Dear Annie: I am a 71-year-old husband, father and grandfather. I have a wonderful wife, five children (three are step-children), and grandchildren whom I love very much. However, in my distant past were some very dark and hurtful times. They involved a divorce, an estranged daughter due to the divorce and the crushing feeling that I was not the honorable man I'd thought I was.
Now, many years later, I have remade a good life. I am no longer the man I used to be. My richest blessing is my family. My estranged daughter is back in my life, and I love my stepchildren as if they were my own. They are, in my heart. If I were "called home" today, I could say that I've had a good and blessed life.
I keep a personal diary. I write almost every day about my thoughts, concerns, hopes and joys. However, in my diary are "the dark times" from my past. All of that pain is not a part of my life anymore. I am afraid that if someone read my entries, they could be hurt by what I wrote. My question to you is this: Should I remove and destroy that section of my past from my diary? – A Better Man Today
Dear Better Man Today: First and foremost, congratulations on turning your life around. Last time I checked, I have never met a perfect human being. Though you might have made poor choices in the past, you also made the important and wonderful choice to repair any damage done and rebuild your relationships with your family. When we know better, we do better, and that is what you did. Family is everything, and the fact that you see that is admirable.
As for your diary, tear out the hurtful pages if that is what you want to do. However, if you would prefer to leave them in, then leave them in. It was through those dark times that you came to see the light. The greater your storm, the brighter your rainbow.
If you are afraid of hurting people's feelings, perhaps you could add something in your diary saying just that. Pretending the past didn't happen won't erase it. However, the love and gratitude you feel for the people in your life today is what's important. People forgive, and if you express that appreciation and love your diary, I'm sure it will come through.
In the meantime, if you don't want anyone to read your diary, keep it in a safe place.
Dear Annie: The letter from "A Mouse Admirer," and your response, reminded me of an incident that highlighted the importance of perseverance.
Several months ago, I set out sticky traps to catch a mouse in my home. When a mouse did get caught, my daughter and I were horrified that the creature had not died. We thought drowning would be the quickest remedy, so we placed the mouse, trap and all, in a bucket of water. Instead of drowning, the mouse began to swim and dragged the trap, which floated on top of the water.
The next morning, hoping the mouse had drowned, my daughter checked the bucket. She came inside, saying: "The cardboard trap dissolved in the water, and the mouse got loose, climbed out of the bucket and escaped. He's probably telling his story to the rest of the clan!" That's perseverance!
In the future, if we see mice inside our home, we will live-catch them and release them into the wild. – Horrified Human
Dear Horrified: That is so sad. I am printing your letter in hopes that people do not use the glue traps. These traps can leave animals stuck for days, and there is no guarantee that your pets or other living creatures won't also get stuck. There are plenty of humane options available for ridding your home of mice such as cage traps or soaking cotton balls in ammonia. Mice hate the smell, even the most persistent ones.
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