My 17 year old son gave up

I wish there were someone to talk to. There probably is, somewhere, but I don’t want to go through the agonizing search to find someone who would be of benefit. I’m convinced most would do me no good anyway. Who among us really, truly cares about others? Maybe it will help if I just find a way to express myself without regard to who and how few actually read this.
I am a 48 year old man, and I didn’t even get to bury my 17 year old son because his mother had him cremated. I got to hold his box of ashes for about one minute. She didn’t think about how it would have meant to us to have a place to return to from time to time to talk to him. This is a woman who stated during the memorial that she is almost glad he is gone because he was “becoming a handful”.
My story is more than just the loss of someone special. I don’t harbor any stupid notions of being unique in my grief, as I realize that death and loss and hurt happens everyday in this world. However, I’m not just sad and hurt. I’m bitter to the point of wanting to kill someone. I won’t kill anyone, but if it were somehow not wrong, and if words could kill, World War three would have erupted from my mouth. I’ve held back, but my thoughts are a volcano in my heart.
My son, Matthew, killed himself by hanging on May 7th, 2013, a few weeks before high school graduation and about a month and a half before his 18th birthday. He and his younger sister have not lived with me since February 2000 when his mother asked that I move out so she could more freely carry on her affair with another man, unbeknownst to me at the time. Don’t think I carry around any bitterness for an ugly divorce. She stopped loving me and in time I stopped loving her. I tried for about 6-8 months to reconcile, but a man wears down fast when he realizes he’s not the first choice anymore. If there were no children involved, I probably would be friends with my ex-wife today.
She took my kids, though, and there was never really a doubt in any sane mind who would be better at raising the kids, except for a disinterested and misguided judge. She struggles with emotional issues that require therapy, and she’s never been able to admit that. She never encouraged a relationship between our kids and myself, even to the point of convincing them that visiting or living with me was some kind of punishment. I can’t help the strong deep-seated feeling that I want her to burn in hell for how she raised our kids.
My son and daughter were just beginning to start enjoying their social lives about three years ago, after having been moved around to about 4-5 different schools. My ex-wife is a gold-digger, and her third marriage (I was the first) finally got her the financial means she has been looking for all her life, but this goal necessitated moving. Because they were starting to have fun with their friends, the every other weekend arrangement with their father was starting to conflict. It doesn’t feel good to go pick up your 13 year old daughter and watch her stomp her feet because she would rather be with her friends. Matthew was more tactful but I could tell how he felt too. One day in 2011 I finally asked Matthew why he preferred to live with his mother. I had been asking him for years to come live with me. He told me that the reason he wanted to continue living with his mother was because she gave him the freedom to do whatever he wanted to do. Turns out, this meant using illegal drugs and alcohol and having sex inside the home because his mother preferred that he do those things under her roof where she could keep an eye on him. If anyone who is reading this agrees with his mother’s methods, please just stop reading this now because you and I are so far in opposite directions on parenting. I am really not interested in your views. At all.
I miss my son. I miss my daughter. My memories of them are good ones. During much of their childhood, I didn’t have a lot of money, but they got whatever I could give. Our weekends consisted of going to the grocery store so we could select what to eat that weekend, watching a movie, going to a park to do some exercise, having them do some reading. I got to cook for them, or we would go to Subway to try to get something healthy. I don’t think I’ll ever understand what went wrong, why my kids stopped being interested in having a father around. I have ideas, but nothing certain. Whenever they were around, they were my priority. That is something that their mother cannot say, who had as a mantra, “I have a life, too!”.
I’m bitter at my current wife, too. We have been married for almost 11 years, and its been a real struggle with her. She has so many good traits, but she never loved my kids. We have had two lengthy separations because my wife and I would fight over my kids. They did not feel loved and accepted by her. Of course she is innocent of all charges in her mind. “Who me? Of course I love them!”. But her actions spoke volumes. After the first separation that lasted 14 months, I could not bring my children into our home for two years because she was “not ready”. I had to take them to my mother’s house for the weekend. After those two years I had to move out again because I couldn’t take it anymore. Those were Matthew’s 12th and 13th year of living, years I consider crucial in reaching him, but he saw no safe family environment with his mother nor with me during that time. His friends became his family.
My son has been dead almost 6 months now, and my daughter is still as disinterested in me as she was before. No reason given. Having a father has never been shown to hold value with her or with her brother. Children need both a mother and a father if possible, and for this my bitterness toward the kid’s mother rages within me. I feel guilty for marrying her in the first place. I had my doubts but continued with the marriage plans because of the expense and planning. My son killed himself, and my daughter will have fears, insecurities, and issues for the rest of her life because of choices her mother made. Her mother should have been the one to take her life, not Matthew. If only you had a chance to know him. I still to this day cannot understand just how popular he was at his school. No group, no class, no clique, no team, no family was immune to his heart. I haven’t spent time with him in three years, and I tear up almost everyday because I miss him. I have missed them since I had to walk away from that little four year old boy and two year old girl in February 2000. I had to watch as my crying 5 year old son was starting to realize that his father would never be living with him anymore. That’s when he started dying.
I have a framed baby picture of my son that I look at and kiss. We let him down. His mother experimented with he and his sister, and she failed. She’s still failing. I had my daughter living with me this past summer for two weeks, but the mother snatched her back. Matthew was a wonderful son to me. I grew up wanting a big family, like I watched on the TV show The Waltons as a child. I can’t have anymore children except to adopt, and the current wife is not in favor of that. So I get to live my life with raising anyone at all. My family name is dead now. Someone told me that one day my children would return back to me, that they would figure out the truth and return to the parent that loved them with actions and not just words. My son didn’t make it back, and I don’t know if my daughter ever will. How did life get this screwed up?

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Oct 16, 2013
My 17 year old son gave up
by: Doreen UK

I wanted to expand on my first post due to lack of space. Let me give you a little insight into my experience.
My husband worked as a carpenter all over the world and our country for over 47yrs. so I had to be mother and father to our 3 children. My husband had a job to do keeping a roof over our heads and food on the table. I threw myself into motherhood becoming Mother and father for the better part of those years. It caused discipline issues for our son. When I told him when Daddy is home he is boss. When he is not I am boss. That sorted out that problem. then into teenage years the children try to rule the roost. I had to put the two older one's in their place. I was in control not them. These control issues with them all stemmed from a father working away from home, and not being available. An absent father but not by choice. I believe a father is important in a son's life especially to teach him how to become a man. So I have had problems with my son also who I don't see anymore and is ANGRY. But we both did our best. I didn't say "I want more out of Life." I never considered myself at all. I PUT MY WHOLE FAMILY FIRST. But I have still had problems with my children. They will never understand the sacrifices my husband and I made for them. So no used feeling guilty. Parents are not perfect. But I am content my husband and I DID OUR BEST.
My sister in Australia had 4 children. Her husband left her and left his 4 children from his first marriage with her whilst he womanised. She was a born mother and took those 4 children and adopted them as her own and fought up for them AS HER CHILDREN even if from another mother. She had to bring them up single handed and tough having no money and 4 breakdowns. But she has survived. She is amazing. She put those 8 children first before herself. SHE ALSO DID HER BEST. In life we can do our best and it can work against us also. Such is life.
Concentrate on the fact YOU WERE THE BEST FATHER YOU COULD BE UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES. And build the rest of your life around that. Try and also look at things from a different perspective. E.G. Perhaps your second wife resents you absorbing yourself with your children and she feels left out. Just a little adjustment may be needed. If you make your wife your first priority and your children next she may change. It will make you a happier person which is why counselling works and benefits in Healing from life's tragedies. I hope life does improve for you and you Heal from your loss's. Especially the loss of your son. There is HOPE if you do the counselling work you will reap rich rewards. I lost my husband of 44yrs. 17 months ago to cancer on May 5th 2012. Who said life is fair. But it is what is. HARD, TOUGH, UNFAIR, full of struggle and hurt. I hope you will be comforted and supported in your grief and that Life will improve with the correct support in the months and years ahead. Best wishes.

Oct 16, 2013
My 17 year old son gave up
by: Doreen UK

You say at the end. "How did life get this screwed up?" Life is tough and Hard and a learning experience. No one goes into marriage expecting it not to work. They try hard but often it may not work. Even the loss of a job can turn the tide on a marriage and be the starting point of everything going downhill. There are many triggers to cause marriage breakdown. Then one party may look elsewhere for LOVE.
The fact your wife had the affair and took your children away from you should have caused you to assess the situation and at least MOUNT A BATTLE for custody if you thought you could have been the better parent, since you say your wife wanted more out of life feeling She had a life too that wasn't all about child rearing.
Because you were away from your children for so long, you bear little responsibility for how they turned out having been deprived of a father figure in their life on a daily basis. All they had was their mother's input. But as mothers always bear the strongest input in a child's life as this is the nature of being a mother she is the one who is the primary caregiver and sets the pattern for how those children turn out. However children are exposed to their environment and if emotionally they are not getting their needs met at home they will look to their peers for support and those peers become their family. In much the same way as many go into gangs at such a time. Because your children were damaged at a young age when their mother took them away from you has caused your children to become insecure. They may have had TRUST issues as a result which has added to their hurt growing up and which may be repressed. Which is why they had confusion in their life.
First thing you should do is see a therapist and try to get help with your anger issues that have turned into deep bitterness which is not helping your present marriage. You also need help coping with the death of your son to suicide. Change your FOCUS off yourself and what was done or not done well. Find the strengths even in those weaknesses. Accept any failings on your part without guilt, remembering your limitations. We all have responsibilities in life and we all have a human nature which says we will fail and often get it wrong. BUT. What went wrong with you and your wife has caused the death of your son and the estrangement of a daughter. Doing the counselling work with a therapist will be painful but also rewarding. You will discover what went wrong and you will also Heal. Either way your life will turn round in a positive way and you will Heal. No use to go through the rest of your life with bitterness. I did this for 40yrs. When I went into therapy. I became a NEW PERSON in just 4yrs. Best experience of my life. I may run out of space so will end now.

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