To you, the outsider, the one trying to help, figure her out, understand her pain, here’s what a noncustodial mom needs from you.
I get emails every day from other noncustodial moms and I cry as I read each one of them. While we live in different cities, states and countries and our custody battles and life experiences differ to incredible degrees, there is one common trait every “please help me” email shares: deafening tears and their associated feelings of hopelessness.
The defender that I am, I want to bottle up their pain, throw away the key, hold them close and tell them that everything is going to be okay. But that wouldn’t necessarily be the truth. Because it’s not always going to be okay.
Truth is: It’s going to be hell for a while. Possibly a long while.
Even if we make the daily conscious decision to live contentedly in our unsexy and unconventional circumstances, we still experience the agony and heartache of our loss on an almost constant, second-by-second basis.
Reality doesn’t just disappear. It may shrink, but it’s always present. I know you know this.
We live in a world ripe with forced parental alienation, rejection, injustice, repetitive abuse, instability, poverty, fear, failure, shame, guilt, regret, and really.. the list could go on.
A lot of our days are spent with forced-happy smiles for the show, but with stone cold hearts that have been tortured and lives that have been ravaged by complex forces of power, abuse of authority and extreme cases of narcissism and inflated egos.
We are trapped inside of our nightmares.
Problem is: Waking up, wiping the sleep from our eyes, shaking the fear and replacing it with new hopes for our day is nearly impossible because of the invisible anchors that have been eagerly chained to our ankles by an individual, or individuals, who are violently hellbent on throwing us to the sharks – with pleasure, yet again.
So if you know of a noncustodial mom, I pretty please beg these things of you:
PLEASE give her your sleeve if you see a tear roll down her cheeks with a fluid avalanche in tow.
PLEASE give her your smile if you see her without.
PLEASE gently guide her by the hand if she is too scared or anxious to walk into the sunshine alone.
PLEASE shelter her with your umbrella of companionship as her torrential downpour continues.
PLEASE whisper words of encouragement, unconditional love and support into her fractured spirit.
PLEASE don’t judge her before you know her side of the story, not the story that’s been told to you by others.
PLEASE don’t turn a cold shoulder or stab her in the back. We have enough bleeding wounds already. Trust me.
PLEASE don’t be a society leech and fall obediently in line under the heels of those who believe “noncustodial moms” must have done something so certifiably demonic and looney to have “lost” her kids. Absolutely, absolutely, abso-friggin-lutely not true.
PLEASE don’t lie to her and tell her that you will call, or write, or text, or help when you have no intention of doing so. Suicide is real and it threatens to take us daily. Sometimes you are the only reason we are still hanging by a thread onto this so-called life we have to endure.
PLEASE… just be our friend, our chum, our ally, our homeboy or homegirl, our sidekick, our secret, our little slice of heaven in the midst of our hell.
We aren’t freaks, psychos, monsters or boogeywomen.
We are humans, just like you.
We require oxygen, just like you.
We bleed red (and blue – go KY!), just like you.
We hurt, just like you.
We want to be happy, just like you.
We want our lives to matter, just like you.
We don’t ask or expect you to understand, because you won’t unless you’ve walked in our shoes.
All we ask is that you stand beside us as you would want us to stand beside you in your time of need.
That’s all we need – to know you see us, to know you care. Because 98% of us didn’t choose to be where we are.