Dear Annie: Thirty years ago, when I was 11, I got into an argument on the school bus with another kid my age. I was an insecure child, and I was losing the argument and feeling humiliated. In a move to try to regain some power, I called the other kid, who is black, a racial epithet. I immediately felt sick at what I had done, and it is the only time, before or since, that I ever did anything like that.
I have thought about that moment hundreds of times over the years and consider it one of my lowest, most shameful decisions. Thinking about it has made me aware of inherent racial biases that I was raised with, and I have actively tried to address these.
Recently, through a mutual friend, I became aware that the victim of my words is reachable through social media. My question is: Should I apologize? My apology would be sincere, but would also perhaps be self-serving, as it may only dredge up a terrible memory for him. I so wish I could erase that awful moment, but I am prepared to accept that I just have to live with this disgusting thing. What do you advise? — Trying My Best
Dear Trying: Apologize. Maybe it is a bit self-serving, but many apologies are — they make us feel better that we tried to make amends. If this dredges up a terrible memory for him, you can rest assured that he hasn't forgotten the incident, either. An apology could help him close that door. A private message, rather than a public post, would be best. Don't belabor the issue. Simply say you are sorry, that it has bothered you for 30 years (he may be glad to hear that), and that you want him to know you sincerely regret it. Any communication after that should be up to him.
Dear Annie: I'd like to say something about people who disregard their family members who require care.
My mother had a heart valve replaced when she was 97. Eighteen months later, she had a stroke and has been in a nursing home since. By the time she uses up all of her savings and is eligible for government assistance, she will have expended close to $300,000. My family realizes that this is my mother's money until she dies. We have picked up the remaining costs, including supplemental health insurance, hearing aids, clothing, etc.
My mother just turned 100. She can walk with a walker and one person assisting. But I am at the nursing home 12 hours a day to provide the therapy that Medicare doesn't. The staff here is kind and caring, but they have a limited amount of time, so I help out any way I can. I have seen residents who have no one to visit or keep their interest piqued. They tend to die sooner than patients who have visitors. I hope those uncaring people get the same treatment when they are old. — Pat
Dear Pat: There is no question that regular visits, especially those that encourage conversation and exercise, are beneficial for residents of nursing homes and any seniors who live alone. We also know that doing so regularly requires commitment and dedication, and not everyone cares enough to put forth the effort. Your family sounds wonderful. Bless you.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2015. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.