Editor’s note: This is the first submission the site has received from a reader. We thank you, and respect your need for anonymity. It’s a very raw piece, written from within the immediate heat of a marriage break-up. We suspect this will speak to other men who might be going through a similar situation and all we’ll say is: a lot of us have been there, and survived. You will too. Hopefully your kids will come around in time. The number for Lifeline, if you need to talk to a professional counsellor, is at the bottom of the article.
My kids thought I was the wisest person on earth until I shattered their world by telling their mother I was leaving. After 32 years of marriage there was a lot of disbelief, anger, sadness and a myriad of other emotions as they tried to come to terms with the news.
The story so far (and it’s still very new and raw for us all) is that they have decided they cannot see me because they are too angry and hurt. There are things I want to tell them, reasons for my decision, amongst a million other things. But right now I can’t because they are hurting too much, and there will be things I can never tell them, because they are my children and there are some things that just aren’t appropriate for a child to hear about their parents’ relationship.
But in their hurt they have forgotten how much I might be hurting, even though it was me that left their mother. They see her sadness and grief and forget that I also am sad and grieving. They think of me as selfish and just someone that’s after a new high or some new “feeling”. They tell me what they need me to do: that I need to preserve the family unit. But in their saying this, they think only of their needs, and don’t for a second think of mine. I want to ask them how they would feel if I was hit by a car and died tomorrow? Would they still think they hate me and continue to be angry? How would they cope if the chance to speak with me one last time was taken away? I think they would live a life of regret, and I’m sad that they can’t see that.
I want to call them and tell them I love them. I want to explain to them that I’m still the same father that held my granddaughter and sang her to sleep, who gave advice when my son wasn’t sure about his new job, who helped a young nurse cope with the pressures of that amazing profession. I want to remind them of all those moments and so many more and remind them that I am still the same person I was, despite what I’ve done to their mother in ending our relationship. I want to remind them of how grateful they felt for a father that loved them and cared for them in all of those moments and I want to show them the birthday, Christmas and Father’s Day cards they wrote to me where they told me I was the best dad in the world and how they could not hope for anyone better. But right now I can’t and I need to be strong and wait and it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.
I need to give them time to come to terms with my decision and hope that at some point in the not too distant future they will allow me to be a father and grandfather again. My goal to be the best father that I can be has not changed and never will.
I long now for the time when they will let me back into their lives and trust my judgement and advice again. That they will understand and see that I had no choice.
But right now, it just hurts.
If you’re struggling with issues right now, please call Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14. They can listen and they can help.