I haven’t written for this blog in over a year. In that time, I have seen friends come and go and I have seen my life change in ways I could have never imagined. But as I looked back at the words I wrote, I was sad. I was sad by the fact that I didn’t follow through with the feelings I had. I was sad that I didn’t say what I needed to say nor did I dive into those words. But most importantly, I was sad that I let life get in the way of relating my experiences to the struggling world around me.
I would be lying if I said I wrote all of this for other people. I wrote this for me; I wrote all of it for me. I wrote it as an outlet for my feelings, my emotions, and as a way to move forward when I couldn’t always see a way. Yet, I know there are people who understand and connect to the same situation that I am currently in and have previously been in. Now I can do this for myself and those people, wherever they are and whenever they read this. This includes the single mom struggling to keep a distant parent in the picture, the couple fighting their way through another day for the children’s sake, or the person just looking for some confirmation that everything is going to turn out ok.
I am here to say that it IS going to be ok. It may not feel like it now and it may seem like the world is on your back with no way out, but, as cliché as it may seem, hope is always just around the corner. Less than 12 months ago I would have never imagined my life would be as fulfilled as it is now. My son spent the summer with me in a place closer to paradise than most would experience. My job is as great as I could hope for. My friends are the most amazing people in the world and, while I could name them one by one, I hope they know what their love means to me.
It really is going to be ok. You may have to look day after day after day, but Romeo always finds his Juliet and the son always find his way home…and that’s all we can hope for.
I have experienced a wide range of emotions since I moved away from my son the first time. I will never forget leaving my house as my ex-wife and I were separating. I was headed for my dad’s house in Tennessee and she was staying in Florida, enlisted in the military. He was just two years old, unaware of the pain around him, but still a sleeping angel we were fortunate to have. I will always remember looking over into his crib with tears streaming down my face while I kissed his head as he slept. I was leaving that morning before he woke up. I felt like I was leaving my angel for good, that I would never see him again. I could not handle the stress. I said my short goodbye with my ex-wife standing in the doorway, unable to stop her own tears, and I got in my car and drove through the dawn of morning to Tennessee. However, unlike every other morning in my life to that point, that morning was not meant to hold a fresh day with new opportunities; that morning was the start of many despairing years of anguish, torment, and sadness. I just wanted to be sad and I was…for a long time.
Perhaps it was the sadness that gripped me the most; perhaps the loneliness. Either way, I spent the eight hour drive to Tennessee crying, sobbing, unable to cry anymore and contemplating every decision I had ever made that left me in my current position. I found no comfort in any of it. At my dad’s, I all but barricaded myself in a spare room for days, coming out occasionally for food, if at all. I surrounded myself with alcohol, and sad music, just to escape myself. I did not want to hurt any more. The emotions I was experiencing over leaving my child were beyond anything I had ever dealt with before. I was tormented by nightmares night after night; I saw the same picture of him lying in his crib constantly in my head. I could not shake the complete lack of meaning in my life for weeks. I had never felt so despondent, so alone. My family attempted to offer encouraging words, though they felt empty and hollow. There was no appeasing my anguish and grief.
Emotions are a complicated thing, they allow us to appreciate and intimately experience all the enjoyment life has to offer. Yet, the darker side of emotions force us to experience the pain, sorrow, and grief that can also accompany this life. It is these darker emotions that can drive us to the brink of losing ourselves in despair and, in my situation, there is no worse despair than knowing you will no longer have the relationship with a child that you originally sought within your heart as he or she was becoming a part of the world. The simple fact is that the different emotions can happen all at once and overwhelm you at the same time; the good, the bad, and the ugly.
If you would have asked me how I saw my relationship with my son within the next five years, I am doubtful you would have received the answer that was to become reality. The ups and downs, highs and lows, mountains and valleys of my relationship with him has been forever altered by the loss of a marriage. However, all is not lost; transformed, yes, but not lost.
In life, we do not intentionally set out to destroy ourselves and our families through divorce. As it happens all too often however, we find ourselves becoming the very statistic we wish to avoid; so was my case.
Divorce had ripped my own family apart when I was 18 years old. My mother and father split apart after over 20 years of marriage. The divorce itself left a lasting impact on my life as a growing adult. I swore to myself that I would never become part of the “50% Club” which included the divorcees of over half of all marriages in the United States. Perhaps the most lasting impact my parents’ divorce had on me was my first true sense of loneliness and emptiness.
I’ll touch on this a bit more next time. Thanks for reading.
I’ve been working on getting a website/blog together for some mental therapy as well as writing therapy. For close to a year now, I’ve been running with the name “Separated at Birth: My life as a single father…”
I’m beginning to rethink the title so as not to be confused with the phrase being attributed to two people whom look alike.
But if I may indulge a bit, “Separated at Birth’ has always meant more to me than the loose pun it has evolved into. It is a reminder that I was about to take a job in another state after my ex-wife and I had divorced and my little guy was just 2 years old. He could barely speak, walked like a newborn fawn, and loved and trusted more than I could have ever imagined…and I was about to leave that.
The first time I left, he was asleep in his crib, the world, to him, was perfect. While a few feet away, my perfect world had shattered into nothingness. While not totally a new born, separating from him at such a young age, when I knew so little about who he would become, who he would idolize, cheer for, fawn over, etc. would be the most difficult thing I have ever done to this day.
So I use the title”Separated at Birth” and I believe it works, but I wanted to see what you, the reader, thinks of the title. Is it misleading, confusing, just-right, etc.? Please, let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading.