I became an adult in 2013. My life preceding that year, though full of uncertainty and the whimsical adventurism of youth was never meant to last. Duh. Any adult could have told me that but until you become one yourself, adulthood never sinks it’s teeth in deep enough for you to grasp until it finally does. My career has taken off after eight months of undeterred tenacity and personal growth and as I reap the benefits and taste the sweetness of it’s fruits, it still seems bland. It’s the grief. It sits like a cold stone absorbing the heat of the sun above me, leaving me in a lukewarm state. I don’t have meltdowns, though I’ve cried a few times when thinking about my Dad. Is it a survival mechanism? I look at pictures of him and immediately go numb, unable to feel anything. I asked my ma (Happily Homeless) about it and from her experience as a bereavement facilitator she told me that sometimes the true depth of grief doesn’t come to the surface until you’re in your second year of it. I don’t think many people are willing to believe that; it’s too inconvenient for their well-intentioned but insensitive insistence that you ‘go back to normal’ so they don’t feel the need to walk on egg shells in your midst. I understand where they’re coming from. Who the hell wants to carry such a burden for years and years? Unfortunately, unless you’re incapable of loving then you are bound to go through the long-winded journey of grief.
I am on the precipice of a custody battle with my daughter’s mother. We are like oil and water; getting along takes far more effort than it should – it always has. Because of a fight we had last week, I have been denied by her the right to see and visit my own daughter, though this comes as no surprise. Since becoming pregnant, she would threaten to remove me from our daughter’s life whenever she became angry with me, only now she has done it. It’s been over a week since I have been able to see or hold her and it is tearing me to pieces. A week may not seem like such a long time to you but as a new father, it has felt like forever. Instead of using these emotions in a destructive way that would only further isolate me from my daughter, I have put all of this energy into taking responsible action and ensuring that my rights are enforced by the state. My ex says she’s not doing this because of how she feels towards me though I feel if that were true, then she’d have no issue with letting me spend time with our daughter. She says she is doing this for our little girl’s benefit – a superficially masked claim that reeks of self-centeredness and spite. I guess not everyone can grow up. Each day is a challenge. I just want to see my mija but I cannot, though my ex claims “I am her father so will always be part of her life”. Her actions prove otherwise, especially considering she only wants me to have two 3 hour visits with my daughter a week – supervised by her mother. How can my daughter benefit from such a minimal presence from me? It’s like listening to a politician talk: zero context and no credibility. I believe in the end, I will have my daughter back but being patient in the meantime is so difficult. I ought to find a father’s support group.