Family can drive a knife in your heart
Anyone who has been following me knows the troubles I have had with my family. It’s been twenty-five years since my wonderful daughter, Heather, cut me off with no explanation as to why. My son, Chris, did the same until we reconnected back in 2007. At the time we spoke for eight hours catching up on things, a phone call that cost me an unbelievable four hundred dollars in long distance. Part of the conversation involved some trouble he was in and I promised to help him however I could. I spent the better part of the next week researching the issues and developing a plan for him. When I had not heard back from him I asked his daughter, Dani, who I had been chatting with online, what was up. She told me that my ex had given my son such a hard time for talking to me that he had gone back to cutting me off. It was also the last time I heard from her as well.
Of my five grand children Dani was the only one I had ever met and that was way back in 1994 when I drove down from BC to meet with my daughter. My ex’s new husband and her hid Heather away and would not let me see her even though I had spoken to Heather on the phone and made the plans to come down to see her. It broke my heart. I stayed with Chris for three weeks hoping that I could get to see Heather, but no luck. I did get to hold their new baby, Dani. At the tme, of course, I didn’t know that Dani was going to be the only grandchild I would ever meet.
Fast forward far too many years. I reconnected with Chris in London when he was videotaping a dance company he worked for. It was around his birthday in March so I got him a blow-up framed photo of our days dirt-biking in Revelstoke as a gift. Although it was a ridiculously short meeting, basically a quick lunch at Tim Horton’s, we did make a plan to meet in the summer, possibly in Kincardine where my niece lived because Chris said he and the kids went up there quite often. Months passed and I heard nothing from him which really upset me because I was really looking forward to meeting my grand kids. I sent him a not so friendly message asking if his mother had stopped us meeting and asking if it wasn’t time to get out from under her skirt and be a man. He blocked me and I haven’t heard from him since. Ten years now.
There hasn’t been a day when I haven’t missed my kids terribly, especially after both my Mum and Dad passed away, which my kids didn’t even know. My parents had never understood why the kids had cut me off so brutally and now they were gone. The hole in my heart got even bigger without them and I so longed to connect with my kids and grand kids, but it seemed hopeless. People I had met over the years in BC never understood why I had no contact with my kids or grand kids and I don’t think ever believed me that nothing had happened to justify their actions. A few girlfriends even tried to connect with Heather to help me. Way back in 1994 after they hid Heather away from me I wrote her a multi-page letter about things she didn’t know about my marriage and how much I missed her. My Dad had also phoned her from Arizona and left a message with her step-brother to have her call them collect. She never returned the call which baffled my parents. My Dad said he could have been calling her to let her know I had died. Very sad.
When I told one of my girlfriends about the letter I had sent to Heather I mentioned that I had included a cheque for fifty bucks for her to buy a birthday present for herself because I didn’t know what she liked in music or clothes. My girlfriend asked me if the cheque was ever cashed. When I checked my bank I discovered the cheque had never been cashed, so I wondered if she had ever got my letter. Knowing what she did about my ex my girlfriend said she never gave it to Heather, which, of course, is illegal and I didn’t want to believe she would do that, but nothing else made sense. Then I get the papers telling me that my divorce had been finalized. I didn’t even know my ex had filed for divorce. Then I see that the reason was “child abandonment”. Seriously? I was so angry. Everyone knew my address and my phone number. I never hid from the public. So why didn’t I get a notice from the court that she had filed for divorce? Didn’t I have the right to defend myself? I learned she wanted to marry my buddy, Gary, so I guess there was a rush that ended up trampling my rights. I was furious. Just more crap from her that was as bad as she was in our marriage. Selfish. Mean. Cruel. All her. This when I had never told the kids the truth or uttered a single bad word about her. Some thanks.
In the years since I have never stopped trying to get in touch with my kids. Chris had blocked me on Facebook and the phone number he had given me was now someone else’s. I focused on Heather who I had learned was now married and living in Burlington. I sent her some messages on Facebook, worried that she would just block me but she didn’t, surprisingly. She never responded to anything though. I found a wonderful photo of her on her Facebook page with her kids and added it to my Facebook page saying how proud I was of her. She immediately reported it to Facebook who threatened to cancel my long standing account if I didn’t remove the “unauthorized” photo. I was shocked that she could be that cruel, but she was her mother’s child. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, right?
Even in Ecuador I kept trying to connect with anyone. I learned that my other son had connected with Chris and Heather and they were hanging out together. Andrew had apparently helped Chris a lot. Heather didn’t appear to be as close, maybe because they lived in Burlington, quite a trip from Toronto where Andrew and his family lived. I still remember seeing a photo of Chris and Andrew together. They looked like twins. I tried to have some kind of relationship with Andrew but he didn’t seem interested so I stopped trying.
Thanks to Facebook I had managed to find two of my grand daughters, both from Chris. I wondered many times what they would do if I tried to friend them or contact them. I had to try, right? Yesterday I messaged both of them, hoping they would respond. Well, first I got a message from the eldest. To say it was cruel would be a gross understatement. She wanted nothing to do with me and even threatened me not to try to contact her sisters. It broke my heart. I was so upset questioning what had I done to deserve this?
Just when I felt like heading for the nearest bridge I got a response from one of my other grand daughters. I can’t tell you her name because we are both afraid she will be scolded and forced to block me. She is wonderful. She’s angry that we have never met or even spoken. Rightly so she says that she should have been allowed to make her own decision about me. I could not agree more. We’re going to keep this our little secret and hopefully talk a lot more. I’m thrilled.
While we’re talking about a knife in the heart my son also managed to drive one in deep. If you follow me you know how much of my life I devoted to his hockey, even paying a lawyer for a fake separation agreement and changing my address to Toronto so he could play for a team in Scarborough. I couldn’t even answer my own phone at home in case it was the Brampton Minor Hockey Association. Add the thousands of miles to hockey tournaments, all over the country and the US, the hotel and food bills, not to mention the expensive hockey equipment like skates and sticks, I gave up ten years of my life to his hockey. Although he was scouted by MIT and offered a full scholarship when he was only twelve, he was too young to sign at the time. After being signed to a Junior B team, the Streetsville Derbys, he quit hockey. Of course ten years later he blamed me for “letting” him quit. I told him I wasn’t the one putting the skates on.
Just after we had reconnected in London and after I sent him the not-so-nice message he replied telling me that Gary, my ex’s new husband, was his “real father”. I sobbed uncontrollably that he could even say that after every thing I had done for him as his father. Again, a broken heart. He pushed me right to the edge.
Why ever do family do these things to each other? We only have one family and should never forget that. My family have, well, with one wonderful exception.