DEAR HARRIETTE: My mom recently passed away. I didn’t expect her to die so early in my life. I’m going through her things, and so many memories of my childhood are coming to mind. We used to do everything together when I was growing up, but when I got older, things changed. My whole life became about my kids, husband and job, and I didn’t get to see her as much. I talked to her on the phone often, but I visited her only a few times a year.
I feel guilty about not visiting my mom as much as my other siblings, but life becomes busy. How do I get over this feeling of guilt? -- Too Busy for Mom, Atlanta
DEAR TOO BUSY FOR MOM: To the best of your ability, work to remember your mother without regretting what you did not do with her. There is absolutely nothing you can do about the past. Part of life includes the stages of building your own family and career. Many adult children naturally devote less time to their parents because they are focused on the day-to-day of their lives. Be grateful that you did talk to your mother frequently and that you visited her when you could. Be thankful as well that your siblings were able to spend time with her. It sounds like there is no question that your mother felt fully loved.
Now, as part of your healing process, you must forgive yourself for whatever you did not do for or with your mother. What you may want to do is spend more time with your siblings and their families. In this way, you help to keep the family bond tight even after your mother has passed on.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My girlfriend is moving to New York City to pursue her modeling career. I am so proud of her and want her to go because her agency thinks that she may be able to be booked by some big fashion shows -- even the Victoria's Secret fashion show, which is a great way to make a name for herself. But I’m scared that I’m going to lose her since I’m staying Los Angeles. How can I keep things going strong from far away? -- Uneasy Boyfriend, Los Angeles
DEAR UNEASY BOYFRIEND: There is always a chance that a long-distance relationship won't work, no matter what the reason is for the distance. If your girlfriend becomes a successful model, she won’t have a ton of free time on her hands because the business can be extremely demanding. If you two stay connected, albeit from afar, you might be able to go the distance. The biggest change may end up being what she is exposed to possibly shifting her interests. Only time will tell, but you are right to encourage her to pursue her dreams.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)