For three years, I was a father. He was not my biological son, but he was a son to me. Then, my own actions ended that . There is a terrifying hole in my heart where he used to be. There is a wall built around it to shield myself from the pain of missing him. There are no pictures of him in my possession, and even now, I struggle to see his face. The anger at myself for letting him down – for not being a father to him – is sometimes overwhelming, so often I avoid thinking on it. Today I have to think about him.
He is fine, of this I am certain. He’s happy, has a wonderful mommy and he’s surrounded by people who love him deeply.
He is a smart boy and funny as any I have known. He made me laugh more often than he made me shake my head. He would run all the way across the room and crash into my waiting bear hug and knock me over. He’d laugh and we’d roll on the floor and play. He’d want me to grab a broom and run around chasing him like in Harry Potter (I had to be Draco Malfoy). There were few joys that matched looking in on him when he was sleeping. Or taking him to the park. Or kissing him goodnight.
He was the focus of my life for three years. And I miss him more than it is possible to miss anyone – or so it seems. It is a different kind of torture knowing that he is living a life of which I cannot be a part.
News about anyone who hurts their child, or neglects their child, carries an especially sour taste for me. Men who abandon their families (I was asked to leave mine) make me angrier than before. Maybe someday I will enjoy the blessings of fatherhood. Until then, I will share that love as best I can with those around me. But there will always be that space in my heart for a young boy who was my son for a short time.
Today, when you think of your fathers and grandfathers, please take a moment to remember all the men who would love to be with their children today, but cannot.