I have to apologize in advance for parts of this post because some of what I say here is intolerant, probably ill-informed and certainly not sympathetic… well, to one party at least. A couple of years ago I wrote a post to honor someone who left this life too early. She left behind a proud legacy along with three children and a husband.
This past week, her husband decided to check out and leave those three children orphaned. When I heard the news, my first emotion was anger. How could a father do that to his children? Let along a father who was the only living parent those children had left? In a calmer moment I mustered up some compassion and sympathy for him, thinking that he must have been struggling with his own demons that so overwhelmed him that he committed such a terrible act.
But then I’m just angry again. Now, these children — okay so they’re in their 20s so maybe children isn’t the right word — are left to clean up a financial mess and somehow find a way to create a life for themselves on their own, without either parent who made the decision to bring them into this world.
The loss of a parent is traumatic enough. The loss of a second parent a scant two years later is certainly more traumatic. I’m not sure there’s even a strong enough word to describe what it must feel like to be orphaned by a parent who thought more about escaping their own hurt than shepherding their children through life as long as they could.
No matter what, the instinct to protect your children should be the strongest motive you have in this life. And part of protecting them is to face what you need to face, or seek out the help you need or suffer whatever humility you need to. Hopefully, the legacy of their father’s ending will never overwrite their mother’s legacy of love and devotion.