Folks, this is a really difficult post for me to make. I've been tossing the option back and forth for awhile now, debating with myself as to whether or not I should bring this up. It's a family issue that I am learning to live with, but it's also a quiet, pervasive grief that I feel if I give it over to a circle of people who care, like the one I've found here at Paganspace, I will find healing that might not come to me otherwise, at least not for a much longer time.
There is subject matter in this story that may spark debate, but please, for the sake of everyone, do try to keep the heat out of it. No mudslinging, please, and no questioning of parenting tactics of the sort that will cause possible damage to already hurting and unhappy souls. If I find that this discussion is causing that kind of issue, with all due love and respect to all contributors, it will be closed.
Now, for my story:
I gave birth in my youth to three sons. R. was born when I was not quite 18, D. was born when I was 20, and J. was born when I was 23. I raised them mostly by myself, with the help of my mother, who was present for all three births, and was in our lives until about five years ago.
A pertinent side note: I "found" the Craft/Paganism the fall of the year that D. was born, just a couple of months after his August birth, and have been actively Pagan ever since, mostly flying solo, going into and out of all kinds of situations, going from having to keep my books and things in a closet while living with their father's Christian parents, to being active in large covens and going to circles and festivals of all kinds, culminating in our attendance at Starwood five summers ago. This is to say that while I didn't do a lot with them Paganwise when they were small, like some families do, I have mostly raised them to think for themselves, and have had them along to a few events as they got older, and never for one minute hidden it from them.
We had a tough go, not much to talk about in the way of stability. We were dirt poor for most of that time, and have even been homeless together for brief periods. But I cared, and I loved them, and fought for them, and protected them; I tried, and I was there for them at every turn, and thought I was doing my best.
Through all this, my sons and I had (I thought) remained very close. We talked to each other about everything, and there was this fierce 'us-against-the-world' sort of bond there that sustained us though all kinds of hardship. I remained optimistic, and never gave up hope that the Universe was playing out exactly as it was supposed to, and that my sons were, despite everything, growing up to be decent enough people, even the good and honorable men that would make not only a mama proud, but make for eventual happy wives and grandchildren. That's all I really wanted and would have been more than satisfied with.
The Universe apparently has other plans.
Without giving up names or less-than-palatable details, I will tell you that my sons, who are now ages 24, 21 and a half, and 18 and a half, and I are all estranged from one another. We are not on speaking terms and have no interaction at this time. Two of them have turned out to be pathological liars who have betrayed me, called me names, and forsaken everything they were taught, and one of them may have taken indecent liberties with an underaged girl, and forsaken the family's help to return to an abusive relationship.
Traditional therapy is not an option. Family interaction is not possible. I have lost them. I do not know that there are any answers, nor that there is anything I can "do", per se. I am not sitting in the dark with the shades drawn wallowing in guilt and grief, for that serves nothing and no one; I still have a good life, I like myself pretty well, I have options and things to do, a stable home, a good future, friends, a wonderful partner-for-life and another child (his) to help raise.
I did my best and I know I did. But they're still and will always be my children, and this is a dark shadow on my soul. I guess what I am mostly looking for here is someone to talk to, and by opening this topic, perhaps offering that same fellowship and understanding to other Pagan parents out there who may, for their own circumstances and reasons, be at this sort of a loss.