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Robert Downey Jr.: 'Call Your Mother'

AP Photo / Chris Pizzello

Robert Downey Jr.: 'Call Your Mother'

When Robert Downey Jr.'s mother, Elsie Ann Downey, died last week, he wrote a tribute to her – one that said the things that, in his words, a "generic 'obit'" wouldn't convey.

He talked of her acting ambitions and the havoc that alcoholism wreaked on her career. He reminded us that he struggled with the same demons, and he revealed that it was a 2004 phone call from his mother that prompted him to seek sobriety. Downey's fans know that he has maintained that sobriety and enjoyed a career resurgence. It's a career that his mother may have dreamed of – and though she didn't have it, she was able to see her son's career blossom.

You can read Downey's entire loving tribute to his mother on his Facebook page. He ends with a piece of advice:

"If anyone out there has a mother, and she's not perfect, please call her and say you love her anyway ..."

Robert Downey Jr. isn't the only person to offer this advice upon the death of a beloved mother. A number of other recent obituaries ask those of us who still have our mothers with us to call them while we can:

Shirley McNamara (MarinIJ)Shirley McNamara's survivors describe her love for making friends and her "gift for gab" in her obituary from the Marin Independent Journal. They also ask for a very special sort of remembrance to her: "In lieu of flowers or donations, please take five minutes out of your day and call your Mother."

Marlene Nowak's two children requested a similar memorial to their mother in her Chicago Tribune obituary: "At the family's request, in lieu of flowers, tell your mother that you love her."

Alice Anderson (OregonLive)Alice Anderson was the mother to four children who remembered her specific loves and hobbies in her obituary from The Oregonian: "In remembrance, please hug your loved ones, play a great game of bridge with dear friends, do the morning crossword puzzle, say a prayer, make a donation to Albertina Kerr or the charity of your choice … and call your Mom."

Ida Harris (TCPalm)Ida Harris's memorial notice in the TC Palm is short, but her children use it to express a sentiment similar to Downey's: "We only have one Mom, one Mommy, one Mother in this world-One Life!! Don't wait for tomorrow to tell your Mom you love her."


To readers who have lost their mothers, we send you our deepest condolences. To those whose mothers are still here… we hope you'll call Mom today.