22nd February


Sammy & Benji last visit, 18th Feb

Sammy & Benji last visit, 18th Feb

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Today I turned 29 years old. It feels more like 69, just with fewer wrinkles! Since my marriage at 22, events of the past 7 years have robbed me of my innocence and shattered my faith in the many people, institutions and establishments that were supposed to protect us. I wish so much I’d never had to experience so many traumatic events, learn so many painful lessons nor have my eyes brutally opened in this way by such a young age; realities that are not exposed to others in a lifetime. I so wish that I could have gone on living in a cocoon, sheltered from these ugly realities, where terms such as ‘injustice,’ ‘abuse,’ ‘child neglect,’ ‘violence,’ ‘litigation,’ ‘eviction order,’ ‘visitation rights,’ ‘supervised access,’ ‘manipulation,’ ‘parental alienation syndrome,’ ‘gas lighting’ were some kind of foreign language spoken in distant lands, words heard in passing, spoken in  hushed, hurried tones but ones I’d never come into close contact with, nor ever imagined I would.

I’ve always had a penchant for learning new languages but this was a language I wish I’d never been forced to learn. It was a slow learning curve. At first, I didn’t have the vocabulary to articulate it. I was unable to fathom or describe what was happening to me in this other ugly world in a way that even made sense to me, let alone anyone on the outside. In my previous, other world, my mindset was programmed differently. Horrors like these just didn’t occur and when they did, I was totally unprepared and ill equipped to deal with them. Like cancer or some other terrible disease, until you yourself are afflicted, you are ignorant, uninformed of the details, having no use for the terminology, the expressions and emotions that are the education of personal experience.

I’ve had a crash course in subjects I never imagined would touch me. It is only now, on the inside, that I better understand the psychology, the patterns, the signs to set alarm bells ringing; warnings that elude the untrained eye. I have also seen the very best and the very worst in human nature.

This head on collision which destroyed my naive world view is not totally bereft of benefits. Gaining fluency in this new ‘foreign language’ has also deepened my understanding of what it means to be a human being. Experiencing pain from the inside, has allowed me to internalise and fine tune another richer, much sweeter language. Its vocabulary comprises gentle, loving words. Words like Kindness. Empathy. Compassion. Sensitivity.  Understanding. Words which, for me and my children, have now taken on a whole new level of meaning and nuance.

It’s often the case that a new language supersedes a previously learned one. My wish for the coming year is that this second language pushes the former out of the way with a vengeance; that good finally overcomes evil and that justice will prevail. Sammy and Benji cannot speak yet but I hope more than anything that the language they learn and internalise is the latter, banishing their painful experiences of the former to the recesses of their minds.

And of course the best birthday present I could possibly hope for goes without saying. Sammy and Benji, no word in the world is powerful enough to describe my infinite love for you. X








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22nd February — 2 Comments

  1. Eloquent, honest and moving. Beth, you are a gifted writer with something to say to the world. This torching of your soul will leave all what is not good, beautiful or necessary behind and only good will remain. Take heart. Justice and mercy will prevail in Gd’s time. I will do my part as best I can.

  2. So painful and disillusioning – but better and healthier to have seen behind the masks. May you only see good things and hear good news from now on.

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