Dear Abby: I took care of my mother for years, but now the family blames me for her death

LOVE ABBY: My mother died a year ago and I struggle with it every day. I promised her I would never take her to any home, but she ended up in one because the hospital had put her there. I feel so guilty that I let her down.

I only saw her through a window once while she was there, but I was never able to speak to her. I don’t know how to deal with it. Many family members have not spoken to me since she died. You blame me Abby, I was the one who was with her around the clock for years. I cooked for her and did her laundry, but I am the bad person. Do I need professional help to blame myself? Please help. – LOST DAUGHTER IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR DAUGHTER: Please accept my condolences for the loss of your mother. Your relatives wrongly hold you responsible for their deaths. Much of what happened to her was because her doctors told her to. You are not a bad daughter. You are a daughter who took care of – and still cares – the mother to whom she gave herself. You took care of her as long as possible. Discuss this with a psychiatrist. You may find it useful, if only to stop blaming yourself for circumstances that are beyond your control.

LOVE ABBY: I had an affair with “Harold,” a man I helped. He is 76; I’m 52. His wife is staying in Florida for a long time. I’ve been married to a man for 34 years who stopped having sex with me because I stopped taking the pill. “Harold” gave me the attention I needed.

I finally confessed to my husband after being caught lying too much. My husband forgave me, but I can’t be friends with Harold or help him anymore. I worry that he lives alone and needs help. Can I still help him after the affair is over? – CONCERNED FOR EX-LOVERS

LOVE WORRIED: No, not if you value your marriage to the man who denied you a sex life for the past 34 years. You both probably knew that there were / were successful methods of birth control in addition to the pill. Is that what you want for the rest of your life?

With the physical aspect of your affair with Harold ended, there is still an emotional bond that needs to be broken. You won’t be able to do this while you are taking care of him. Harold should be told that he needs a different caregiver and that you need to find a way to satisfy or sublimate your sex drive as this problem will not go away.

LOVE ABBY: My husband died five years ago. I have two grown daughters and a granddaughter who will soon be 21. On her birthday, I want to give her the wedding ring that my husband gave me. Is that rude to my daughters? – GRANDMOTHER LOOK AHEAD

DEAR GRANDMA: I don’t think it would be rude. I think it would solve the question of what to do with your wedding ring without creating jealousy between your daughters.

Dear Abby was written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and founded by her mother Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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