Tag Archives: Divorce

I Tried To Do What Was Right

Image showing child and two parents arguing.

The fracture of visitation


That word says it all for me.

It’s usually a battle. And I never look forward to it.

I’m ashamed that I feel myself withdraw from my daughter because the torture I go through with her mother over the issue.

It’s NOT right.

I know this.

I am a poor dad for doing so.

“I’m human”, I plead to the masses ready to lead me to the desert of retribution outside the city gates for crucifixion.

“It hurts too much.”

“It’s too much to take.”

And my resolve collapses.

Shame on me.

This week I made a small stride…

“D”(aughter) went to Florida with her mom for 10 days.

She was to return today to spend 10 days with me.

She called last night to ask if she could stay in Florida for another four days.

I told her “yes” and to enjoy herself.

Some Lessons I Learned-

1.   Humility. In the grand scheme of things, “D” is the Lord’s child, not mine. I am merely His earthly representative to guide His child on her earthly journey. This has helped make these valleys of mine, “easier” to traverse. It helps me put things in perspective.

I had to let go of my pride and focus not on what would hurt me, but what would glorify Him. 

This. Can. Be. A. Tough. Lesson.

2.   Selflessness. I had to put someone else’s desires above my own egocentric wants. Was it the right decision? Did it answer the question “What Would Jesus Do”? I have faith that it did.

3.   Anger.  I was able to harness my anger and resentment towards “D’s” mother. This is a struggle I have, thanks to my anger-based personality. Last night, I won in the gladiatorial arena.

4.   Spirit Strength. It was not my inner strength and resolve that enabled me to take the high road. I don’t have that strength.

I am a person of retribution and vengeance.

I have cruel intentions.

I am a person that crumbles to getting even rather than understanding.

Totally opposite of what Christianity teaches, right? Yes, you are correct.

That’s why this situation wasn’t resolved because of my intestinal fortitude. The only reason I was able to traverse this river of Styx was through the Holy Spirit’s power.

Thank you for reading this post, my friend. What are your thoughts and suggestions in this situation? Maybe we could be support buddies 🙂


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Right here, right now, say something to the person who has hurt you the most, beginning with, “I promise to…”

I was recently humbled with another gracious nomination for the Liebster Award.

In it I made a hard proposition to the people whom I nominated –

“Right here, right now, say something to the person who has hurt you the most, beginning with, “I promise to…”

The purpose of my post today is to take that challenge myself and answer the same question. I’d then like to send my answer to each of the people I nominated.

You ready?

I think the person whom I would most likely respond to is my (soon-to-be) ex-wife. For the purposes of this post, and future posts, I’ll call her “E” (for “E”x-wife). Now understand I have a whole (paper) journal dedicated to this subject – a vehicle that allows me to express, process, and move forward. divorce_journal_001
While this is still a sore subject for me because she hasn’t signed the papers, I think my answer to this prompt would be something along the lines of this…

“I promise to…


♦   …forgive you for the emotional trauma you’ve caused me.” This process is going to take a while. It’s been 2 years since I left for the second time, and after an unsuccessful reconciliation.

This is most certainly the hardest part of my travels down this road. It’s also the most significant – this is required as my starting point. A part of extending this forgiveness is that I also need to ask for forgiveness.

I’ve caused tremendous hurt towards her with my words and actions. Things I can’t take back. Things that she will probably remember for the rest of her life.

I said things out of retribution for my hurt.

Out of disgust and malice…a very deep red malice. Not just out of anger, but out of a deep, sickening, black hatred.

I’ve had a hard time letting these feelings go and have been at odds with my faith because my Lord wants me to live a life in accordance with His will.

The things I’ve done have not been in alignment with His will.

          He extends forgiveness to me on a daily basis. I need to get to a point where I can do the same towards others. With the Holy Spirit’s help, I will.

♦   …let go of my anger towards you.” Over time, I’ve been able to do this. Sometimes it flares up at unexpected times and sometimes there are triggers. It has taken a lot of time and separation from the situation to be able to work on letting go of the intense anger I had. It’s similar to taking the boiling pot off the burner.

Not turning down the heat, removing it from the heat.

My personality is anger-based so this has been a double challenge.

I was so angry when I ended things a second time that I wrote the most cruel and heart-piercing things I could think of on our pictures. I threw our wedding album and honeymoon scrapbook in the dumpster and sent her a picture in a text saying, “Trash gets picked up on Wednesday.” I ripped pictures in half and I Sharpied her face out of all of them.



About a week later I gathered everything related to her and crammed them into a metal pail.

I poured lighter fluid on them.

And burned them.

This was the picture I sent her.


About a week after that I was served with an emergency protective order because of the angry texts I was sending to her. I got the point and it actually helped put a halt to my anger, and allowed me to work on letting things go.

I’ll wrap up this section with the following quote…

Buddha quote,

♦   …extend grace.” Life happens and things go awry. Are those moments intense and emotional in the moment? Absolutely. Do they matter in the grand scheme of things? Sometimes. I’ve learned that a war is comprised of a series of battles. Some of those battles you lose in order to win the warthe really big objective you want to achieve. Grace is that undeserved understanding and mercy, understanding, and sympathy that will allow me to traverse the obstacles I face.

During these times of tension I will try my best to extend grace, because it was extended to me.

Of course this is not ALL I have to work on, but it is a solid beginning.

Baby steps, young Padawan…

Baby steps.

Thank you all for taking your time to read this post. My call to action is that you take the same challenge and also use it as a blog post. If you do, would you also link it back to surviving the specter so I can read and comment?


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Who is Chelise and Why is She One of My Angels? [GUEST BLOG]

Trigger Warning – this post discusses the events of the night I hanged myself. Please do not read it if this is a trigger. 

Guest blogger, Chelise and the author of Surviving the Specter.

Our guest blogger, Chelise and I, at her birthday party, two months after I attempted to take my life.

Several weeks ago I started asking fellow bloggers if they’d guest post for me and it’s been nothing but an enjoyable experience for all of us. If you missed the first two posts in this new series please read Who is Sassafrass the Feisty? and Who is Morgueticiaatoms?

Today I’d like to introduce the angel who saved my life last September when she took me out of the belt I was hanging from for 45 minutes. You can read the long version or the shorter version of that night when I decided to take my life.

Her name is Chelise (pronounced shuh-lease) and I’ve mentioned her before in my posts. She is a kind and selfless person, deeply devoted to the Lord, and does anything to help those in need. While I was in the hospital, she even paid my water bill so it wouldn’t get shut off. We go to church together and we play Rock Band together, along with my girlfriend who was also there that night.

Though she is not a blogger (yet…) she has a style of writing that I just couldn’t keep to myself. So without further hesitation, here is what Chelise had to say.

UPDATE: Since Chelise submitted this post to me, she has started blogging as of last night! Please visit her site and welcome her at She will be blogging about boundaries, codependence, and relationships, and her Faith.

1.   How long have you been blogging?

I don’t have a link to a personal blog but as far as how to find me….probably at the nearest Sushi joint! Haha

2.   Where do you get the inspiration/ideas for your blog posts?

I don’t blog, but if I did it would probably be from my past experiences and my growth through hard times.

3.   What mental conditions (“illnesses”) do you survive with? E.g., depression? PTSD? anxiety? self-harm?

I can’t say that I suffer from genetic mental illness but like most of us, I haven’t had the easiest life…I’ve just learned to cope and grow from it. That being said, I’ve experienced serious situational depression from childhood trauma, which has long since turned into estrangement from my mother and most recently a divorce after being married for 15 years.

4.   For each condition, what is at least one coping mechanism you have found to be successful?

There is only one for me…God. If it were not for me turning to God and refueling my faith I don’t know where I’d be. After my husband left me, then shortly being involved with a sociopathic rebound boyfriend, the silence from my mother and the downward spiral of my job because of the previous three issues just mentioned…I felt I had nothing….until I realized I had everything and that was my Creator. I turned to Him for comfort, healing and peace and ultimately He has given that to me plus so much more. If I’m allowed to name a close second, it would be my friends who have essentially become my family. They refuse to let me fall and I know within each and every one of them resides a value and strength that I hold dear to my recovery every single day. That again, ties back to God. He allowed each of them to cross my path during healing process and for that I’m grateful.

5.   Do you have a personal story you would like to tell? One of success? One of growth? A story that tells about your rough stuff?

The catalyst of the “rough stuff” in my life centers around my mother, unfortunately. I’m not lucky enough to have a healthy mother/daughter relationship. I recall much of my growing up a painful experience because I had to learn to survive at the hands of what was supposed to be my protector, but essentially was an abuser. I have enough compassion today to realize that “hurting people, hurt people” so it was more about her than me. To this day, although a recovering alcoholic, my mother and I have a very toxic relationship so I choose to love her from a distance. I have forgiven my mother and learn to accept the love from those who have come into my life as “adopted mothers” and who have graciously accepted me into their family. One whom I am most grateful for, Chris’s mother….my NorMa…stands for Northern Mama, haha. God puts those in our life that we truly need in order to heal and grow from past hurts. God has picked roses from his garden to give to me to help me on my journey. I feel that I have survived a lot in my 40 years….a rough childhood (which I’m finding is common more and more these days), a divorce as well as loss of friends and family. That is life and it happens but you either see the lightning in the storm and become afraid or you let the lightning illuminate your path to move forward. It’s all about perspective.

6.   From your experience, what three pieces of insight/wisdom can you give to others surviving with mental illness?

♦   As mentioned above, I believe strongly in having a relationship with God to get you through the day to day “stuff”.

♦  I sought counseling just to be able to talk things out and allow a professional help me sort out my feelings and all that I had been through.

♦  Friends – this is the staple during those inner battles we all face. To have at least three close friends you know you can call on is pivotal. Do I know that I can call on at least three people that are closest to me and they will be there anytime of the day or night? Yes and I am blessed. Even if you have just that one friend that stands out above the rest….it’s important to have someone. Don’t get locked inside your head. Reach out. Talk. Ask for help. Chances are….those friends are eager and willing to get you out of a dark place and not think twice.

7.   Is there anything else you would like to add?

I’m sure many of you have read Chris’s account of his suicide attempt on September 14th.  I’d like to share with you my account….as I was one of his friends that received his text that night and found myself removing the belt from his neck.

That Sunday was an “off” day for me as I recall. Just a low point for whatever reason…most likely memories from my failed marriage….or a fight with my mother…it seems so insignificant now. I withdrew and shut my phone off after I’d gotten home from church. I had it off all day. I recall spending time reading The Word and praying for God to show me significance in my life. I was struggling that day and I know my quiet time with God helped but I was still questioning what my purpose was in life. Work comes early for me so I remember heading to bed around 10pm. Before I fell asleep I decided I really needed to turn my phone back on.

10:12pm…”Do you have sleeping pills? I want to die tonight” was the text that came in from Chris. My immediate reaction was not to text back but to call him at that moment. As the phone rang with no answer I jumped out of bed and got dressed. Left a message and called again. I don’t remember how many times I tried to get him to answer but with each unanswered call I knew in the pit of my stomach that this was not good. The friend that was always there for everyone else was needing help that night. What would normally take me 45 min to get to his house took me 20. I never quit calling hoping he’d get sick of the ringing and just answer. Didn’t happen. I arrived to a locked door and very loud music blasting through an open window. Shades were drawn and it was dark.  As dark as the lyrics to the song that played in a loop over and over. An upstairs neighbor had a key to his apt and she let us both in. As his neighbor called 911 I walked toward my friend to do my best to rescue him from the mode he chose to ultimately leave this world. My hands shook so bad as I grappled to get the belt loose from his neck. I acted out of the strength and lack of fear that God had given me at that moment. Nothing else mattered….Chris may not have known anyone was there to save him but we were not going to let him die.

The coming days were roller coasters of emotions for all involved. I remember the next day staying home from work and camping up at the hospital where he was taken. I was in some state of shock but functioning nonetheless. He was restrained for his own safety and completely out of it for days. One day at a time he slowly came around and I was one of many visitors that came to support him. He was loved and I think to this day he’s fully aware of that.

Even though rough patches still come from time to time he knows he can count on several friends for help in a crisis.

Depression is serious. It takes over and will completely consume you. My feeling is this….never take for granted those people that are important. There may not be a tomorrow. Never EVER assume someone is just “crying for help” and not serious….you could be that one person that allows tomorrow to come and be given a second chance.

And finally…never assume God doesn’t have a purpose for you in life….I asked to be shown what it was for me and that night my purpose was to be a lifeline and the best friend I could be and for that I’m truly grateful I could be His soldier to fight on the front lines for one that was wounded.

Again, thank you Chelise for being a guest blogger and taking your time to write this wonderful post! 

Readers, do you have a comment you’d like to add? Or a question for Chelise? Please post them in the Comments section below. I know she’d love to hear from you.


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