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The cost of the visit

Even though TAB and I are in the throes of a painful and brutal divorce, even though the kids have no contact with him, I have worked very hard with their grandmother (his mom) to keep a close and loving relationship between her and the children. Honestly, I feel that she and I also have a pretty decent relationship. Given the things that we are finally saying about how her son treated his family it must be pretty gut wrenching for her to deal with.

S went into her place last week over his teacher’s convention and spent a few days with her. In that time TAB called constantly (according to S), and S actually spoke with him one time. They generally don’t have contact at all – by the choice of the children – but TAB knows how to get his attention and was offering to buy him a Patriots jersey.

Right after the phone conversation S started having anxiety attacks. He was texting me and telling me how he was feeling, he closed himself off in his room there and meditated, he did all the things he has been taught to do in order to cope with the panic and anxiety. TAB however, kept calling. S didn’t talk to him again, but just the presence TAB was making was enough to make S feel insecure and afraid. S is afraid TAB will come up here and take him and hurt him. Based on our past experiences, the fear and rage that was in our home when we lived together, I totally understand why S feels this way.

Two days after S came home he sat me down and told me that all of the anxiety and fear that he felt after feeling TAB’s presence so often during his visit had brought back his thoughts of suicide and harming himself. Fuck.

This is the cost of the visit to his grandma’s. A place where he should feel safe and secure – it has left him feeling like his life is in danger. Not just feeling – it has put his life in danger.

The morning after our conversation I was hit with a letter from TAB’s lawyer stating that he was questioning the cost of the therapy treatments I have been getting for S. Even though we have gone to court and I have permission to get treatment, I still am paying lawyers fees to argue about this with the person who is causing the damage to S in the first place. The only thing he has to do is help financially with his children and he can’t even do that.

I wish it was easier for the kids to remain in a no contact situation with him and still maintain a relationship with their grandmother. The after effects of abuse are horrendous and ripple out in so many unexpected ways. Here we are – it’s been two years since we have lived with him, we live two thousand miles away – and my children are terrified that he’s going to show up and hurt us all. I carry those fears as well, I understand exactly why they feel the way they do.

And I wish it was different. I wish our family story was a different one. This is not how I had imagined it at all as we were building our lives. But, this is where we are now. All I can do is keep focused on keeping the kids safe from him and from themselves. S is this incredibly strong and loving ray of light and the fact that he is dealing with this at all breaks my heart.

The cost of that visit was incredible.

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