Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

Archive for the category “Bullying”

Another Heart Broken

As usual with this subject of the post, I must offer the following disclaimer due to trolls that stalk my page…


I think I made this perfectly clear.

In divorce, there are two types of parents when it comes to custody.  Parents who want to be in their child’s lives, and those who do not.  And while statistics may show an overwhelming bias against one parent over another, the critical point remains that a child who starts off with two parents, needs both of those parents, regardless of gender, even after divorce.  This post is not about a mother or father who does not care.

As an adult child of divorce, I am especially sensitive to the relationships between children and parents during a divorce.  And having been divorced, I must deal with issues as the parent, as well as memories of my childhood, or lack of.  So the things I say, I do not take lightly, but most certainly, take sincerely.

Today, I received an email from a reader, who happens to be a father.  Like the majority of my followers here, I do not know identities (except for some of the trolls that I have figured out).  Given the details of the email, I know this email is the real deal.  An email such as this will end one of two ways, the parent is given some additional support to see things can get better, perhaps a direction how.  The other result, as far as I am concerned, 100% unacceptable, the loss of the parent from the child’s life.  This occurs most likely through either suicide, or surrendering their rights as a parent.  In either way, the system clearly fails if this is how not just this father’s story ends, but any parent.

Ask any parent whose child has passed away due to either illness or accident, the hole left if their heart will never heal.  And though the situation is different, constructing a narrative that causes the destruction between a parent and their child, even though both remain physically alive, creates a similar feeling of loss.  Some may recover from this neglectful and abusive behavior.  For some, this ends up as permanent, as if the child had actually died.

This father writes me, to mention that he has decided to surrender his parental rights, no longer able to sustain the fight for his children, financially, emotionally, or physically.  As is often the case, custody cases can easily approach six figures, emotions can take one step forward only to take two steps backward, and the wear and tear on the body from the stress may never be able to recover from.  Clearly to this father, and he did not state which of the three factors, or a combination of all of them, led him to this point.

As I said, I will not discuss my own custody issues, but I do what I can to encourage others, both mothers and fathers to work things out, for the sake of children.  And I do this not as a divorced father, but as I mentioned, as an adult child of divorce.  It is a relatively new concept, or concern, because all of this time, attention has always been paid to the lives of the children, assuming that once in adulthood, all would be good.  Well, except for the glaring statistic of divorce rates of children from divorced families.

In communicating with this father, I found myself dealing with a new issue, that even through my own situation, I never recognized as an option.  But I was going to convey it to this father, the decision he wanted to make was going to be a huge mistake to not only him, but to his children.

My father made decisions that he made in my young childhood.  I had always made it a point to not know what happened between he and my mother, because whatever happened between them, should have made no difference to me.  In the end, it did, because my father would eventually make the decision to “disappear.”  He never surrendered his rights to me.  But even with an ultimatum leveled on him at my high school graduation, he still made his decision, and it was one that could never be taken back.

Now, obviously, the picture above, clearly shows that my dad and I did eventually make up.  We had a very special relationship, the rebuild caused by a tragic event.  The first half of my life with, rather, without my father, was gone.  There was no getting any of it back.  But with grandchildren that loved him very much, it gave my father and I a much needed opportunity to heal.  And in the end, I forgave my father, and loved him for doing what he could for his grandchildren.  All these years later, I still do not know, why things happened the way that they did.

I have several friends who were divorced, and now have grown children.  I have heard their stories of those who gave up, and those who fought, and fought, and fought.  And the only true regret that I have ever heard,  was from those who did “walk away.”

And then I felt myself dealing with a new issue, that I had never felt before.  And this emotion would be the catalyst for how I would encourage this father, do not give up.  Though I got the opportunity to make amends with my father, and spend some valuable time and memories, there was one issue that was never, and will never get the chance to be cleared up.  And it is something that will last me, as long as I live, because he is no longer here to defend himself.

From the time my children were adopted, through the beginning of the divorce, to today, my children know me as the loving father I have always been.  As of late, geographically things are not convenient, but my children know that I will always be there for them and will do everything I can to help them, no matter where I am.

And here was the new issue.  My father did not.  And he lived less than twenty minutes from me growing up.  He not only was responsible for the decision to spend time with me or not, but he also chose not to fight for that right either.  And this is now the issue I struggle with.  It is one thing for me to be able to proclaim that I will never give up my rights as father to my children, it is another that my Father did not.  And for that, I cannot forgive him.

And that is what I tried to get across to this father.  Giving up must never be an option.  I get it.  Our bodies take a horrible beating from the stress and financial toll of this fight.  But that does not even compare to a child will never forgive you for “giving up.”

Should we have to fight til our last heartbeat for our children?  No.  And fortunately, states are now realizing the relationships between parents and their children need help, and are changing the law to allow these changes to take place.  It is a slow process, but it is happening.

I do not know the age of this man’s children, but they sound young.  He has lost everything in fighting for his custody, and likely will not recover any time soon.  But the ultimate loss will come if he stops fighting for his children.  I have no idea how my father felt making the decision that he did.  But I do know that I did not want this father to find out either.

As I wrote this post, I received an email from someone else.  And this father had just won his custody fight, a very long one.  It turns out, that he was good at documenting, and presented the judge with an overwhelming amount of documentation that showed how relentless the other parent was, in trying to take the kids away from him, no intention of co-parenting, or even letting the children be in his life.  Seriously, if you have to try this hard to prevent your children from seeing their other parent, you are using your children as pawns or weapons.  Shame on you.  And you need to know, it will never be the other parent that will pay for that, it will be the offending parent that is despised by the child, no matter how much the denial.  It will happen.

I asked the email owner if I could forward it to the other writer, who could definitely use some encouragement.

Look, if you walk away from your child, know that is something you will never get back.  But if you truly love your children, you do not ever give up any fight for them.  Giving up is never an option.


The Coward, The Troll, The Bully, The Monster, The Loser

Yep, pretty sure I have described you as well as I could.  Did I leave anything out?

Sorry folks.  Need to address someone personally, and well, since the individual is a coward, and refuses to come out from the shadows to face me human to human, well… here is why I am doing this post.

For years, I have put myself out publicly, to be both a resource and for support, for those who face challenges in life, similar to what I have gone through.  I will admit, this has also been therapeutic for me as well, because short of talking to a psychologist, most would not be able to comprehend what I have been through.

My topics cover my experiences with cancer and survivorship, adoption related issues, divorce, and parenting.  At times I will have guest writers share their stories and insights.  Some topics I will get quite detailed, and  I do my best to avoid graphic content, and there are times when things are written that are appropriate.  There are things that I will not talk about to protect certain individuals from situations or reasons.  For instance, I will talk about anything pertaining to my cancer journey and life afterwards, issues related to adoption and immigration, but I will not discuss details of my divorce or things related to it, other than sharing other people’s stories whose similarities are purely coincidental.  Well… until now.  Actually for the last several years.  Someone wants to use my blog against me, by taking things I have written out of context, and misrepresenting my thoughts.  This should not come as a surprise given everything else this coward has tried to perpetrate against me.

You see Coward, yes, I capitalized it because I am using it as a proper noun as well as an adjective, I am speaking directly to you.  You are a coward.  You are a troll.  You are a bully.  You are a monster.  You are a loser.

Do you think you are the only outsider who has tried to interfere with my divorce, and the relationship with my children?  Hardly.  Do you think because your acts are done in the shadows, there are not footprints to your doorstep?  You try to incite those formerly in my life with innuendo and things taken out of context, all in an effort to destroy my life.  You trust people who you should not, which is how I know who you are.  And that is why every thing that happens, it is reported to the authorities, every time.  Everything has been documented.

Just because you do not value your family, and quite possibly that sentiment is returned, does not give you the right to come at me.  I know who you are.  My children and friends know who you are.  And we all know what you have done and continue to do to me.

The unfortunate thing is, after six years, emotions from the divorce should be simmering down.  Instead, you, an outsider, feel the need to constantly stoke the flames for your own personal and sick satisfaction.  Those that you feed by stalking me, taking things out of context, do not hurt me, you hurt them, not allowing them to move on with their lives.  But then again, you do not care who you hurt.  Even I know that.  Unfortunately, they do not know this, you coward.

I feel better getting this off my chest, coward.  You?  At least I am not hiding, coward.  How do you like that, coward?  And for your minions that bite on every morsel you throw at them?  I know who they are too, and so do my friends, and so do my children.  Imagine, people they know and love, and think they are loved back, actually conspire with you to hurt their father.  I have something you will never know or understand, a child’s never ending love.  You will never take that away from me.

I look forward to the stinging rebukes tonight, or whenever you can think of some clever response.  But as you refuse to come out from the shadows, you are nothing but a coward.  Too bad your minions cannot see it and the trouble you are causing for them as well.

I Will Always Remember

There are moments in our lives, that will forever change our perspectives, our fears, but hopefully not who we are.

I was not born when John F. Kennedy was shot.  And I was too young to understand the Vietnam war when it happened.  The first major event in history during my life, occurred in January of 1986, the space shuttle Challenger disaster.  I was working retail in a mail, when the mall music was interrupted by an announcement, that left everyone inside of my store, standing silent.  The Challenger had exploded shortly after lift off, killing all members aboard.  You could tell the impact this had on everyone, even without seeing it on a television, the description of the event, the horrific tragedy, the loss of the crew.  This particular mission was special because for the first time, it had a regular civilian as part of its crew, a teacher.  I do not remember how long we all stood in silence, not moving, paralyzed but what we could only imagine what others were seeing.

September 11, 2001 would be the second day in my life, that I would not forget where I was, what I was doing, and what had happened.  Only this time, I witnessed it, live on television.

Like everyone else that day, just going about our normal routines, I was at work.  We had a regularly scheduled break at 8:55am, but it was not unusual for some to begin their break earlier.  I had made my way downstairs to our smaller break room area, a small nook with four chairs, a counter top, and a small television.  As I turned the corner after exiting the elevator, I was surprised to see a huge crowd bursting from the limits of the small area.  Perhaps a birthday was being celebrated or some other reason for so many to be present.

As I got nearer, I could tell there was no celebrating.  In fact, everyone was quiet.  The attention of all was directed at the small television that normally was a source of fun and laughter.  Except for this time.

We could only watch the NBC affiliate out of Philadelphia.  The Today show had just announced that a plane had crashed into Tower 1 of the World Trade Center.  At the time, all we could think about was how awful a tragedy this was to have happened, what could have caused the jet to fly so low, and not be able to avoid the skyscraper.  And as quickly as some started to theorize about a possible terror attack, we all witnessed the second plane crashing into the second tower.

Though the broadcasters would not come and say it, each and every one of us in that break room, and likely in the world, knew we were under some sort of attack.  By who, by what?  We all watched and waited to see where the next target would be.

We all just continued to stand around watching this even unfold, as emergencies were declared, restrictions put in place, and then even more unthinkable, the collapsing of the towers, and two more planes crashing, all determined to be part of the same terroristic plot.

Our break time had rolled into our lunch break at 11am before any of us knew it.  We were all in shock.  How could this be?

I lived two hours away from New York City, but I had traveled there plenty of times.  And I will never forget the first time I came out of the Lincoln Tunnel, seeing the new skyline, without the Twin Towers.  But my memories of that day pale in comparison to those who lost loved ones that day.

Another first for me, knowing someone who had perished in such a historical, and tragic event.  Throughout the different aspects of my life, I would quickly realize those who had been on those fateful planes, first responders – people who basically went into a war zone, and friends who either lived in Manhattan or worked there.

We are reminded every year to “never forget.”  Whether there in person, or viewing the tragedy on television, this is something impossible to forget.  My daughters are now at an age in school, they are learning about what happened that day, before and after.  To talk about this with my daughters, I have the same emotion and impact, as when my grandparents would tell me the day the bombs were dropped on Japan, and yes, when Kennedy was shot.

I know I am not the only one who never wants to see another “9/11”.  And that is why it is important to never forget.  To never let it happen again, and to remember all who lost their lives, and those who lost loved ones.

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