I started the section “Catharsis” as a catch-all of things that I need to get out, and hopefully make some sense of along the way. I’m hoping that one of these days in the future, I can look back through them and say, “Thank you, Father, for getting me through that one.”
I’m hoping that I can see with clear eyes– that I can look at the experiences, memories and painful moments I write now. Maybe then, I can see what I’ve done wrong and need to change, how I can grow to be better than I am now; more than I am now. I’m hoping, because something has to give; somehow I have to learn, because the consequences of not learning are too painful. Not just for me, but for my loved ones as well.
Tonight, my son C asked at the supper table, “How old was I when dad left?” My ex-husband left before C was born, which he knows, but – for whatever reason – wanted to know again. I told him again, and was hoping that would be the end of it. “Well, I know D got a chance to play inappropriate games (i.e violent ones) and cuss, but if I’d been old enough to chose, I would have chosen to stay here.”
D, who grew up with his dad until recently and didn’t remember much about me when he came back six months ago, bowed his shoulders and hunkered down towards the table. My daughter J, looked up and said, “Mine and C’s daddy was here, but not with D.”
“Well, he was actually your dad, not mine,” C replied. D put his fork down and stared at his plate. J ducked her head, and C looked around with a perplexed frown. “I guess I shouldn’t have said anything?”
My dad reacted with, “Well, that’s enough; that’s all that needs to be said.”
What a sad thing. Having my dad around all my life has been such a huge blessing. He’s my dad, my hero and my friend. I can’t imagine what life would have been like without him around. For my children, though, “dad” is such a sensitive subject.
My boys have one father; my daughter has another. D grew up with theirs; the last time I saw him, he was 5, and I didn’t see him again until he was 14. C, however, has never met their father, and has only spoken on the phone with him through 5-minute collect calls a few times. His only viewpoint is ours, and now D’s.
J’s dad, my ex-fiance, was there when she went to sleep; she was three. She doesn’t know anything but that he wasn’t there when she woke up, and she hasn’t seen him since.
When I laid my daughter down for bed tonight, she asked me when he was coming back. She cried and told me she missed him and loved him very much. For the second time in her life, I had to tell her the painful truth. “Your daddy loves you and misses you very much, but he moved away, honey.” The first time was when she was convinced that her dad would see her on her birthday.
I wonder how many times more I’ll end up holding her while she cries. I wonder how long my children will be untrusting. I wonder how long my sons will talk quietly in their bedroom, talking about their father, and trying to speak quietly so no one hears. I wonder how long my mistakes will keep coming back and hurting my children.
There is so much pain in our lives; pain from the past and pain from missing someone so essential to a family. Sometimes I feel weighed down by it – and if eyes really are the windows to the soul, my children have already learned too much; they’ve already experienced too much. Knowing how much it hurts me, I can’t imagine how much it hurts them.
Worse yet, I know that most, although not all, of the pain they feel comes from choices I made. Unwise, unseeing of the consequences, no understanding of how these might affect things. A part of me wants to say, “If I had only…” The realistic part of me says, “…oh, but you did.”
Right now, at this moment, I know all I can do is love them and teach them to grow beyond their parents. It doesn’t feel like it’s enough, but it’s all I have.
When I was child, hearing “the good news of the coming Kingdom of God”, I could never understand what was so good about it. As an adult, with the consequences weighing on not only me, but my children also, I’m finally beginning to understand.
No more pain. No more sorrow. No more broken homes, broken hearts and broken children. Rest… and peace. God speed that day.