I am the alienated parent I am bewildered, angry, hurt and grieving. Someone pressed the pause button of my life and I am here, hanging in mid air, waiting for the other shoe to drop, the sentence to be ended, my children to return to my love and my waiting arms.

I am the alienated parent, I am sad in a way that corrodes my life inside and out, if you could see me on the inside you would see the hollowed out cavern of my grief. I do not understand what has happened to my children, they frighten me, anger me, sadden me. I am watching the possibility of their future being eroded in front of me. It is painful to see that their wings have been clipped, their potential has been limited and that I have been washed out of their selves and souls as if I never existed.

But I did exist, I do exist. I am still here even though sometimes I feel as if I am invisible in a room full of my relatives. I am parent to children who pretend I do not exist whilst family and friends fall silent when I walk in the room. I know they wonder what I did to cause my children to hate me this way.

What did I do? When did I do it? Why has this happened to me and not to my children’s other parent? How will I live like this, will I survive, who am I if not parent to my children? Why, what, how, when, who. Questions I can’t seem to answer though I ask them all the time.

The worst times are when someone asks me if I have children. What do I say? Like parents whose children are dead, my children feel as lost to me as if I had put them in the ground. Sometimes I wonder if grieving the death of my children would be easier than this holocaust of living loss that neither diminishes nor changes but aches, it simply aches, except when the pain becomes as sharp as a open wound. On these days I can hardly catch my breath for the rawness of my loss and missing them. The missing them is the worst, their laughter, their arms around me, the smell of their hair.

I was made to love and protect my children and not being able to give them that which I promised on the day they were born, is a cruel and unnatural punishment for simply being me on the wrong side of separation. I live with a stymied need to care, it leaves me speechless at times as I try to cope with the blocked up, stopped up, channel of my love for my children. If this were a torture it would be banned in the world.

I am the alienated parent, if you know me, acknowledge me, support me but do not let me drown in the endlessness of my suffering. If you live with me, give me the gift of holding me but do not let me drag you to the depths of my despair. Just because I am alienated does not mean my life has ended, remind me, walk with me, show me the autumn leaves and the summer sunshine and breathe for me when the pain becomes too great.

Speak the names of my children, ask me about their lives and the love that I feel for them, never let me forget that I am a mum or a dad. Keep the door open for my children and the path back to me clear. Untangle the weeds and tend the flowers. When you see them coming, hold me up so that my knees do not buckle.

Help me smile and open my arms as they come through the door.