are with us for such a little while.

Readers, the tragedy that has befallen this mother may never happen to the vast majority of you -- but in life, there are no guarantees. I could lecture for paragraphs, but I think you get the message.