DEAR ABBY: While most of my friends are eagerly anticipating graduation, I am dreading it. The reason? My mother.
Ever since I was in second grade, my mother has been addicted to prescription drugs. Mom and Dad divorced when I was in middle school, and I have lived with my dad ever since.
This year, Mom began to press for a ticket to my graduation. I don't want her there. She won't admit to having a problem, despite the fact she has been in rehab 10 times. I can't remember a time prior to her extended hospital stays and visits by home nurses.
Before I have any event, she becomes manipulative and checks herself into the hospital. This hasn't happened just once or twice. I'm talking about every event since I was in fourth grade -- including my birthday, my older brother's graduation, everything. Last year, she forgot my birthday. I didn't even get a phone call. I don't think she has earned a ticket for graduation.
Many people in my life have been there for me when my mother wasn't. Now Mother is claiming that because she is my mother, she should supersede all the others. She is still heavily medicated and prone to making scenes, including threatening suicide, if she doesn't get what she wants -- that ticket. There are only a limited number available. I would like to give them to people who have shown they care about me. What are your thoughts on this? This is tearing what's left of my family apart. -- SHATTERED SENIOR IN MARYLAND
DEAR SENIOR: You have my sympathy. I know you feel cheated because you didn't have the kind of mother you wished for. However, from your description, your mother appears to suffer from a severe mental illness. A person who is heavily medicated and repeatedly hospitalized is not entirely responsible for her actions. Giving birth to you and your brother may have been her only positive accomplishments in this life. For that reason, I think she should attend your graduation.
The people who have supported you over the years will be happy to celebrate with you after the ceremony, I'm sure. And I'm also sure they'll understand why your mother should see you get your diploma if she is able.