Friday, May 11, 2007

1 year, 12 months, 365 days, 8760 hours, 525,600 minutes, 31,536,00 seconds

I recently passed the first anniversary of when I last laid eyes on my son. It was a quiet, uneventful day with nothing in it to remember, I wanted it that way. The opposite of celebration is silence.

People tell me I'm doing better, "you're calmer" they say, not knowing how artificial that calm is, being necessary to avoid tearing myself apart. Or them.

I am like the steam engine in the shed, boiler still hot, still full of power, but not to be used, valves held open, the fire going out. Like a spiked gun, if you pulled the trigger, I'd blow up in your hand, so I wear a trigger lock just in case you try.

I am like some woodland creature caught in a poacher's trap, near exhausted from trying to escape, it can only sit quietly, panting a little, and contemplate its options: to gnaw off the trapped limb, wait to die of the shock, cold and hunger or for the poacher's knife. These options, the painful, the slow and the quick, each symbolize something I don't want to tell you about. There are other, remote possibilities, but I am not given to magical thinking. Where there's life, there's, well, you know.

Once or twice a week, I wake from dreams in which I have been crying. This morning, I was the only one at the crowded, noisy pool wearing fins; but I was not swimming, only walking awkwardly around the edge, looking for something. A scene change, as can only happen in dreams, and at the barbecue party I search behind the woodpile and topple over some logs, accidentally scratching someone in the crowd. I apologize, I tell her he's nearby, I could just walk over and see him, but I can't. People are building a pavilion, a woman sings happily to herself as I watch her measure out a wall; a friend of mine shouts out excitedly to another as they raise the roof by hand, light as a feather. I stumble around, between them, I know he's there, but I can't find him.

Then I wake up, I get up, and go to work; I'm doing better, I'm calmer, I must be, they tell me so, as I sleepwalk between them, unwillingly knowing something they don't want to know.

You think I'm wallowing in it? You're damned, fucking right.

(I am actually afraid to see him again, sometimes (not that there are any options nor prospects right now). How different will he be, how distant? How much will I see that we have lost, although I already know it, in theory.)


Anonymous said...

Your son can count himself lucky: you still have the energy to articulate the pain.

Please, do not let this blog die.

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth - I feel terrible for you. As the father of two young girls, I am aware of the custodial nightmare that would face me if my wife and I were ever to get divorced.

Hang in there. Your love for your boy is as meaningful and as important as his mother's. He just doesn't know it yet - but he will.



JQ75 said...

Well I do see my son now, but for over two years, there have been no full days or overnights. There are many restrictions, all for vindictive control of my son.

Over two years later, I vividly remember the night my sleeping son was removed from his bed in the middle of the night. I remember the anger when the police said that I had to allow her to violate a mediated agreement not to remove our son from the county because it wasn't a court order.

I remember the anguish of the two week search. And I remembered the "justice" of her as the kidnapping parent being allowed to continue her "procession" of the object I call my son. I thought we stopped processing people over 100 years ago.

A beaten animal in a trap, I know the feeling well, as the litigation system holds you tighter than any trap, every attempt to struggle to get free of it only increases the pain. This is a very accurate analogy, with it's distasteful alternatives.

For thousands of years the family structure existed in a certain way to meet the needs of the next generation. Now in a few generations this will be undone and a generation will grow up having its needs to access both parents be unmet.

And for what purpose, lazy judges who haven't a gram of common sense, greedy lawyers, sucking the litigants dry, century old gender stereotypes. People need to recognize this problem hurts everybody, directly or indirectly.

Father's day is coming, watch for activist opportunities to show your support.

Good luck in seeing you children. And to hell with those that would interfere with that right.

JMC said...

I feel your pain , and thank you for being so articulate about it.I agree that we as fathers need to band together and stop this insane nonsense. I do see my 7 month old son, 4 to six hours a week, but in an environment totally controlled by my ex and her family. It's an outrage that the court would order either parent to have controll over the non- custodial parents "parenting time". I would suggest that family law order joint and separate counseling before any custody decree is made. I also think that the domestic violence laws in america need to be amended so as not to be so broad and vague. battering a spouse is wrong, and those that do it should get help. but yelling in an argument- that is normal. Any allegation made by either spouse should be proven rather taken at face value. I miss my son, and I hope you will see your child soon, no - NOW!