In 2002, I filed for divorce after sixteen years of marriage. My twelve-year-old son, Jacob, chose to live with his father but had I known that over the following years a distance between us would develop, I might have thought twice about breaking up the family.
When Jacob became increasingly uncommunicative and started refusing weekend stays with me, I knew our relationship had hit rock bottom. I tried every way to engage my son but he remained aloof and at times hurtful with sarcastic remarks about his unhappiness with my, what he termed, “intrusion in his life.”
Jacob, now an adult, is a stranger and bears no resemblance to the young child I once knew. Now and then, his sister updates me on his life Last Fall, she told me he was accepted into the University of Santa Barbara and is studying for a master degree in research psychology.
Even though I tried my best to include Jacob in my life, my attempts of inclusion were most often met with his resistance and rejection. So often, I would sit on the couch in the quiet and mourn the loss of Jacob, feeling like I had come from his funeral. Overwhelmed by this constant suffering, I had to accept the truth that my little boy had become lost and I had become his devastated mother.
There are reminders of Jacob spread about the house. A framed picture of us together in the snow, the clay dragon he made in art class, and I still use the knitted sunglass holder he made for me while in fifth grade. Perhaps when he becomes a parent Jacob will realize how much I have always loved him. What I fear most is not living long enough for that day to arrive, but without choice, in the quiet, I patiently wait.