This tragic episode is related to the life of a young European girl in North America. She published it in a letter to Ann Landers, a popular columnist of the western world. I read it sometime in the mid-eighties. The incident reveals the attitude of the youth towards their parents and the sad outcome of disregard for their advice.
I wished to include her original words, but I could not locate the newspaper cutting I had saved. It will be better understood if I narrate, what I remember, in the first person:
When I was a teenage girl, I did not care to listen to the advice of my mom. As with many teenagers, whenever my mom would ask me to do or not to do something, my reply always was “Mom, this is my life. I know (what to do). Do not interfere.”
Every time I went outside, she would tell me, “Do not go out, it is too late for you to venture outside.” I was tired of hearing this again and again, hence I decided to leave the house to enjoy my freedom as an independent individual.
I soon became pregnant and delivered a baby girl. Being a single mother, I suffered for more than a decade to raise my daughter. I did nothing but nurse her. I was shocked when my daughter shot at me the same words that I had said to my mom when I was a teenager, “Mom! I know. This is my life; do not interfere.”
I could understand only then the agony my mother suffered when I used those words. I was awakened to the truth and understood what a mother is for her children and how much she loves them. Moved by the love for my mother, I went to her home to apologize for hurting her feelings. When I reached the neighborhood I saw a dead body being taken out for a funeral. It was my mother.
Dear Ann, now, I do not want to live anymore. I want to die and meet my mother so that I can apologize to her, be forgiven for my sin and overcome my guilt. It is impossible for me to live with that guilt in my mind. When I meet her I will say, “Mom! I am really sorry for disrespecting and hurting you by not listening to you. I ruined my own life, and yours too, by disobeying you. Please forgive me.”
The advice given to her by Ann Landers may be stated as below:
By committing suicide you cannot meet your mother. I am publishing your feelings so that youth all over the world will read them. This will convince many of them to obey their mothers, express due regard to them, and thus, save their own lives while keeping their mothers in peace. You must go to the youth, talk about this tragedy and advise them to listen to their mothers. This is the way you can console yourself, overcome your guilt and lead the rest of your life in peace.