I am not here to say Happy Father’s Day to you because today is everything but. I am here to say hold on. There is hope at the end of this journey. Today is not the day you get to celebrate and the journey may be a long, hard road but that day will come. Maybe you will get a judge who is fed up with violations of court orders. Maybe your child will get old enough and demand justice. I do not know when it will happen, but the joy at the end of this needs to be enough to hold on.
Although I may not have stood in your exact shoes, I have experienced your journey. The road I walked fighting for access to my step-daughter when her biological mother decided her father and I should no longer be in her life, after being her primary household for three years, was excruciating. I felt like our entire life was on hold as we put every extra dollar into legal fees, extra minutes into documenting all of her abuse, court order violations and otherwise poor behavior and jeopardized our livelihood with the number of times we needed time off of work to show up to court, lawyers offices, CPS offices and the other joys of Family Court.
Today and everyday, I thank God that the struggle is over. I will be spending Father’s Day with both of my children and their dad, but the pain and suffering of those left out will not be forgotten. All I can do is pray, write letters, vote for father friendly political figures and support companies who hold the status of fathers right up there with mothers. I hope that this one day becomes enough to change the tides and put fatherhood back up on the pedestal it deserves. But until then, hold on.
If you are hurting, reach out, especially today. If you believe in God, pray. Tell your story to anyone who will listen. You should not suffer in silence. Write your child letters so they can later feel connected to all of the time they missed. Don’t be afraid to cry. We all process grief in our own way, and what ever that is for you, it will never heal your pain until your child is returned to you, but it will help you through until that happens. You may feel alone, but you are not. There are countless people out there facing the same misery and you can not only help each other through, but join forces to make it end. Separating loving fathers from children is inhumane and unjust. We have to restore our world’s reverence for fathers at the same time we fight for their rights.
Unfortunately, the Father’s Rights Movement seems to be stifled. I have been following, supporting and sharing this group for about 8 years now. I do believe progress is happening, but the momentum is just not picking up. This may be because woman are more social and more likely to share their journey and garner more attention for their struggles. It may be due to the idea that men are from the privileged class and therefore not in need of attention or assistance. Personally, I think until men start speaking up in massive numbers, you will remain mostly ignored. Certain groups will push back and act like your struggles do not matter but do not be silenced. So if you are grieving, do what you need to do, but do not feel like you need to go it alone. If you know someone who is suffering from parent alienation, reach out to them, but also reach out to others who are blind to this terrible epidemic.