DEAR ABBY: I am a 29-year-old mother of five angelic children. You'd think that a seasoned mother would know the real value of family, but you would have been wrong.
I, like so many others, became caught up in the details of my own life and forgot that I was a part of someone else's life -- my mother's. I forgot to chat with her about nothing when she called me. I forgot to visit her for no special reason. I forgot to appreciate her "just because." I never bought her a Mother's Day gift because I never seemed to have the money. Of course, I always had a good reason, and I thought "tomorrow" would bring another opportunity.
Well, tomorrow never came. My mother committed suicide March 24, 2004. I called her that day, just to say "I love you," and got her answering machine. I never had the chance to tell Mommy all the things that I forgot. I was so busy with the details of my own life that I was blind to the disintegration of hers.
Now that it is too late, I talk to Mommy every day -- especially if I'm busy. I look for gifts I know she'd like, even though I still don't have the money. Please, Abby, let your readers know that it's not too late for them. People don't just assume that they are loved and appreciated. We need to show them every day.
I would give anything in this world to be able to see my mother's beautiful face one last time and say, "You are amazing!" Please tell someone you love them today. Tomorrow is promised to no one. -- MOMMY'S BABY GIRL IN TENNESSEE
DEAR BABY GIRL: Please accept my deepest sympathy for your loss. It is clear that you are still grieving. When someone close commits suicide, it is normal for the survivors to feel guilt. But please, stop dwelling so much on your perceived shortcomings. Mothers do not commit suicide because their daughters forget to call or visit. And they do not commit suicide because their daughters don't buy them Mother's Day gifts. I'm sure your mother knew you loved her and was proud of you.
I agree with your message that it's important to tell those we love how important they are to us, and not to take anyone for granted. I hope my readers will take it to heart. However, in light of the fact that it has been three years since your mother took her life, I am urging you to consult a mental health professional who can help you to let go of the burden of guilt you are carrying. The time has come to start looking forward again, not backward.