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Mourning On My Own

November 13th, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments

I’ve lost my family although not completely. I am divorced and separated from my daughter. She lives 3000 miles away from me (about a 5 hour flight).

There is a wide range of emotions you go through when you become divorced and separated. Sadness, anger, despair, anguish, hopelessness, powerlessness just to name a few. We don’t have to make the list too comprehensive. Each emotion is complex enough as it is.

I wrestle with these emotions almost on a daily basis and admittedly it leaves me feeling depleted, especially after a long day of work. Effectually, I mourn on my own. Really with no one else. There is no one else to share it with. Besides, I tell myself, no one else will understand what I’m going through and they cannot possibly empathize and make me feel better in any way. The pain is my own and I am the only one that has the ability to deal with it.

So I pretend like I’m Ok. I know I’m not. This ties back to a previous post where I remark that I’ve lost the passion so to speak. When you lose your family a piece of your heart goes missing – like it’s been surgically removed. It’s an awful and empty feeling with no feeling of resolve to take on the day ahead of you. You say to yourself “What is the point? Or, this is pointless”. Further, you stipulate that you don’t want to live anymore and would be better off six feet under the ground. This is part of the reason as to why I tend to sleep in a little later nowadays. Although I start work at 12, I’ve lost the verve to spring out of the bed in the morning and tackle the day. When I was a stay-at-home-dad in San Diego, I used to leap out of bed in the morning. My daughter, and infant at the time, would walk from her room our room and stand beside the bed, smile and jump up and down with excitement as if to say “Ok Daddy, let’s get the day started, let’s do something!”

But those very happy days are gone. I hold onto those memories so tightly though. It takes me back to a better place when my life was bliss and I frankly didn’t care about anything else. All I had to worry about was taking care of the household and taking care of my daughter. I’d change her diaper on the change table and see the beautiful golden sun come in through the window and light up the wispy hairs on her head. She really was an angel. The way she smiled at me so lovingly when I changed her diaper. She knew how much I loved her. She could feel how careful I was when I changed her.

And so every now and then these memories come back to me, flooding in and taking over my thoughts. It can be so overwhelming and intense. This little piece of writing doesn’t even begin to do it justice. I wouldn’t dare let my real feelings come to the surface as I write this. It’s just too painful. But I have developed mechanisms to protect myself in an attempt to ensure my survival.

Yes, I mourn on my own. All by myself.
But the memories and images I carry around in my head are positive, not negative. This is how I get through the day. This is how I carry on and try to enjoy my life.

Daily, I think about when I will see my daughter again. I tell myself ‘soon’, and carry on with what needs to be done next. This is the best I can do. This is the best I can hope for. I have to hope that she is happy in her life with her mother and trying to do her best each and every day she wakes up.

Justine, my daughter, once told me (after our divorce) “Daddy, I don’t cry very much”. I thought to myself for a moment “I wonder what some of her nights were like after I left?”. She wouldn’t have felt the effects right away but there would be a time when she realized that something was wrong and the reality would set in. How I would have longed to hold her and let her know I was still there for her. The thought is almost unbearable. It kills me. I wasn’t there. She had to manage on her own. She had to stare adversity in the face and overcome it (without her Daddy that loved her more than anything). But this was to be part of her life. This would be a problem that she would have to face on her own at a very young age. The experience will shape her and make her the person that she is today. I have to make peace with this. I have to make peace with the fact that my daughter could have been happier if I hadn’t failed.

But I did fail. The odds weren’t in my favor. As a result, my daughter suffered. Yet, she also fought through and persevered. It has been 3 years since our divorce. My daughter still smiles. My daughter still laughs. She has friends in kindergarten and she is taking steps toward efficaciousness. For me, this is what matters. Time will tell if she is able to win and seize hold of her independence. Whatever levels of independence she will achieve will be good enough for me. I know she will do her best to succeed and I will always be proud given what she had to endure at such a young age. It’s traumatic. She has fought through it.

I mourn on my own. I wonder if my daughter does too. She may mourn in the presence of those around her. I’m not sure. As far as my X-wife goes, I can only wish her happiness and the very best for her life ahead. She is the mother of our child; of my child. That bond will always be there despite any interpersonal tensions.

As for me, I can only wish that I find ways to become happier as time elapses. I am dreaming a lot in my sleep again and I think that may be a good sign. Some of my dreams are positive and some of them are negative. I don’t know what it means yet I think about them analytically and try to decipher a meaning.

Right now, I’ll wish for your happiness and wonder if you’ll find it.

It’d be great to hear from you,

Matthew R. Polkinghorne

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