Favorite Movies

I watched a movie tonight, a family favorite and I cried. A Christmas movie we would all watch together and laugh, I’d avoided it for over three years. I’ve been divorced since that time, and I had forgotten how many parallels to my marriage there were in the movie. The depiction of children and extended family particularly struck me, and I regretted losing the childhood of my two kids.

It’s been three years now, and the end of my marriage still haunts me. I was no longer in love. I was going through the motions. I was experience what has been referred to as fantasy that had far more impact upon my heart than did my marriage. But it was the kids I hurt more than the two of us splitting up. I didn’t know what to say, and I felt like I had lost so much time. My kids were young adults now and handling the divorce in their own way, and there was nothing I could do to stop that. I was forever trying to fix what I had helped destroy.

My life was truly spinning. I had no grounding in my world. I felt everything unravel and believed I could no longer repair my life, that I was a pariah, a failure, a miserable example of a human being. I hung onto all the contempt in the world for myself, and showed impatience with anyone who tried to tell me it takes time. I just went down a hole to nowhere and walked around in complete fear.

Today, I don’t fear as much. I still feel I have failed and I try hard to learn from it and correct my mistakes. But, I’m still an emotional person. I watched a movie tonight that touched my heart and left me feeling a bit lonely on Christmas eve. I’m alone tonight, have been all day. I will see my children tomorrow evening. I guess Christmas evening will be our tradition going forward.

I hope someday we can laugh again … about the movie.

I Took A Drive With My Son

I recently spent a weekend with my son. We went to a ball game together, and enjoyed a cross country ride across the state of Wisconsin. Now this ride was so important to the both of us, but me especially given the circumstances of my relationship with him. I went through a divorce recently and the impact it had on my daughter and son is far beyond what I expected it would be. But why would I even think my kids wouldn’t be torn by such an action of their parents.

My children are young adults, my son 27 and my daughter 31. I luckily had breakfast with my daughter the morning we took off on the road trip, so seeing both was an especially fortunate experience for me. I love my children dearly, and during the early part of the last three years since my divorce I have felt like the estranged parent in the split. I have always felt my ex-wife shared more about our relationship with the kids than I would have liked. I always tried to remain close to the chest because a lot of our circumstances belonged to her and me. My daughter and I have had good laughs over the years, having that daughter and father relationship that is typical in a family. My son and I were a bit different as he is closer to mom, and naturally took her side in a lot of the circumstances of our divorce.

I remember early on my friends and close confidants telling me to be patient, my kids will come back to me. At first I couldn’t believe that would ever be true. I felt so removed I was afraid they would reject me as their father altogether. This weekend proved otherwise.

Recently, my son and I changed the brakes on my car. We always enjoyed tinkering on our cars together and it was indicative in our interactions that things were a lot better now than they were a couple of years ago. We laughed and shared ideas together and high five and fist bumped each other once we finished the project. I was so happy and he seemed to be so as well, so when we had a road trip ahead in a couple of weeks I was excited. He too expressed anticipation.

We talked about numerous subjects along the way, the most of which centered around our relationship and the roles mom and I played in growing up together as a family. It was clear throughout the ride there were differences but those were far outweighed by the appreciation of our times together by the time the road trip had reached its end. I was able to hear about his struggles and successes, his wonders and curiosities about his future. We talked about what was important to him. I just let him go and the range of emotions he expressed or we expressed together was truly cool.

Ironically along the way the radio crapped out and suddenly we had complete quiet for the ride. He could have put in his air pods and I would have been ok with that but instead we just had a 500 mile dialogue that took us right to his door at the end of the night.

I think the most important part of the weekend was realizing we liked to be together. I was so afraid of that after the divorce. I hurt my kids, and my wife and we hurt each other. We did talk enough about mom for him to have confidence in my appreciation and care for his mother. We are a seemingly amicable split couple and it is important to me that the kids know it. Many people including my son this weekend, have told me I have no control over that and it is true. I can only go forward and I have tried and will continue to find ways to do that so my kids know I am there for them.

So I finish, asking the reader to know this writing is for me, and if there are any takeaways you find, then I am happy to oblige. I think family is such an important part of our lives and the essence of true relationships is to understand and believe and have confidence in the manner of love that exists in our lives. Embrace it, don’t run.

This Darkness Unveiled

A couple of years ago I lost my marriage. After 30 years, everything collapsed and I was left to pick up the pieces of my life. I have struggled without question, spending a few days in the hospital for my mental health, leaving the anguish of a family unit being too much for me to handle. There were many days I didn’t want to go forward, and I did risk making a selfish choice about life and purpose for going forward.

Only recently did I recognize more fully a need to survive. I’m not a victim in any sense of the word, but I did rest all my laurels upon my pain rather than realizing only my actions would help me to understand and make change in my own life. I have two wonderful children that have kept me going. I have a close knit connection with my siblings, and a set of strong friendships, and my former wife that help me understand making a selfish choice would be atrocious. Hard to imagine comparing my choices with the word atrocity, but that is exactly what I would call taking my own life. I had to fight, and now when I think of my potential actions, I want to cry.

I had a hard time fighting the feelings my children were taking away from the dissolution of our marriage. I was not in any way blaming them for discarding me, but it took me a long time to realize their own need to personally wrap their heads around the loss of their parents bond. I began to understand patience and it has been a Godsend in my adjustment to being single in a society that frowns upon giving up a marriage.

My daughter told me once, “I need you around dad.”

My son suggested around the same time, “There is a lot ahead, dad.”

At first I knew what they meant but didn’t feel quite as adamant. I was willing to sacrifice everything for my own selfish outlook on life. I know suicide and its impact upon the people left behind. I have lost good friends and family, and never understood the emotion I felt beyond the anger I believed their actions left me with. So knowing that, how do we live with such hypocrisy wanting to take our own lives? My only explanation is we are human and sometimes the hurt just buries our rational soul.

I got lucky and began to think about how important it is for me to be around for my kids. I realized how my friends would be so pissed off at me for leaving them too early. Now my life lives around the idea of letting God take my lead and I will follow. I am not an entirely religious person but I do believe in God. I suppose that suggests I have a spiritual outlook on life. We live in a society that does not condone suicide, but there is so much information out there that does not support the crisis in people’s lives.

I suppose writing this helps me cope with some of those every day fears in my life.

© aquietwalk 4/2022