What a Divorced Dad Experienced but Few People Saw

What Divorced Dads Experience but Few People Seldom See

In January 2015, as the NFC championship game played, I made a life changing decision that separated me from my twins, divorce. I thought long and hard about that decision but no one could prepare me for the depressing times that tried to take my life afterwards.  

Guilt strangled me, often leading me to nightly stays in dive bar parking lots.  I wrestled with memories of my kids,  the good times that made me feel alive. Although I tried to occupy my mind with that goodness, I usually ended up feeling like I failed them. 

Despite others telling me all will be well in time, I sank to the lowest point in my life. Nothing anyone could say or do made me feel like I did the right thing.

Even when I visited my kids after leaving the home, I endured their cries and the frequent, “Daddy don’t leave”. Heck, any parent with a heart knows that is pain beyond all pain, and it tears me up to this day.

It was extremely tough knowing that a decision I made separated them from me. They didn’t deserve a life similar to my childhood, growing up with divorced parents.

In that great time of pain,  the only way I knew how to deal with the world collapsing on me was to write. And so, the poem below is of that time when I battled the darkness of depresssion:

Depression is a thorn
pushing into my side,
It digs deeper
as the light dims
in the place
I lay my head,

I wield hope
for a future,
Where my arms
hug and caress
the warm fragile bodies
of two who carry my name,

In darkness I sit
temporarily amused,
As day becomes night
and these thoughts
grow stronger
in the loneliness
sitting next to me,

This roller coaster
I sit in the front seat of,
Is a thrill ride
I did not seek,
It is admission to such a park
I long to void,

I shall close my eyes
and dream of future days,
When a smile adorns my face
in the presence of they,
Who delicately hold my heart
in their loving embrace,

…my precious children.

I read this today and the words are heavy, taking me back to a moment in my life I wish to forget. Thankfully, I am no longer depression’s prisoner, so the poem is a barometer of my growth.

The Unseen Reward of Depression

In the months following my separation from my kids, I endured lonely, quiet and painful times. I battled issues that stemmed from a childhood filled with abandonment and low self-esteem.

I sat in a baron apartment, listening to countless thoughts running through my head. Yes, listening. I looked in the mirror, starring into a stranger’s face, asking questions of who am I, what do I want and what do I believe.

My time in the dungeon of loneliness was valuable. I learned how to overcome my guilt, how to open up my heart and admit to decisions that set me back. I learned my worth and what I want for me and the woman who would compliment me.  In some respects, it taught me to become a man. 

This tumultuous, unforgiving place called life will eat you up and spit you out without warning. It will force you down roads you don’t want to travel. It will break you and build you back up. 

You may be in this roller coaster ride of ups, downs, sharp turns and unexpected dips called life, but hold on and fight! Face your demons and grow from them.  I promise you at the end of your great battle will be nuggets of wisdom you’ll be able to share with your kids and others. 

Depression will kill you, if you allow it to take hold of you. The continual thoughts of what you could have done better will also kill you, if you dwell on those thoughts. 

As a man who’s endured not one but two divorces, it is important to keep your eyes looking ahead and not in the past because the result of thinking of the past will lead you down a path that will hurt those who love you.
Be strong. Be bold. Be honest with yourself. It’s ok, you made a mistake. Acknowledge it and move on. 

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