How do we measure the loss to a child when a parent is removed through family separation by one hostile parent acting against the other.
Or the loss that happens when the court officer says ‘no contact.’
As a society we have been trained to measure it in ‘the best interests of the child.’ A phrase which alternately means prevention of conflict is best for the child and a child does not really need two parents to do ok.
In some cases that may well be the case. Where a parent (mother or father) has harmed or could harm a child and where there is a clear benefit to the child to remove them from conflict which is severe and unending (and in that case the removal should be from the parent causing the conflict, not the targeted parent, the one who is usually removed).
We do not measure loss because we do not measure the number of ‘non contact’ recommendations and we do not follow up on how children fare when no contact is ordered.
And we definitely do not follow up on what happens to the targeted parent when the child is surgically removed from their world.
This is what happens to the child.
‘I lost my mother she became a sort of dark shadow in my mind, like an ink stain or a blot on a perfect landscape. She spoiled, in her absence, all of my special days, happy days, glory days and for many years I resented her for that. But then, as I grew older and worked out she hadn’t left me, that my hatred of her and my indignation that I should have anything to do with her had driven her away, I began to wonder what my life would have been like (would be like) if she were not this dark stain on my past, someone I never wanted to talk about in case anyone asked me awkward questions. One day I decided to find her on facebook and I was knocked over by the experience. My loss was measured in the years of her life which were shown, picture by picture, status by status and her words on my birthdays, to my sweetest child, I love and miss you every day..’ That was me. That child was me. And the hours and the days and the weeks and the months and the years that had rolled by since she turned into that dark stain on my internal landscape, were washed away by the realisation of what I had done. And what they had helped me to do.’
And this is what happens to the parent
‘Timeslip, time dialation. Realising the different stream speed between me and him. I still hold onto the boy, the 12yr old who was taken, hoping he holds onto something of me from then. I hold on feeling as though it was yesterday….waiting, time flashing by, waiting, hoping, looking, waiting, slow in the moment, condensed nothingness of 6years, a blink….the wounds still open and raw, waiting, hoping to connect to the boy, to my son that was lost, taken.
For him now 6 years on, to me the painful long stare and blink..for him, filled with so much, such a long time, such a gap, canyon between now and then, so much experienced, so much thought, so much shared, so much lived, so much grown.
I look at what im expecting, to connect with my boy. The reality is he doesnt exist anymore. Im hoping to connect with him, for him to find connection between him now and him then….to me a blink, to him a lifetime.
The difference in me between 12 and 19, the experiences,…the memories, the events, a continuous stream…….and im expecting my attempts to connect with him will resonate from a place we were connected. That 6 years to me….the longest blink. That 6years to Josh,……when i look back at how it was for me…..it was a lifetime.
I watched Interstellar last night. Similar dynamics play out here on earth in cases of alienation. …..you dont have to travel at the speed of light to experience timeslip. The thoughts that have been fermenting in my head about timeslip and six years have been occuring over the 12months as the 5yr waypoint was reached….and also with losing the home i had last year which brought things into more focus.
As each day passed, it may as well have been a year. The longer cases of alienation go on, the less likely they are to be resolved….as each year passed through his teens, it may as well have been a decade.
Now i end up frozen in time, perpetually 39 whilst he grows and ages. One day in the future i may see him again, he could be 64. I will still be 39 in a 90yr old body….my brain turned to sponge as months condensed to minutes, weeks to seconds…..leaving nothing but space and a vacuum.’
I received an email last week, from a dad and step mom who drove past their child recently. She told me that his dad commented that it was the first time he’d actually seen his son in a year – and a year ago he was about 5’4″ and now he is six foot plus. Another way of looking at loss – he has lost his young son; lost 8″ of growing and maturing from pre-teen boy to young adult.
‘They tell you that they will come looking for you one day, how do you tell them that you don’t want one day, you want now and every day. Who will ever recompense that child (and me) for all of the days and nights I was not allowed to be there?’
Who indeed. Measuring living loss, two things that the family courts cannot help you with.
For the sake of the children? Or because for too long we have been told that the only thing that is wrong with family separation is conflict and poverty?
Time to change our thinking.
Living Losses launches on Parental Alienation Awareness Day – 25th April 2015 at the Family Separation Clinic in London. More information at livinglosses.wordpress.com