Dear Ann Landers: Please print this letter on Mother's Day. It is to my own dear mother who will not see it. (She died several months ago of cancer.) But maybe others who are still lucky enough to have their moms will learn something from what I have written. 

Dear Mom: 
When I was growing up, we had more than our share of battles. I remember how I thought you were too hard on me, insisting that I keep my room neat as a pin, hang up my clothes, help with chores around the house and write thank-you notes for gifts right away. You made me do a lot of things I didn't want to do--said it was good for my character. I thought you were nuts. But now that I have two little ones of my own, I understand a lot better and I am grateful to you. 

I don't think I ever told you how much I admired the way you conducted yourself when Dad lost his business and you went out and got yourself a job. Never once did you complain or let anyone know how tired you were, putting in 16-hour days; you even found time to make my prom dress, with a coat to match. It was the prettiest one at he party. 

When you knew you were dying, you kept everyone's morale up. The doctors said they never saw anything like it. Your main concern was for us. You died the -way you lived--head up, gutsy, a model for all of us. 

I knew I would miss you, Mom, but I never knew how much. I find myself going to the phone to call you. And when I realize you're gone, it seems unreal. I apologize now for the times I should have said, "You're right. . . I was wrong"--and didn't. I need to be forgiven for the things I said when you were trying to help me be a better person, a better wife and a better mother. You were so wise, and I was too blind and too proud to listen. 

Why is life such a cruel teacher? Why don't we appreciate what we have until it is taken away from us? I would give anything in the world if I could relive the last year of your life and let you know what a terrific lady you were and how lucky I was to be 
~Your Daughter. 

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