A Jewish friend, being more religious than I, tells me that the old and new testaments are full of seven year epochs. Plagues, wars, that sort of thing.
Sharon took our three kids out of the house for "spring break" in 2001 and they never came back. Having plunged the children into the middle of our troubles, she filed for divorce. The "children" sued me in 2002, with Sharon as their "best friend" on the papers because one child was too young to be a party. That suit was tossed in 2003 and none of my children has communicated with me since. They live two miles away.
It's called Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), where one parent, usually the custodial one, turns the children totally against the target parent. It's a form of brain washing, and also child abuse, too. A hallmark of it is that children sometimes become litigants too. I don't care whether you believe it exists or not because I know it does. Me and thousands of other American dads know this fact.
Anyway, this has been a momentous year personally for me. My running has sucked but my restoration from the depths of despair over having my children "taken" from me really started this year.
I have never woken up one morning with it all "better." When I was a young man I believed that life was two steps forward and one step back. Now I believe that life is complicated. Both beliefs fit. It's a work constantly in progress.
It started with my trip out west in February to see family. For a week I drove around the high country in raging snowstorms visiting relatives. Uncle Harry in Durango who fought at both Battles of the Philippine Sea. Aunt Betty in Parachute who worked in the defense plants. A sister in Santa Fe who is an attorney. Another person who, enraged at a post of mine, asked to never be mentioned in a post again. So bid adieu to that person forevermore. Sorry!
That solitary white-knuckle driving allowed me plenty of time to think in between bouts of terror on snow-slickened two-lane no-guardrails shelf mountain-pass roads. I came up with the notion of forgiveness. Perhaps I saw or was introduced to the presence of God. Who knows?
Forgiveness is a Christian tenet, from what I gather. I guess it exists in other religions too. It has helped.
I forgave those awful people who participated in stripping my children away from me. I forgave my children, who sought to demolish me in court and who religiously took my money without ever uttering a word to me. No calls, thank-you notes, return messages or cards on Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, Father's Day, my birthday, their birthday, graduation day, no day no way, nope, nothing, nada, zip, zilch, zero.
But this is 2008, seven years later. Seven years of heartbreak and heartache, of feeling depressed and unworthy of even familial love, of struggling to make ends meet financially amidst lifetime alimony and crushing child-support obligations. Things have happened this year. I'm going on travel for work in a few hours but more later.