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Grief over Custody

I’ve never told this full story to my online world.  It is difficult.  And it was grief ridden.  Here goes.

Deep Breath

About 6 years ago, after my alzheimer’s job, I had to get out of the small town I lived in.  I saw no future whatsoever there.  The town was dying.  There were no jobs.  Absolutely no room to advance.  So I decided after a lot of deliberation that I needed to move towards Portland, Oregon.  5 hours away.

My 3 sons stayed with their dad while I moved.  And the plan was for them to move up after I got settled.  That was the plan.  Getting settled took a couple of months, but soon I was doing well and had an apartment big enough for the boys to fit into with us.

My ex began talking about the boys staying with him.  I would hear nothing of it and made that very clear.  Then I started noticing that when I called, my middle son wouldn’t come to the phone.  When he was made to talk to me, it was very short.

What happened in their minds at that point was that for the first time ever, we were at war, their father and I.  And they were right smack dab in the middle.

I was served with custody papers at work.  My world came crashing down.  I cried for days.

After I was cried out, I sat down and journaled.  I poured my heart out.  I wrote for about a dozen pages when I was stunned by what I discovered.

I called my ex husband.  He was none too pleased to hear from me, as we were at war and I had not been too kind.  I asked him if he was sitting down.  What I told him was that I had been really struggling with this, and could fight him til my death, but that no one would win, especially the children.  But after all was said and done, he was a good dad.  And so, I would not be fighting him.  I wanted what was best for the children, and they wanted to stay there.

Then I cried some more.

Sometimes, even if you know you are doing the right thing, grief comes.  For years on Mother’s Day, I tried to hole myself up, to not go out.  I couldn’t stand random strangers telling me happy mother’s day.

Fast forward 6 years.  The oldest lived with me for a year after he graduated, and we are all so very close.  The boys know that I respected them with my decision.  And when they come up for the summer, for the holidays, for spring break, we pack as much as we can into our time.

We often have family time together, the ex, his girlfriend, his parents, the boys, me, and my love.  We are blessed.  And I can’t help but think that we wouldn’t be where we are today had the war continued.

 

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We know, as parents, that the day will come that our children will move away.  But I can tell you from personal experience that no matter how good the circumstances, it is a pain like no other.

After my ex father in law’s accident, my oldest son chose to relocate to his grandparents house.  At first, to help them, then to work, as employment is so often who you know, and they had excellent connections in their town.  It was a great move for him.  He has a stable job, is making some money, getting job experience.  But the day it became clear to me that he was really gone, my world crumbled.

I knew in my heart that it was a good move for him, but my heart hurt so much.  No more coming home to him, no more daily talks.  I cried.  I cried a LOT.  I had long talks with my son’s dad, I tried to find my personal peace with his absence.

As with most things, time healed this pain.  We have established a new groove.  We will be together for the holidays.  We keep in constant contact via text and phone.  And we are actually closer than before.

Do I miss him?  Is there a hole in my home?  Absolutely.  Did I take some time to feel ok with it?  Absolutely.  It was helped with the deep down knowledge that what he did was right, and expected.  Yet, I grieved.  I allowed myself to feel the pain.  That made all the difference.

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