By Kenneth Stepp
Have you ever been fired from a job? Your services are no longer needed. Does that mean they think I did a great job and it’s finished? Or did they no longer like the way I did my job? It was many years ago. It was the only one I was ever fired from. In my working career I was always sought out for tasks, jobs, and consulting. My ideas and work ethic worked well in a world where ethics and vision are sometimes hard to find. Today I realized that my singles journey is a lot like getting fired, or some elements of it seem that way. When I was married, my wife and kids needed me. My skills as a parent and a partner were required every day. Until one day, they weren’t.
It never dawned on me what a price I would pay for our divorce. I agreed to leave her all our money, it was substantial. Having had a measure of wealth for decades, we had very nice things. I left her all of it. I walked away with my personal items, my truck, and a blanket. As bad as divorce is, I found solace in the fact that we didn’t argue over material things. Giving them all up without a fight was what I decided would be the right thing to do. I loved my wife, but could no longer live with her. We tried four different counselors over so many years and we just hit a wall. It was over and it was sad. But it had to be. I have regrets, many. But we had become unlovable to one another. Maybe unlikable is a better word.
My wife and I raised two amazing children. Actually we raised two amazing adults. Responsible, smart, and logical members of society. My daughter just graduated college, she was a Gold Scout, that’s the female version of Eagle Scout, and my son was in fact, an Eagle Scout. Now 23 and 22 years old, she is getting ready for another three years of school to be an occupational therapist and he is going to school to become a union welder. I could not be more proud of them. I ran a successful business most of their childhood and we enjoyed the finer things in life. Vacation homes, nice cars, a fine home and private schools. One day I found myself at the end of my business. A $1.3 million dollar theft, we lost so much, but were still a strong family. Then the marriage fell apart. My son and I remained very close, but my daughter turned her back on me the day I left. This has been the most painful thing I have ever experienced.
For a few years I hoped she was just angry about something. Me leaving? I told her when two people split up, one had to leave. I recently spoke with her via text, we haven’t spoken face to face for years. When we did it was her telling me how great her mom was. It hurt. Again, of all my losses, and there have been many, losing her has been the toughest loss. I keep hoping she will remember what kind of father I was, how I loved and cared for her from day one. After 5 ½ years of not having her in my life I’ve had to accept she’s never coming back. I lost my baby girl forever. Just writing these words hurt. I can’t try or do anything to correct this, it is done.
So why am I telling my story about my loss? Because this is common. I talk to singles along the way with similar stories. They were good parents, they love their children so much, yet for whatever reason, their own child turned their back on their own parent. When my children were born they had two people who would die for them and be honored to do so. How does one remove someone like that from their lives? It’s always something petty, it’s never something that matters over time. Many times they are just manipulated by the other parent. I’ve watched it many times. If you have a mom or day you are estranged from for whatever reason in your head and if you are lucky enough that they are still alive. Mend that fence. Make things right. Everyone wins. The most painful thing a child can say or show by actions is to tell their parent… You are no longer needed.
“Love and grace are the greatest powers in this life, use them in excessively”
– K Stepp