A Weight Has Been Lifted

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Posted by Heartwarmers4u on September 20, 1998 at 08:22:09:

This true story was sent to me through a service known as Heartwarmers4u [link below]:
Doug Showalter

Dear HW4u:

Almost 13 years ago, I was forced to file for divorce after a 10-year marriage that was physically, mentally, and sexually abusive. My husband at the time always threatened me that if I ever filed for divorce from him, he would see to it that I would never see my two children again. He was true to his word and on Christmas weekend he had taken my daughter (8) and my son (3-1/2) to another state to spend Christmas with their grandparents; his parents. I had already filed the papers for divorce, we were living in separate houses and he left me in charge of our jointly-owned business while he spent Christmas with the children. Needless to say, he was good to his word and returned home without the children. He had them hidden out with relatives in another state unbeknownst to me.

As it turned out, it took nearly three long years before I finally signed the final divorce papers because I didn't want to sign anything until I knew where my children were. I had talked to several lawyers during this time and each gave me basically the same story: possession is 9/10ths of the law. He had the children, we weren't divorced legally yet, and there was nothing I could do about it. The longer he had them, the less likely any judge would end up giving them to me after we did sign the final papers. It was the worst nightmare I've ever lived through and no one could possibly know the hate that I had stored up inside me that grew larger with every passing day.

I eventually moved to another state to gain employment, remarried after three years of waiting to sign the final divorce papers because I knew I had to move on with my life no matter how unsettled the other situation continued to be. By some fluke, my husband and I moved to yet another state, and discovered, quite by accident that my ex-husband was remarried and living in the same town we had just moved to! Both my children were there with him with some of his wife's children and one of their own, also.

My husband and I maxed out several credit cards to retain a lawyer and we took him to court to try to gain visiting rights. I knew after three years of never even seeing me, that that was all I could hope for. After a year of court battles, we were granted visitation every-other-weekend for a few hours. Then my "X" turned around and sued me for child support at a time when my husband was laid off from work with 30 other men, we were penniless and our lawyer ran for Judge and won, so he left us high and dry with no way to retain another lawyer.

The court system gave me three choices: (1) pay the child support (2) go to jail if I did not pay the child support (3) sign parental termination papers. I was forced to sign parental termination papers because I couldn't pay, and I wasn't going to go to jail for him or any one else. I had two older children from my first marriage and I had to be there to take care of them---going to jail wasn't an option. We were forced to move back to my home state and home town and in with my parents while we were forced to file for bankruptcy and look for jobs. And still without my children!

From the time I filed for divorce and my children were taken from me until I came to the realization of what all the hatred was doing to me took 10 long years. I had become an alcoholic during that time and every day was a down-ward step into a bottomless pit full of the most dark, foreboding hatred known to man (or woman). I had been approached by someone who knew of my situation while I was drinking away yet another day of my life. He made me the offer that if I paid him $300 he would "take care" of my "X" so that I would never have to worry about him again. For about three minutes I seriously contemplated this situation. It was at this time that it finally hit me just how far I'd been taken down by my hatred over the years. It hit me so profoundly, that it nearly took my breath away. It was that day that my life started to turn around and head upwards.

The process of "letting go" of the hate took about three years. Every single day was the worst struggle of my life, but I KNEW I had to accomplish this thing or else I wouldn't live to see another year.

As I was on my journey upwards, the daughter that I lost so many years ago left her father's house at the age of 16 and got on a bus and traveled to the state that I was living in. She was 8-years-old when she was taken from me, but old enough to pretty much see what had gone on. She came to live with me and my husband, somehow knowing that the lies she'd been told about my not ever loving her and having abandoned her and her brother simply couldn't be true. Thank God for retribution! It is true that time heals all wounds.

She has been with us for four years now. She's a beautiful 20-year-old who has had a row to hoe dealing with all the muck that has been dealt to her, but she's learning to overcome just like me. And the hardest part of my day is continuing to say good things about her father and his wife, instead of instilling in her a hatred that will destroy her, also.

Perhaps having had to go through all that we have, it will have made us stronger and closer together than we would have been otherwise. Who knows? Only God will reveal these things to us as time goes by and we work every day to improve ourselves and keep those bad, hateful feelings from being part of our life. What a weight has been lifted not to carry all that garbage around any more! It is true that hate will destroy your soul and your physical health in short order.

Thank God for forgiveness!

Renie, from Arizona

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