Yikes! That’s a lifetime. I don’t have any regrets that my twenty-three year marriage ended when it did. It was actually over long before I finally left. I made the same mistake that many people make – sticking around for the kids, when it didn’t end up making any difference anyway. I remember someone saying that you know it’s over when you wake up and you wish you were anywhere else. After twenty-three years of trying, hoping that someday it would all magically change, I realized it would not and I left.

At the time my mother had been diagnosed with fifth stage melanoma and was given less than a five percent chance of survival. My parents, brother and sister had moved west in 1970, so I had not seen much of them over the years. I wanted to spend whatever time my mother had left with her. In 1993 I had been living away from the home I was still paying for; my contract work was coming to an end and I had to make a decision whether to take on any new ones, and, most importantly, my kids were living such busy lives that I had to make appointments to see them. I felt that if I went out west to be with my mother in her final years, my kids would come out to have their holidays with all of us and we would be able to spend more quality time together as a family without the strain of the break-up. It was a dream and I ended up being so very wrong.

To the day I take my last breath I will never understand why my kids abandoned me. I know the pressures from my ex not to have anything to do with me, I believe because she was so paranoid that they would move west and leave her alone, was intense, but I also believed that my kids knew that they were the ones who encouraged me to move and that they would do everything to stay in touch with me and my family out west, despite the pressure from their Mom. I won’t repeat the stories of what happened and how, today, I have no contact with them or my five grand-kids, but the lesson to be learned is to hold your children close always. Never let anything or anyone interfere in your relationship with your kids, no matter what. Forgive and never let them go. If you have lost touch with a parent, for whatever reason, make every effort to reconnect with them. You may think you know how they feel, but the bonds of blood are strong and should never be broken. If you are a divorced parent, do not poison your children against your ex. Let them make their own decisions without interference from you. Whatever went wrong in your marriage has nothing to do with your children. Encourage them to stay in touch and share their lives with both parents.

When my son showed the courage to reconnect with me in 2007 I was filled with hope that it was a sign that we would share our lives again and even held out hopes to reconnect with my wonderful daughter, but it was not to be. I suspect that my ex stuck her nose in again, persecuting him for contacting me, and I never heard from him again. Earlier this year I managed to get addresses for both of them and sent letters to them, but they chose not to respond. All so very sad.

Despite how horribly wrong this has turned out with my kids, I’ve never questioned my decision to leave my marriage when I did. My only regret was sticking it out as long as I did “for the kids”, when this was wrong, and always will be. When it’s over, it’s over. Accept it and move on with your life.