DEAR ABBY: I am a 25-year-old woman who still bears a grudge toward my mother. We never had a good relationship, but it really went downhill after my father died. (I was 13 when it happened.) My father always stuck up for me, and he committed suicide in our basement.
I did something when I was 13 that I deeply regret. I told my mother to check down there when we heard noises, but she didn't listen to me. Our relationship has never been the same. I have blamed my mother every day ever since for not saving him. I rarely talk to her now.
The thing that makes me so mad is that my father's death was her fault. Dad and I were very close and I miss him every day.
How can I get past my mother killing my dad? After his death, my mother put me in the care of the Department of Children and Family Services. I am glad I was put there, but I am mad that she killed my dad and gave up on me.
So how do I get past all this anger toward her that I have kept inside for so many years? -- MISSING MY DAD IN ILLINOIS
DEAR MISSING DAD: I don't blame you for being angry about your father's death, but because you were only 13, you aimed your anger at the wrong parent. Your mother didn't kill your father. Your father killed himself, probably because he had been struggling for a long time with the mental illness of chronic depression. Your mother did not go to check on the noises in the basement for the same reason that you didn't -- she didn't realize what they meant. As to why you were sent to "family services," it is very possible that your mother was as devastated by the loss of your father as you were.
You need more answers than any uninvolved third party can give you, and the person to provide them is your mother. Therefore, I urge that you call her and arrange to have a frank conversation with her -- preferably in the presence of a mediator such as a clergyperson. This is something that's long overdue.
DEAR ABBY: I married a wonderful man seven years ago, and we had a happy marriage. One morning last January, he told me he no longer loved me and was moving out to live a life on his own. I have been devastated over this. At his request I quit work to stay home and be a housewife, and I have not worked in six years. I am 50 and am having a hard time dealing with this.
I know I need to find a job so he won't have to continue paying all my bills and his own, but I have been very depressed and I think it shows through when I go on interviews. He wants me to take a couple of college courses to brush up on what I used to do in the work force.
The only thing I want is to have my husband come home to me. We still see each other every other week and communicate daily through e-mails and phone calls. I still feel that he loves me, and that is what makes this so hard. He comes to have dinner with me on Saturday nights, and when he leaves he hugs me tight -- but still leaves. I don't know what to ask him about what his final plans are. He hasn't asked for a divorce, and he knows I don't want one. What should I do? -- HEARTBROKEN IN EVERETT, WASH.
DEAR HEARTBROKEN: Ask your husband for a full and complete answer about why he left you. Clearly, there are still strong ties between you.
Counseling will help you both communicate more clearly about what happened to your marriage. Once you have some straight answers, you will have a better idea of what you need to do next. In the meantime, my advice to you is to contact a licensed marriage and family therapist, but do nothing further.
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