LOSING THE DISTANT PARENT – Part 1

Every now and then I gasp for air, I’ve lost my breath and my heart feels heavy. Losing my father has taken me by surprise, more so than I had anticipated. Just now as I was working away and had to fill in security questions, it asked what my father’s middle name was. Bang, it hits me, this thing called grief and the tears flowed so unexpectedly.

It has only been seven months since my Dad has passed and so much has happened in my life since then that I feel I haven’t quite had the time to let go and fully grasp that I have lost a parent. At times, it can be conflicting. Conflicting because he hadn’t actually been in my life for years. I mean, I always sent him a Christmas and birthday message and politely he would reply back with a thank you but we were estranged. Our relationship had certainly been tested what felt like my lifetime, yet with many magical and loving memories along with heartache and sorrow.

Those around me I felt didn’t expect me to get so upset, or perhaps narrowing that down to immediate family because he had been absent and classified “not a great father” so to understand the grief I felt was hard to ascertain. I have felt alone with my sorrow on most points and it’s been hard. My son has been lovely and has tried to understand my loss. We both connect in having the absent father and in some ways, it can often be only he and I that are on that same page. In particular, it’s be hard on days like today when I’m hit with sadness knowing I will never speak to him again. I’ll never hear his accent or English humour nor will l ever hear him sing or play his guitar which was a highlight in my life.

What is good is that I don’t live in regret. I know all that could have been done and tried my end was done and I am at peace with that. In his last years arriving back in the UK after living in the USA for many years, so very unwell, allowed me to let go of the hurt and disappointment. It served no purpose for me or for him as he couldn’t remember anyways. Although through distance, we regained a connection, we spoke regularly and at times terribly hard to listen to his confusion and pain, we connected. He still called me “Shellybubba” at times and always thanked me for calling and returned my love you.’

On our last conversation, it wasn’t too long which was normally the case, however, it will be the one I will always remember. You see, I hadn’t called for a couple of weeks, partly due to my life crumbling apart with my own issues but also I was in fear he would forget me. I couldn’t face that he wouldn’t remember me, his daughter. After the years of heartache, feeling he wasn’t there physically or emotionally, the selfishness, the silent abuse, the manipulation – whatever it was, I was his daughter and we loved each other no matter what.

I called and we spoke about nothing really as it was hard to make a conversation with him many of the times. Sometimes better than others but often my questions were met with one word answers and then he’d become confused and excuse himself off the phone. It often broke my heart to hear what once was a strong, forthcoming, extremely intelligent man talk like a child and feel so confused. I apologised for not calling and tried to explain my reasoning and then admitted to my fear of him forgetting me with a quiver in my voice and obvious I had tears. There was a moment, this beautiful moment where he became the dad again and me the little girl. He said, “Shellybubba, I would never forget you, never. Come on now, stop those tears” and then he was gone. Back to the confused soul needing to get off the phone and go back to his comfort zone in the home. We said goodbye and told each other we loved one another.

I will never again have a Dad, my Dad here, even if absent, he’s gone.

💚 💚 💚

You are not alone!

Do you feel the emotions of disappointment, failure, loneliness, victimisation to name just a few as you enter or live in the syndrome of single parenthood?

Do you find yourself asking, “how the hell am I going to do this”; “how am I going to find the money to survive”; “how will I ever find love again”; or “am I the only one going through this?”

The choice of raising a child on your own quite possibly is the hardest decision you will ever make and not one to take lightly.  For others this lifestyle was not a personal choice and one-handed to them by default.  Whichever way you have found yourself in this predicament, we all hold our own stories to tell, and nevertheless we live a life of similarity.

Why this Blog is for you
Do you often have questions where you feel it is impossible to find the answers? If you do, then you are like me and the road of walking as a single parent can and is daunting and quite isolating. Sadly the statistics are proving there are more single parenting families in current times than ever before. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported in June 2011 just under a million homes consisted of lone parent families, and of this 83% were single mother families.   When looking at this ratio, it is obvious those of us who can feel alone know we are not and it gives more reason to have places and associations available where one can obtain relevant information.

Single parents have a duel responsibility in their households and get tired beyond belief. Compared to two-parent households, lone parents have not only reduced money but also half the adult time resources available as cited in a journal by Salome Bronnimann from The Master’s College.  Single parents try to fit everything into the day and still be available for their children’s emotional and psychological needs and doing this is a juggling act whilst maintaining some form of sanity, dignity and individualism.

Where to begin
Solo Talk SP will provide information on various issues of single parenting, relating between emotions one could feel, through to the dramas of cooking, dating and finding love. The Blog will also provide links and posts associated to organisations that exist and may supply the data you are trying to find.  Centrelink, Child Support Agency (CSA) and Relationships Australia are just the starting point in finding the answers among others who offer a variety of services which can assist you in the healing process and to help you move forward.

By following this Blog, you will be sharing in a personal journey of a single parent, while finding answers too many of your questions along the way. You will find encouragement and assurance in knowing you are not alone in the world of single parenting.

*image from dudoism

I’m sorry!

Please do not say you are sorry. Do you know what you are saying sorry for?

Perhaps this statement is a little harsh without explaining the meaning behind it and I feel an explanation is in order.

Let me rewind nine years ago and when I became a single parent. My darling son was only 14 months old at the time. To finally make that choice
to be on my own emotionally and to act on it physically was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Although I knew in my heart and soul it was the right thing, it still did not make it easier. I was in the relationship with my son’s father for seven years. I met him when at the tender age of 21, I thought he was fantastic. We always had a fiery relationship and I do take responsibility for my part in the demise of the breakdown and breakup.

I am a Scorpio; very passionate with a sting. I am told more than once (I dare to admit) apparantly I have a look which can kill on the spot. I do tend to forget but I do not forgive and all this adds to my makeup of who I am. On the other hand of being a Scorpio, I am a very passionate person, I am extremely loyal, I am vulnerable and feel I put others first before myself. Like anyone else, there is good with the bad.

To get back to how I became a single parent; we were young, carefree and the only thing important was to have a great time which we did have…in the beginning. I was 26 when I fell pregnant. Some may say this is young, some may not; yet before this, I had travelled overseas (on my own), lived out of home for years, did the party scene for many years and basically had a fulfilling life. I was not planning on becoming pregnant, not at this stage in my life.  I felt totally blessed when I found out I was pregnant with my son as I was diagnosed with Endometriosis at the age of 19 and had already suffered two miscarriages. I honestly thought I could not have a child, and although I was not sure if I would be raising this child up alone, there was no other option than to keep him. I had a difficult pregnancy as I was sick 24/7 along with fighting food poisoning twice which both times lasted over two weeks. I had a virus throughout the pregnancy and in the last couple of months suffered sciatica. In addition to the ill-health I endured, I also suffered emotional, mental and physical abuse which only seemed to get worse as the pregnancy progressed. I will not go into details, yet it was absolutely horrible and I felt helpless. I did not want my child to become another statistic or go through what I went through having separated parents myself from a young age. I tried to make the relationship work, I did everything that I could within my power, but it was not working.  By the time my son had turned one, I knew what I had to do. One of the difficult areas of this breakup was that not many people knew about my secret life and what I had been going through. I felt responsible for my ex partner and financially and emotionally carried him for a long time after the separation as well as during the relationship.  I finally made the decision and acted on it.  As I had mentioned earlier, it was one of the hardest things I have done, but also one of the bravest things.  I really did not know how I was going to survive yet I knew my son and I would be better off than staying in an extremely unhealthy environment.

Throughout the time of the separation and even now when people find out I am a single parent, their response is…”I’m sorry”. Why be sorry? I can understand people feeling compassion, sympathy and empathy yet please don’t be sorry that I am a single parent. It is one of the best things I have done and from making this choice, I have created a happier, healthier, more loving and balanced life for my son and myself. I embrace being a single parent as I know how my life was and what it would have been if I had stayed in that situation.

Mind you, in saying this, being a single parent is probably the other hardest thing I have had to go through. I am still learning and feeling the hardship of being on my own raising a child. I feel there are many organisations, information and places for people in my situation, yet to find these is very hard. This is the reasoning behind my Blog. My vision is to provide information I have found beneficial through my journey as a single parent. Unless you are in this situation yourself, you really do not know what it is like. You can imagine, that is for sure, just as I can imagine what it would be like being in a two parent situation raising a child. I know it is something I want to feel and share with my son, to become a larger family. I feel in being a single parent, society can title us with a certain image, a certain persona which isn’t always right or fair. On the flip side, we can embrace this title as it shows we are strong-willed, a sound mind and we are quite powerful within our own right.

In thinking about another term to use rather than “sorry”, perhaps there is another word that could be used. To be honest, I am not sure of what that could be and maybe someone could suggest a term that we all feel fits just right?