AUDIO VERSION: (Transcript below for those who prefer to read) Approx. 8 mins long
How many times do you find yourself thinking about your estranged child or children and feeling as though you’ve wasted your life? Or, how often have you thought about the cost in many ways, not only financially, that it took you to raise that child? Suddenly, you begin to look around, not having that child as part of your aging years and realize that perhaps, you would have been better off had you never had a child to begin with?
I find myself talking about her. I try not to do that as I get met with blank stares as though this is “old news” to everyone else and they’re wondering when I’m going to get past it all. The truth is, I’m not at least, not fully. I had a child and now I don’t have her as part of my life. They all have theirs and a lot of them, grandchildren as well that they are proud of yet, they cannot understand why I’m not over it?
Frankly, a lot of these parents did half or less of what I did for my child. Some of them were harsh, strict and punishing. Others were wrapped up in their own issues and scarcely had time for their children. Half of those had an addiction element that saw them treating their child or children like crud and somehow, those children are still around them as well as in a lot of cases, grandchildren now too.
How does this work? I’m still not getting it or understanding it. Could I be that dense or stupid? Or, is there no rhyme nor reason to all of this. Some are lucky and others aren’t?
I know that I’m not alone. I understand that there are a lot of parents out there who are missing children that they’ve raised, been there for, taken care of and supported in every conceivable way while being as mystified about it as I am. They don’t understand what they did “wrong” anymore than I do.
Maybe, we gave our kids too much of ourselves? Maybe, we should have been more selfish? Perhaps, we should have punished them more, been there less, given them less, forced them to help around the house more, not been as supporting or caring, taken up an addiction that changed our personalities, fought with partners or spouses more and not given a damn what we did to our kids? At least then, if they walked away on us, we’d have some sort of basis on which to understand the “whys” behind these adult estranged children’s actions or choices? Perhaps, we’d have something to apologize to them for or atone for? However, I, like others, have nothing that we can point to as the reason. We are left with questions that will likely never get answered or, we’ll have to invent one for ourselves because heaven knows, the experts in these matters have none to give us. They shrug their shoulders as much as anyone else does when the subject gets brought up to them. They don’t have answers either.
Though I have nothing but memories and photos of her and her childhood to go by and this seems like a “death” to me because literally, that’s what it’s akin to being, I can’t mention it to anyone without getting that sigh or look that tells me that they simply wish that I’d move forward or onwards and forget that I did have and raise that child.
There are no groups for occurrences like this. We are the Forgotten Parents who go thankless for what we have given and given up for these thankless children who made their own choices and decisions to not be part of our lives or help us out in our aging years. We won’t have them to count on or depend upon for our care nor concern. Few others will be there for us either. We’ll be on our own as we are now.
Yet, I did have a child whom I raised. I am grieving her loss even when I am angry at that fact. I need support like a grieving parent and though others may look at me like I have 3 heads when I bring it up yet again because I am in pain, everyone will assume that I simply should have moved on, let her go and forgotten about her. Please don’t tell me to simply “get over it”. Not only does that upset me more than I already am but, it doesn’t stop my pain. It heightens it.
I did have a child. My child did exist and I raised her to an adult before she made the choice to take off, leaving me with questions galore, in doubt, hurt, pain, grief and bewilderment for which there will be no help. I thought you should know that.
Be well, Love and Light,
Have a great day or evening.