Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Praying for a Miracle: Moving On After Divorce Part IV

For those unfamiliar with the previous installments of this blog series, my oldest son almost jumped out of a four story window roughly a year after I left his father.

He was 12 at the time and the divorce was terribly hard for him to deal with.  That said, the suicide attempt wasn't because of the divorce per se. My son is high functioning on the autism spectrum and has always had meltdowns. The changes in his life made these meltdowns worse.

I told my ex about the suicide attempt on the same day it occurred in a face-to-face conversation in the man's living room. It didn't seem like something to casually tell a person over the phone. And since I always had the children with me, they were running around and playing in the large 4,000 square foot house he resided in, mostly oblivious to the conversation.

As I spoke, my ex stood there mostly silent, not betraying his thoughts except for the skeptical look that crossed his face every so often.

Then, without warning, he called our son over to talk about the crisis, speaking to him as if they were having a private conversation even though I was still in the room. "I understand why you did it," he said. "I also had a mother that didn't listen to me."

He went on to explain in great detail how his mother had repressed him in various ways, how she had hurt him growing up by not listening to him or caring enough. Oblivious to how this speech was affecting our son, my ex continued to badmouth his own mother. Every glance in my son's direction was painful, because as the older man spoke, the younger man's shoulders slumped. He looked at the floor, his countenance grew sad, and I could feel the despondency in him, the shrinking. It hurt to watch him wilt like a dying dandelion. And I was powerless to protect him, powerless to say anything without making matters worse.

On the car ride home, I tried to draw my son out, but he wouldn't talk to me. The suicide attempt may well have been a meltdown gone wrong as his doctors said, but now he was sinking into a depression for real. We were over halfway home when he finally spoke. "Mom," he said in a despondent voice. "Mom, I left (insert name of most beloved stuffed animal) at dad's house."

I'm going to call my son's favorite animal Fluffles, because it's just easier. If it helps to imagine him, Fluffles is a multi-colored stuffed tiger with lots of holes. He is well loved.

Let me recap.

"Mom, I left Fluffles at dad's house."

"It's okay. We'll go back and get him." I steered into the left turn lane and put on my signal.

My son audibly gasped.

"What's wrong, Sweetie?"

"You do care."

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Below are links to this story from the beginning:

Moving On After Divorce
Navigating Troubled Times: Moving On After Divorce Part II
Outside, Inside, Upside Down: Moving On After Divorce Part III

14 comments:

  1. "I also had a mother that didn't listen to me." . . . . Ooooooooo that is not a good line. Maybe he is not as bad as that sounds. After all some of us chaps are very nice and will even share our ice creams . . . OK maybe not I mean there are some things we dont share (ice cream is high on the list). . . . and bacon butty's.

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  2. I can't even imagine. Your ex gets a 10 on the jerk meter. Who does that to a child, especially his own?

    The Passage

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  3. How some people say things to others that are so hurtful is beyond me. Especially their own child.

    Emily | My Life In Ecuador

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  4. No matter how much people try , they will never succeed in creating a permanent rift between mother and child . The truth I.e. Mother's love is revealed in each of her selfless deeds . No one can obliterate its reflection from the child .
    A prayer for today
    Moon
    https://aslifehappens60.wordpress.com

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  5. Your ex is an asshole for using your son's impulsive attempt at suicide as a way of trying to undermine and hurt you. I hope you documented this episode and sent a copy to your lawyer, in case your rotten mongrel of an ex tries to gain some legal advantage in the future (like more visiting time, less child support, etc).

    Boy, are you well-rid of him.

    So glad your son was able to recognise your love in your actions. Hope that speaks so much louder to him than the poison that was previously poured into his ear by his sperm donor.

    Heidi (Her Grace) from Romance Spinners

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  6. Andy,

    Sometimes the smallest of gestures cement in a kid's mind just how much a parent not only cares but loves him. That's what you did by turning around to get his stuffed toy. Please visit when you can, Art Sketching Through the Alphabet "P" (Princess & Prince)? Happy A2Zing, pals!

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  7. Actions speak louder than words and your actions on the day your son forgot "Fluffles" spoke volumes to his young and vulnerable heart. You are definitely well-rid of your ex.

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  8. Wow, your ex is a jerk. I’m glad he’s an “ex.” Nobody needs that in their life. He has to be pretty selfish to try to turn the kids against their own mother.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  9. I have a daughter on the autism spectrum. Her dad has terminal cancer and last year when she was 12, she had to be hospitalized for wanting to commit suicide. It was harder than dealing with my husband's cancer. Every day, I was afraid to get out of bed because I feared I would find her dead in hers. Thankfully, with a lot of prayer and a perseverance, she is doing okay now. That part of your story really resonated with me. I'm so sorry that your ex acted the way he did. It's hard enough for your son to experience the shift in his life without your ex trying to manipulate him. You are doing a great job. Bless you!

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  10. If it were me I'm not sure the ex would've survived that conversation. What a jerk.

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  11. People are right, your ex is a jerk. We must always be at our best when dealing with children.

    http://sagecoveredhills.blogspot.com/2017/04/p-is-for-perseus.html

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  12. Praying for a miracle in much needed. Moving on is tough in such circumstances. Sad when I find kids abusing their parents.
    'Princess to Queen' #AtoZChallenge

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  13. Argh. I'm sorry both you and your son had to listen to that. :( I'm glad your son realized you cared at the end, though. :)

    With Love,
    Mandy

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