Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The truth behind my absence

Dear Zach and Sophie,

It’s been 27 months since I last saw you, talked to you, hugged you or had any contact what so ever.
This next post may be difficult for you to read but I’ve needed to write this out since I started this blog and the reason behind it is for you to know both sides of your story. The most important thing that I want you to understand without any doubt is that I did everything to give you stability and a chance at a normal life. I never left you, I am right here it’s just you don’t know it, you’re not allowed to.

What happened between your mom and I had nothing to do with my love and devotion for you. Our marriage had ended and someone had to leave the house so I did. I left the Burlington house so that you could remain in your home and not have to move or leave your friends and school, be able to keep the cats and your rooms and everything that made your home a place of safety and security. I left everything behind for you two, the house with everything in it and all the money we had invested was left to your Mom so that your lives would not change, or be even more affected than it was dealing with the pain and confusion of divorce. When I left the house I was broke, not a penny to my name, I had to sell the only things I took with me, my motorcycles, as well as some personal belongings just to scrape by in a tiny bachelor apartment just to make sure I never missed my child support payments and I can honestly say I never did, not once, not ever! It made it very hard for me to live, pay rent, pay bills and buy food and there were a few times when I had to borrow money to pay for gas just so I could come and visit you. I did it without hesitation because I love you and wanted to be with you when ever your mom allowed it. There were times that I missed out not because I didn't want to be there but because I was never informed.

Zach, do you remember when I left our home and my “friend” Simon Moon (aka Si, Deadlord, Mr Black, Damien Black etc.,) moved into the house almost immediately after, the next time I had you for a visit you said to me ‘why is your friend Simon sleeping in Mommy’s bed?’. It was very hard to hear that coming out of your 7 year old mouth, your mom never gave you and Sophie time to adjust. I had called Simon a few weeks earlier and told him that your mom and I separated and was hoping to visit him if I could save some money. I was upset and needed a different perspective, some time to regroup. I never heard back from him.  He always claimed to be a friend, a "bro" but he is far from that, he is and always will be a liar and a cheater. He moved into the Burlington house, our house and soon took over everything. There were a lot of people (friends and family) very angry with Simon and wanted to hurt him but I stopped them because I knew that would not do any of us any good, for you to witness something like that would be bad, besides I’m not a violent person and choose to live without that kind of anger in my life.
I know he is your legal guardian right now but I can honestly say if I ever found out that he hurt either one of you I don’t think I’d have the same control now that I had then. He can never lay his hands on my kids. What he does with your mom is their business but my kids are my business and you are still my kids no matter what has happened! I will always protect you. I’m not writing this to bad mouth your mom, that’s not who I am I’m here to give you perspective, to give you facts so that you can come up with your own educated conclusions about why you have not seen me or are allowed to have any contact with me until you reach the age of 18.

When Simon Moon moved in to your home he was unemployed was living off the generosity of your mom and the child support that I paid your mother every month. He convinced your mom to sell the house in Burlington (your home) to move to his hometown in Flamborough. I left your mom with a lot of equity in that house easily over $100 000.00 so when your mom decided to sell that house later in life she would have a decent nest egg for you two. Where did that money go and why would she put Simon on the title of the house? That money was left as your safety net and your mom gave what was rightfully yours to him and for what? A house half the size in the middle of  nowhere with no air conditioning, rooms so small that you  had to sleep in the basement and not to mention the amount of work that place needed... it must have cost her a lot, not to mention the worst part, you were removed from your friends and schools and community all because that's what Simon wanted. He still didn't work and your mom paid pretty much everything, unless Simon's Dad helped out which I imagine he had to at some point.

Zach, they sold your drums and dirt bike, did they buy you a new one? Did they give you the money from the sale of the dirt bike? It was a present from me. What happened to the cats? They took your cats to the pound (and told you they got lost) when your mom knew I would have taken them. I loved those cats and they would still be home with me if she just told me she was getting rid of them. Simon Moon (Deadlord) orchestrated most of what has happened to you and Sophie through your mom. He doesn’t work for a living and if he does get a job it's never for long, there's always an excuse whether it be health problems or he's getting money from his Dad. He lies about everything kids and one day you'll know what I mean. He lives off of the kindness of other people, his Dad bails him out when he runs low and unfortunately he’s got your mom trained perfectly so she’s now working harder than she ever should.  I'm sure Bill is pitching in every once in a while too and thank goodness for it, he's too generous for his own good, he's a good man. And that’s not right! But I guess that’s what she wanted... it could have been very different if she let me help her. All I ever wanted was to have you in my life and I would have done anything for you but I was not allowed to be in your lives.

 I wanted your mom to meet a good man, someone you could respect and someone who would bring something positive into the relationship and into your lives but she picked the worst possible person, a man that convinced her to never have you kids see me again because as long as I was in the picture he couldn't do what he wanted.. She never had a chance to get to know the real "Si Moon" before giving him financial and emotional control of her life, but I bet she knows now. Your mom told me after we separated that  'I was never good enough to be your father' but I was good enough to give her money… that was my reality. My time with you was extremely limited and at times I wasn’t even allowed to see you or told of your sports games, events or milestones in life and all this time you must have thought that I just didn't care enough to show up! How awful you must have felt but please believe me, I was never informed even when I asked about your games... nothing. You weren't asked to come to the phone when I called, she said you didn't want to talk to me... I still don't understand why your mom went against our court order for visitation rights and child support I never went against our agreements, I did everything to make her happy with the outcome of our divorce. She was just so hateful towards me and yet I thought she loved Simon and had moved on with her life????

When I had that bad car accident and hadn't received my benefits (income) I explained to your mom that I would be a little late with child support that month but only by a week maybe 2 at the very latest. She agreed to work with me and everything was fine but then like someone with split personality she turned on me and immediately filed with the Family Responsibility Office so they would garnish my work wages or seize my bank account.  I didn't have wages that was the point! Failure to pay immediately would result in freezing our bank accounts (which wasn't fair to Angela, most of our money was hers at the time and she helped pay along with Grandma so I wouldn't  lose my license or go to jail for failure to comply). When your mom filed with the FRO she lied about everything, the amount I owed her stating that I was in arrears for months of child support and about daycare which neither one of you were attending anymore. It was an outright lie! I was going to be late that one month and I advised her ahead of time, she said it was okay... what changed??? I had to borrow money again, but I did and paid her in full and never ever missed a payment, why would she be so cruel and deceitful? This was not the person I knew for 11 years… I used to think she was a good mom and always spoke highly of her parenting, you can ask anyone until all this happened, I don't believe that anymore something has changed and she has put Simon Moon in front of you two. Anyone who puts their boyfriend ahead of their children is not a good mother. She had changed and was hateful, using the two of you against me to hurt me and that in turn would hurt you.

Zach and Sophie what I am saying to you can be backed up. I have proof of all that transpired in the years leading up to October 2007. I filed everything away from emails to legal documents from the FRO, lawyers letters and a journal I kept because I knew that as soon as Simon was in the picture that one day she would never let me see you again and that’s exactly what happened. We even have some things about Simon you may not want to know about, he hasn’t always been faithful to your mom and has said some hurtful things about his life with you and your mom it may be all a joke to him but I don't find it funny. I can back up everything I have told you with hard evidence, even close friends and family will testify to what happened and I will show you should you ever want to know. We have emails, msn conversations and much more. Grandma Lanctot will tell you if you ask her but she'd rather you hear it from me.

In July 2007 I met with your mom so that we could arrange a more peaceful and practical way of handling visitations and child support. I wanted to spend more time with you and things were really bad at that time and I was sick of fighting with her and seeing you two upset. She would say very nasty things in front of you two and that wasn't right. I was paying for extras on top of child support like daycare that you and Sophie did not attend ballet and sports that you kids were not even enrolled in and she knew it. All I wanted was to change the payments to reflect my income and your needs and most importantly so that I would directly pay for your activities and sports and toys myself because I knew the money wasn’t going to you kids it was going to her tattoo addiction and keeping Simon from getting a job. She said that my money was pittance and that she didn't need it... so why fight so hard to get more? Made no sense what so ever, but as soon as Simon took legal responsibility over you kids I found out she made him get a job.

I wanted to understand why she was lying to the FRO and our lawyers, why she wasn’t allowing me my rights according to our court ordered agreement and why she was with-holding vacation time with you two from me. I was never allowed to have you for more than a couple of nights so taking you on a trip was out of the question.

 I told her I was getting married to Angela and that we had bought a house in Nova Scotia... that's when she changed her tune, I mean she should have been relieved that I was in a stable relationship with someone who loves you. Angela fell in love with you two and wanted the chance to be a good step mom like Simon was your step dad. All we wanted was to make peace, to spend more time with you two which by court order was my right but she absolutely refused (I was advised to have the whole conversation on tape so I recorded it knowing she might threaten me or blackmail me somehow... I simply don't trust her anymore). I wanted to have you for a few weeks at summer and March break, take you on vacations with me and Angela and have you for more time at Christmas as well as more weekend visits I don’t understand what was so wrong with that? She was okay with taking all of my money but not allowing me to be in your lives, to be your father?

I was squeezed right out of your lives. She had every intention of keeping me from you and Sophie and sure enough I knew it right there and then when she told me that Simon was going to adopt you… I can’t begin to tell you how devastated, angry and confused I was. My lawyer said that even if I didn't sign my rights over she could still keep me from ever seeing you again.

The parental alienation had begun long before this meeting had taken place. You were already exhibiting signs of severe stress but Sophie seemed okay, she was so young but it was clear that you were both being fed a lot of lies about me. Zach your mom said you were already seeing a psychologist and the last father's day we had together you were very cold and angry with me... you told me you forgot to make me a card but I know that you were defending your mom by giving it to Simon. I know that you were discouraged to celebrate special days with me... you didn't even seem like the same boy. Your personality was changing to an angry and hurtful child and I know it's because you were being made to choose and you choose your mom and Simon. It's okay, I understand why you did... it's the psychological abuse that happens when one parent alienates the other. It's text book reactions and I now know why you acted the way you did.

 I was heart broken and I couldn’t believe what your mom was going to put you through, but if you’re mom and Simon were going to use you as pawns in some sick game to hurt me I wasn’t going to play. You mean more to me than that! That was the end of her manipulation and the end of you kids being torn between 2 families.

So there it was the hardest and most painful decision I would ever make in my life but I did it with love and thought it would bring stability to your lives. I thought that maybe if I let Simon be legally responsible for you and make him truly committed to you and your mom, your lives would change for the better and be happier. Are you? I hope to God you are! I wasn't going to put you and Sophie through years of the family court system, having you both standing in court and having to see therapists, social workers, doctors and having to feel guilty because they would make you choose between the two of us… that’s what would have happened. It was bad enough that someone had called the Children's aid on your mom and Simon... what was going through her head??? Thankfully the CAS contacted me and told me that it was minor and that hopefully your mom would clean up her act now that she was in the system.

It would have been horrible for you both to go through custody battles and I wasn’t willing to do that to you, I love you too much to put you through the psychological war games your mom and Simon would put you through if I fought for your custody. I should have never given her custody to begin with! That was my mistake and I own it!

Either way you would always think that I abandoned you because your mother never stood up to her part of the agreement, she blocked my calls, I wasn’t allowed to talk to you at Christmas or on birthdays, when I sent gifts they were returned so that’s why Grandma started taking them for me. You would always hate me but at least by making Simon man up and take responsibility for his actions you wouldn't have the additional pain of being ripped apart by the Ontario Family Court system. I made sure that I was the "bad guy" so you kids could have at the very least a chance of a normal life.

Did you ever know that I tried calling? I'm legally allowed to contact you by way of phone calls, letters, sending gifts etc, and your mom was supposed to keep me updated on the milestones in your life or if there were any health problems but again she failed to live up to the agreement. I would have still been financially responsible even though by law I wasn't supposed to pay child support since Simon was going to be your legal guardian, I still wanted to contribute and open a trust fund in your names that way I could make sure the two of you actually got the benefits of child support instead of Simon getting the benefit of living for free off your mom and my support. It was never about the money you must know that and I can guarantee that's what your mother told you and everyone else.

I want you to know that I didn’t make this decision without counseling. I did speak with a family lawyer specializing in these cases and I did a lot of soul searching talking to parents and adults that have gone through divorce and Parental Alienation and in the end I was told I did the best thing I could for you both at the time. I can only hope that I did. Not everyone understands what I did nor does everyone agree, but not everyone knows the pain you kids were experiencing and were witness to it like I was and Angela too.

I wanted to give you peace, a normal life without the anguish of custody battles because it would have been ugly and drawn out for years to come. I didn't want to make you feel alone struggling to chose sides because that's what your mom was trying to do... make you pick a side and that's a horrible thing to do to your own kids. So I picked for you... I would be the "bad guy" and hopefully in time you would begin to heal and move on leading a semi-normal life because let's face it you will have scars from your experience and I needed to put an end to creating new ones!

I have never given up on you and never will. I’m waiting for you. This is why I have started this blog so that you know that I think of you every day and hope that you have happiness in your life. That I never stopped being your Dad or that I have abandoned you... I'm just waiting until you are allowed to think for yourselves and seek out answers to the many questions I know you will have.

I’ll never stop loving you and will always keep an eye on you even if it has to be from a far. So now I wait until you're 18, that's when I can legally seek you out and the second you turn 18 I will be there and I know you will have a lot of hateful feelings towards me but I won't give up on you two. NEVER!

I Love You,
Dad

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