Day One

A year ago I started journaling about a crucible period I was going through, as I experienced “pseudo-single-fatherhood” while caring for a convalescing partner.

Five months ago I learned that this was just a practice round; that my life was going to be changing in a way I had not seen coming.

Today, after 17 years, my life without a partner begins. Today also begins 10 months of true single fatherhood, as my former partner reassembles her life in another state.

I’m scared. I’ve been scared, every day, since I found out. But more than anything, today I feel the loneliness. I feel the loss of having someone to check myself against, to back me up, to pick up the slack when I’m exhausted. Most of all, someone to tell me at the end of the day that I’m known, I’m seen, that it’s all worthwhile.

I’ve been running from being that person for myself for as long as I can remember. Now, finally, belatedly, I have to learn to be my own foundation.

I’m alone with four kids in a place where I have no family, no close friends. Money has once again become an issue as well. It’s scary and exhausting to think about.

But I don’t think I can treat this as another crucible, another forced slog through pouring rain. Crucibles have an end. This is just life now, and a life lived as a death march isn’t a life at all.

There is a narrative where this is my life coming apart; everything I built crumbling. But my kids need their life with daddy to be more than a slow-motion train wreck. I need my life to be more than that.

I can’t sustain myself on scarcity and loss. This life must be generative if it is to be anything. Now, more than ever, I need more love, more joy in my life. I need to give more than ever before; and in giving, expand.

So here I am. Ahead is wilderness, but it is mine to claim. My face is turned to the sun, and I am moving forward.

Looking out at the Smoky Mountains at morning

View from Look Rock, 2017-10-19

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  1. Your attitude toward this seems exactly right. I don’t know what else to say. This sounds incredibly hard, and like you’re handling it exactly right.

  2. No one can be all that for oneself, alone, up against such a load. It’s inhumanly possible. Anyone would be scared, but you’re not alone. Anyone who has been through hell and back, and witnessed your journey, is right there with you, with immense respect and pride in what you’ve attempted in good faith to build for yourself and your family. Few people would have had the guts and integrity to aim so high, and achieve so much good. It is still worthwhile, just much more difficult right now to see your way forward. In time you will find your way, one step at a time.

  3. I almost split from my wife last year and it was a very difficult thing. We have a young child, too, so any separation is particularly painful, but focusing on the children really helps to keep you centred on what is important. All the best, and take care.

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