As I sit here alone on Thanksgiving Day, I am reflecting, recharging, and rejoicing.

Since I divorced a little over three years ago, the holidays have been a particularly painful time for me. This season will be different.

When I chose to end my 15 year union, I had visions of a new and beautiful life for myself. I had a picture in my mind's eye of how it was to play out. All I have experienced since that time has been excrutiating pain, heartbreak, lonliness, fear, and suffering.

I have immersed myself in a search for a better feeling thought in the past few days. Here is what I have found, learned and come to know as a result of that search.

The loss of my boys, was particularly devastating. Even though it has been three years, I always thought I would eventually get joint custody of them. The final custody arrangement was determined a month ago, and I have struggled to come to terms with it ever since. I found the following breif article and it has helped me beyond anything a book or psychotherapy could do.

One of the most crippling life losses is the loss of a child to legal domestic abuse. Routinely, we are approached by women denied access to their children and grandchildren because of the whim of former abusive partners or family members. The pain they bear is beyond words. So, I won't pretend to suggest we can actually capture the depths of their despair in this article. But I will tell you some of what they say and of what I know firsthand.

1) At first, there is the utter disbelief. "How can this be?" they exclaim.

2) Often there is a vacillation between the denial and the waves of rage beyond anything ever experienced.

3) For many, it's a vacillation between disbelief and a sorrow so deep it pulls one to their knees, to the ground wailing in tears and cries from every fiber of their being.

4) The worst part of this experience is the mental blaming they do to themselves and the internalization of the heinous crime perpetrated upon them.

5) Many refuse to let the grieving in and remain focused on their pursuits to reunite with their children or grandchildren.

6) Some remain in the ring of warfare determined not to let go until death due us part.

There is no right or wrong way to be relative to the horrific loss of a child to improper legal maneuvering. There is only the fact-the reality that it is. And it is not uncommon.

I've heard shelter directors from coast to coast claim that at least one battered woman faces this loss at any point in time in each domestic violence shelter.

I have known women say the burden they bear is worse than the death of a child. They declare that death would bring closure; whereas, their loss leaves an open wound that continues to ooze on and on, again and again.

How one copes with this is as individual as those facing it. I walked this path a decade ago. As I'm approaching the ten year anniversary of my breaking free from legal domestic abuse, I will say being on this end is heaven compared to that hell.

The fortunate thing about time is that it allows space for change, for transformation, for growth for you and your estranged offspring. And now, here is the good part. You are always their parent and they know.

My hope for you if you are living this nightmare is that your day will come when you re-unite with your children, as doing so will complete your grieving cycle like nothing else. Trust me, I know.

If you walk this path, I urge you to find ways to heal within. The sooner you do, the more of you will be there available once your little ones come reaching back to you.

The last line says it all. I must heal within.

So I have spent the last two days greiving the loss of my boys, and the life I knew. It has taken me three years to realize I MUST go through this step in order to emotionally move on. And while there will be days I will continue to greive, I will now switch my focus to change, transformation, and growth.

I watched a video the other day with Will Smith. He was talking about building a wall. And how one can not set out to build a magnificent wall. One must only focus on one brick at a time. Focus on lying perfectly, the most perfect brick. Make it soooo very perfect. If you do that, brick after brick, you will acheive a magnificient wall. This hit home for me. I have visions of a beautiful life. Yet, I can not acheive that life, without focusing on making the most perfect moment RIGHT NOW.

It is not about the destination. The JOURNEY is what makes the beautiful life beautiful.

So today I am thankful for the way the Universe has worked in my life. And while there have been times of unimaginable despair in the last three years, I am glad I experienced it. I will be a better person for it.

May we all be thankful for the blessing in our life, both realized and unknown.


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