A DAD’s pain
A series of emails from Father to Son
Jeremy Swanson, Canada May 5, 2011
May 5, 2011, Jeremy to the World:
What can I say? This is how it was and this is how it is. I believe you should all see this. We Dads are never the same again after experiences like this. Just so you all know, the next message he sent was full of accusatory abuse and curse words related to misinformation he got which made him believe I was “Stalking” his Sister my first born.
A few years later he chose to have dinner with me and while I as delighted to be with him and speak to him and hold him briefly, he acted like the stranger he was and is and…
…he NOT ONCE called me DAD.
Not once. I was heartbroken. He and I were once close. Canada’s feminist family law took my once loving son from me. I can and will Never forgive or forget that. Never.
April 9, 2007, Jeremy’s preamble:
I have to bet some people are happy, and I expect some people are even proud to have been a part of this family disaster. Such is the travesty of family law: For shame. And I am but one. And so is my son. How many Dads and their children are having to face this tonight… I know.
April 9, 2007, Father to Son:
My Dear son,
You must have known that your reply would devastate me. You are crushed? What do you think your Father feels like? The past is all I have along with memory. Love stays constant and so does memory. Sadly so does the pain. And I remember it all. I am doomed to remember it forever. But there is more than pain dear son. I cut your umbilical cord and I gave you life. For 13 years I was your Father. I gave you everything. I protected and taught you and provided you with all I could and everything I had. I would have died to protect you. I would die to protect you now. Yet tonight when you addressed your father you did not even address me as Dad. That hurt the most
I have grieved for so long and I have missed you yet now you base your judgment of me on some spurious “guilt trip” based on my rejection of the lies and deceit that took you from me in the first place. No you don’t know what happened and you will never be told-not by those with whom you live or those who share the guilt of having taken you out of my life in the first place. I have been writing to you for years and have never received a reply. Not once. I did not even know if you had received anything I sent. Tonight you are irritated by a fathers love for his son, Someday you will realize that it was nothing in the larger scheme of things.
To be told the truth of why your Father is not in your life would not make you happy. So you will probably never know. However, long after I am gone I will make the documents available for you and your sisters to read so you can determine for yourself which side I stood on and what I did and did not do for you. Someone will make sure you get them. They will tell you that I stood on the side of truth and justice and squarely on the side of my children: All of them.
I would not compromise the lives of my children and the dignity of that life by accepting the dishonesty of family law and the crime that saw you lose your father at the stroke of the pen of strangers you and I did not know. I could not live like that and I was not brought up that way. But I did not surrender to tyranny. Nor would I be a visitor in the lives of my children. I told you the story of the bully and I told you what you had to do when confronted by that bully. It was what my Dad told me. I never let him down and the bully never won with me. There was a time when I would have explained that to you again and you would have understood and agreed completely. I hope you never forget.
Yes I refused to accept all of that and many other things which you will one day come to understand was one of the worst tragedies in Canadian history. You are a victim of it too. An innocent child stolen from your Father by pure evil disguised as law. You and your sisters are some of many but to me you are the prime victims. We childless Dads all feel that way about our own. You might be having an awful amount of fun right now in your life which you call “balance” but there will come a time in this short life when ‘balance’ of life is replaced by a desire for knowledge and truth and a desire to know the past which you now disdain. To me balance is having two parents. You have only been allowed to have one.
Sadly life does not have a fast rewind for any of us son. I found this out in my own life when I wanted to understand and find the truth behind my own father-the granddad you don’t remember. When I did find him I discovered he was just like me. In a relationship with his son not unlike the one I wanted to have with you. It was pure and unfettered and unencumbered by the awful things that have led you to abandon me.
There were years I did not want to know him either. They were strange days. Then came the days of regret and I wanted to say so many things to him and ask him even more. Quite simply I just wanted to tell him I loved him and always had and that I had listened when he thought I hadn’t. That I had smiled and was proud when he thought I wasn’t watching. That I wanted to hug him, but, was afraid to embarrass him. There was so much to say. But he was gone before I knew it and he was gone when time was what I had and when I eventually found the strength and the chance to do it.
In time I will be gone too, as you will be gone for your sons. Such is the brevity of life. It doesn’t cater for mistakes and time squandered unfortunately and we don’t get many second chances. You will find that all out yourself. I have worked so hard and so long for just this contact. Not a day went by over these last years when I have not tried to be your Father and be a positive force in your life. In time you will be truly angered by what people have done to me in order that I remain out of your life, your very sense of justice will be offended. Your loss will be understood then as I know it now.
I can do nothing else but live in the past. It brings me to tears. At night I wake in nightmares which have you calling me on the radio at the War Museum. And I dream of serving you another 10 pancakes on a Sunday morning and I feel your arms around me in a tent at Sharbot Lake-nervous but reassured I was there. I watched you sleep in comfort and security. We hiked together and stood at the top of a hill we conquered together. I was so proud. In my dreams I hear you clattering around behind me with your little hammer and nails hammering two pieces of wood together and proclaiming “I ficksed it Dad” I ficksed it!” I see you in my dreams riding your bike between two poles and feeling so proud of your achievement and knowing I had seen you and was proud too. I see you look for me after scoring your first hockey goal. I remember your bravery at the dentist. I read you stories and told you about snakes and sharks in Africa. Then I tucked you in and kissed you goodnight. And you slept and dreamed as I did as a little boy too. As maybe yours will one day.
Sometimes at night as I lie here I hear your cries at the hospital when they took you from your Mom and I to fix your eardrums. You thought, for a brief few moment, we had left you but of course we hadn’t. We were always there, Just like I am always here now. I remember you shoveling snow with me-just to show me you could do it. I remember your first day of school. You did not know that when I drove away I stopped round the corner and cried my eyes out. You talk of things that are of abandonment yet I never missed a hockey game and I saw you every single day until I was taken from you. You speak of me being out of your life and I remember chasing you around the house and carrying you on my back. Yes I remember it all. I have love and memories of love, And pain, And happiness, You have “guilt trips”.
Yes I remember simple things with so much meaning Andrew. I dream them. They will haunt me now and the memories will always hurt me. One day you will understand how much. My Dad never found the opportunity to write things like this to me. It took the last vestiges of courage for me to do this now. There is so much to say but you don’t want to know. I did everything I did for you and your sisters: For love, As your Dad, Nothing more, and, nothing less. You might want to forget me and leave me out of your life but I will never forget you. I love you my son. I always will. Deep down I know you know I do. Deep down I know you realize I never abandoned you. You know I would never do that. I fought for you too hard and for too long
April 9, 2007, Son to Father:
Happy Easter to you too. Sorry I havent replied earlier I had to really think about what I would say to you. First off, stop trying to guilt trip me, or stir up my emotions by using the past. No one has stopped you from seeing us, you made that choice not us. Maybe there are somethings that I don’t know about, but I do know that you are still allowed to see me, not that I want to anymore. I know you love me and care about me, and you will always be my dad just like I will always be your son. Im at the time of my life where I am happy, and begining to enjoy every aspect of it. You coming back, and writing me messages like these ones are not helping. I dont want you to keep writing to me, not because I dont care for you, not because I dont think you love me or I dont love you, but because I need to have the balance in my life that I just started to achieve…and Im crushed to say its without you in it. This is how I feel. Im sorry.
April 7, 2007, Father to Son:
Happy Easter my dear son,
As I wrote to Kirsten I remember the Hot Cross Buns and the Easter Egg Hunts and Mass as a family and the Roast Dinners afterwards. I remember it all. We were all so happy. Do you also remember little Heathers face? I watched all of you and witnessed your happiness and your delight at being children.
I was so proud to be your Dad. It made me feel so happy. I am so sorry it could not continue. In time you will discover that it was not for any reason that I had anything to do with. I did not want to leave you. If I could be with you now I would be the happiest Dad in the world, And the most tearful. You can never know how much I love and miss you. It’s always been so. You might in the years to come appreciate and understand the pain I am in right now. I am not so sure you will want to know all the terrible things, the lies and deceit that were done in the name of law to make sure you could not be my child any more but that truth will come out one day. There is so much that you do not know as to why I have not been and am not in your life. The truth will shock and surprise you. It will certainly disappoint you.
I can’t help you to understand what happened 6 years ago unless you want to know. But remember I did not leave my place as your Dad willingly. I can’t contact you directly because I don’t know your email address or even if you have one. So I would appreciate it if you would pass my love and Easter wishes on to my little baby Heather. The law does not allow me to speak to her although you are old enough now to speak to me if you want to. In the meantime at Easter I will wait for the knock on the door as I have done for 6 years now. I will also be at Mass at St. Theresa’s on Sunday at 9.00 just as I have done for the same 6 years waiting for my children to be with me.
I love you my son.