Direct Answers – Epitaph

Epitaph

Last week my ex-husband died of an accidental drug overdose. We have a son, 10, he had not seen in three years by his own choice.

There were visitation problems. Sometimes my ex didn't show up. Once he couldn't find his car, showed up drunk and I wouldn't allow him to take our son. Then there was the time he took our son for 12 hours and didn't feed him once.

And of course the time he put our son on his Harley with no helmet. Thankfully there was no accident but the child suffered a second degree burn on the hot tailpipe. Nobody called me and my ex did nothing for the burn. The bike was forbidden. My ex knew that but went against my wishes.

When I attended counseling sessions with my son, the counselor suggested we get his father involved. He agreed. We set up the appointment. The day of the appointment he called and told me with his new girlfriend he had his life exactly the way he always wanted.

He said he didn't have time for our child and wished to give up his parental rights. If I got
married, he said, my new husband could adopt the child so he would be free from paying child support.

I asked him to write a letter saying exactly that. He didn't. Now I regret not trying to force the issue somehow.

My problem? Not only am I trying to help my son through the death of a father he hadn't seen in so long, my ex's mother keeps insisting I wouldn't allow her son to see his son. Of course, that is what my ex told his family.

The night she called to tell me he died, those were the first words out of her mouth. I swore on my life and my child's life this was not true, but I didn't think it was the time to discuss the issue. Yesterday she called and started over again about how much my ex loved his son and what a horrible "misunderstanding" it all was.

I'm still trying to bite my tongue because it has only been a week since his death, but my
patience is wearing thin. I don't want to hear this for the rest of my life. Most importantly, my son doesn't need to hear it.

My ex-mother-in-law is not the one who had to pick up the pieces of my son's broken heart after his dad said he would no longer visit. She doesn't know the truth. Now the only person who could set her straight is dead.

Given the fact her son died from drugs, shouldn't something be clicking in this woman's head that maybe it wasn't all me?

~ Shannon

Shannon, there are three reasons your ex's mother doesn't want to believe the truth.

First, as modern psychology has proven, we normally believe the first story we hear, which is why lies and negative campaigning work so well.

Second, we tend to believe what we already believe and don't want to disconfirm our previous beliefs.

Third, her son is dead. Your former mother-in-law wants to remember only good things about him. She will never have a chance to hear from her son's own mouth, "Yeah, I didn't really want the kid. I just wanted to live life with my new girlfriend."

You can't allow her to make you, the only parent left, a living villain against a deceased angel. Before you cut her off, give her a chance to hear the truth. Drag her into the counselor's office and give the counselor permission to tell the real story.

In her heart she knows her son didn't want to see his son. This was a lie she was telling herself. So you must tell her, if you are going to maintain this lie to your grandchild and to me, we must part ways.

Wayne & Tamara

Column for the week of October 31, 2016

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