My daughter had been travelling Europe for six months. My youngest son and I decided to join her for Christmas and spent some time with her in London and Britain.
Over the course of the two weeks together we spoke of many things and inevitably did get on to speaking about “it” (ie: the break-up). In the beginning after the separation, my children had been tremendous emotional support to me and we had leaned on each other through the pain and shock of the abandonment. Then, as I began to heal, I attempted to shield my two younger children from further negative discussion. As much as I could, I tried to put it all behind me and to be the strong one for them, to behave as I would have behaved had the trauma never occurred. To a certain extent we were living a facade as I was far from complete recovery; and they were still very much in grief.
The separation had been hard on them and it is has been difficult for them to find someone that they can talk to. Who best to talk to, but their mother? So on this holiday, knowing that pain and bewilderment is best addressed, when a few comments came out I encouraged my daughter to talk about what was concerning her. I explained that if not worked through, it could eat at her for years. One has to come to a point of accepting what has happened and then let it go. I spoke of how I understood she could view that the abandonment of me by her father was also abandonment of her. I tried to explain that he had not abandoned her. He was still there for her, but he would just now be showing it in a different way.
‘Mum it is not Dad abandoning me that concerns me, it is me abandoning you that concerns me. I am the last child. I am leaving home, leaving the state and now you will be on your own. I feel as if I am abandoning you’.
I could not change that I was alone, unpartnered, by myself. No matter how strong I behaved I could not change the fact that if my husband had not left me he would have been there with me, we would be together, we would be the rock of support for our children – not the other way round. My daughter would not feel this guilt she felt of abandoning me and the role that she felt someone should take on – that of looking after me.
Of course, I do not feel I need looking after and I told her so. Yet no words of mine could comfort her. All I can do is to keep aiming for strength and courage, to become a strong independent woman for her, for all my children, to show them by example that I am OK; and to allow them to spread their wings as they would have done, and to be here for them, if they ever need me.