“…We either lay our mistakes upon them and we haunt them, or we assist them in laying our burdens down and we free them from the chains of our flawed behavior.” (1)
I pray I made the right decision to do what I did with my daughter. I have never written about my relationship with her here, or if I did, it was a cursory mention of the facts of our separation. But I am here today to talk about it. Why now? I don’t have a fucking clue why I was not able to do this before today. But here goes.
When my meltdown started in 2007, I could no longer run from the what the medical world calls my depression.
One of the effects of that event was that I left my marriage of 18 years. Why is not what matters here. But as a result of that decision my ex spouse did some things that necessitated us having to go into Court to deal with the “custody,” of my at the time 10 year old daughter.
The court ordered me to do “reconciliation therapy,” with her before I could see her. I did not then and still to this day do not understand why they did it. But I attempted to set up the therapy with a court approved therapist. But the problem with this is the therapist made some allegations about me that I was not willing to let stand. I told the therapist that if she insisted in the premise that I abused my daughter, then I wanted her to call the cops and report this alleged abuse and we would deal with it that way. I knew a therapist has a duty under CA law to report to law enforcement any suspected abuse.(Jay told me. You will learn about Jay later on down the post)
The therapist said she didn’t think that was necessary. I asked her who had made the allegations. She wouldn’t tell me. I said I was not willing to have the fucking elephant in the middle of the room that I abused my own child since it would have been a set up and I would never be able to disprove a negative.
So needless to say re-unification therapy didn’t happen.
But to be honest, one of the straws that broke the camel’s back of my marriage was my ex didn’t think Jessica needed therapy. You see, I saw my daughter doing what I did when I was her age. She was disassociating when the tension was expressed between my ex wife and myself and I knew that if she didn’t get help she would suffer from those deep seated emotional conflicts that lead many of us to drink or use as alcoholics or addicts.
So I was left with this fucked Hobsons choice. Either I could “admit,” I abused my daughter, or I would not be able to see her. (Gratefully, Jessica has been in therapy since about a month after I left. She has had a therapist for the last 8 years and I am grateful for that.)
For my birthday every year, I give myself a one hour session with Jessica’s therapist. After a year in therapy, I asked her therapist, since I am not going to admit a lie as a premise for any sort of me seeing her again, what could I do to make it so my daughter had as stress free a childhood as I could help her have. I am aware that my meltdown has caused her a lot of stress and she has struggled.
But I didn’t know what to do. So Jay, my daughter’s therapist looked me in the eye and with tears in his eyes, said I know you wont want to hear this but I think the best thing you could do for your daughter is to let her go. FUCK NO I said. He then explained to me that my daughter was too enmeshed with her mother to be able to carry the tension of having a relationship with me at the same time. I asked him how long did I have to “let her go?”
Again, struggling to get it out, Jay said that I had to let her go with no expectation or goal of seeing her again. I begged, tried to bargain, ranted, raged, yelled and did anything I could to not accept that sitting in that office in Novato. But after about 10 minutes of me projecting every bit of fucking shadow I could at Jay, I just stopped and cried. I cried the rest of the session and I cry now as I write this. I have never wanted to say or face this openly except in a cursory fashion in AA meetings, with close friends, or with my therapist John Jack.
So I have not seen my daughter since early 2011. She was 10 when I last saw her and is 18 now. Glenn Fry is singing “You’re a Part of Me, I’m a Part of You,” on the radio as we speak. I cry every day for my daughter. I miss her so much and a part of me feels like it died that day.
But I pray that Jay knew what to do that day I made that decision. I trust that he is looking out for my daughter’s best interest, even at my expense.
I pray my daughter does not have to carry the burdens that I laid on her. I pray that her troubles are not from me making her carry all of my ghosts.
Thanks Renee for always being there on this issue. 123 RV, SA, PH, DH, JDK and a special prayer for the Colonel today. He needs love and support as he trudges his own road.
I have never acknowledged this but that is Jessica in that picture. She was with her dog Oatie when I took that picture.
(1) This is a quote Bruce Springsteen’s Broadway Album
P.S. I just re-read this and apologize for the rambling way I wrote it. I don’t want to edit it but wanted to apologize for the somewhat unconnected way it was written