Saturday, 18 February 2012

Three Years Of Tears, Fears And Cheers.

The other day my son mentioned that it had now been three years since he had any meaningful employment.   I had no idea it had been that long.  Three years of frustration, rejection, heartache and the inevitable tears from the ongoing fears.
I have seen a young man in the prime of his youth, lose the twinkle in his eye and the smile upon his face.   Day after day of relentless despair.   It takes every fibre of my being to see the light beyond the dark.  I praise him and reassure him.  I tell him it's not his fault.   My son , my very sad son, who dreams the dream of what seems to be a fleeting dream, of moving on, of living his life, that lies beyond our front door.
His plight, his pain, is all consuming.  I have been told to get on with my life and focus on what I want to do.  Yet  I will not be able to breathe again until I see the twinkle in his eye and the smile upon his face.  When your child hurts, you hurt.
And what of his mother?   She has started a new life with her new family.   I so wish that all three of us could sit down, talk it through, mother and father, united in a common cause to be of as much support, as we possibly can, to a son who wishes to see a  glimmer of hope.   I have asked to meet up, discuss my growing concerns about our son.   She refuses and the only communication she will have with me is via private messages on Facebook.   And no, we are not Facebook friends.  I don't care if she has an intense dislike for me.   This is not about me or her.   This is about our son and at times, I feel so all alone.
Of course, his situation is not unique.  These are brutal times in a brutal economy, dictated by brutal men.   And through it all, he is now considering applying to join the British navy.  At first, this was considered a last resort.  Now, despite my worries about him joining, we both see the opportunity to further his education and the rewards can be a young man who finally realises that beyond the dark clouds that surround his once cheerful demeanour, may just be that wonderful realisation that he is finally living his life.
Yes, it has been three years of tears and fears.   Three long years of watching my son and myself, fall apart.   I do feel alone, yet I'm not alone.   Your ongoing support to this man and his son, are embraced with sincere and heartfelt gratitude.  And thus, my friend, despite my tears, despite my fears, it's cheers to you.


  1. Brutal, what you and your son have been through. And yes, like so many others, which just makes it feel even more hopeless at times. You've shown your strength, courage, and unfailing dedication through it all - and that will ultimately have made the difference.
    Here's to the future finally coming within reach for such a loved, wonderful young man and his devoted father...Cheers!

  2. Life feels like it is on "pause" when we are worried about our children. You are THE most supportive parent I have ever had the good fortune to come to know. Your son is very very lucky to have you as a father.

  3. I remember how awful it was being unemployed for six months. I don't think I could have stuck it out for three years.

  4. Do you suppose things happen for a reason? I don't know, but something stuck home while I was reading your post. Our youngest had a difficult time in the early 90s because the forest industry in BC was in big trouble. At 24, he came to us to say he was joining the Army. Both his dad and I were shocked. We tried not to be, but honestly, this was the son who didn't like any orders, who didn't like having to go to bed at a respectable hour, and who hated getting up in the morning.

    I'm sure I was thinking all that while he was waiting for a response. I ended up saying something dumb like, "We'll be happy with anything you choose to do with your life. We love you."

    His dad said much the say thing.

    14+ years later and this son is a master sergeant, teaching office cadets, top in every class he's ever taken, an Afghanistan vet, a husband, father, a loving son. But mostly a contented man.

    I guess you know what I'm going to say next. I'm scared too. I'm always scared, but ...

    If his intentions are honourable, and I'm sure they are, I have a good feeling about this. Not that my feelings matter one way or the other. It's just that... I think I'll just feel at peace about this and leave it at that.

    I don't want you or him to worry. It hurts to watch a friend in pain.

  5. Three years is more than anyone should ever have to go through, let alone someone so young.

    My 3 older brothers joined the army for the same reason as your son is considering the service. No opportunities. It was the making of 2 of them and the breaking of 1. But there was little choice. We were poor. I wish T the very best of luck in whatever he decides. And you have my undying respect for being a real father in times when that's a rare thing indeed.

  6. This post touched me in many ways. I have the grown children with financial problems as well as health problems. My therapist has tried to help me deal with the emotions this causes. And I am better. I also know the spot you are in regarding the ex. It is about the child. And I loved that you mentioned his hopes and dreams. That so often gets lost along the way and becomes more about survival. You are a wonderful father. I can see into your heart.

  7. When your child hurts, you hurt...

    That is so true, Gary. I'm sorry that you and your son are enduring such hard times. You may have considered it a last resort, but maybe a life in the forces can give him some badly-needed stability. Whatever he does, I wish him luck.

  8. It pains me to hear of your son's plight Gary. Working in a Jobcentre, we get a lot of bad press, however I am one who does care. I am sad to think he has had no support in all this time to help him back into work. His plans to join the forces are so brave and wonderful and I wish him all the luck in the world. Best wishes to you both - Di x

  9. Dear Gary,
    Three years is a long time to spend out of work. I sincerely hope Tristan can find something which will give him the stimulus and opportunities he so obviously needs and deserves.
    As you say, he is not alone in this situation, though, with unemployment among the young appearing to reach new highs. I love this country, but detest the way those less fortunate seem to be being made to pay the price for other people's mistakes.
    My Dad joined the army at 15. It did, in his case, seem to work for him. He trained as an engineer, fought in Korea, and then after leaving the forces got jobs which led him to travel around the world. He still speaks fondly of the friendship and camaraderie of being in the army. It's not for everyone, though, Gary, and I'm sure you will advise Tristan to think carefully about joining the navy.
    In the meantime, remember to look after yourself, aswell. I think you are coping admirably with all this, and Tristan is lucky to have such a concerned and loving dad.
    Very Best Wishes, your way,

  10. Hi Gary - it's like reading an open book .. I feel so much for both of you .. it does sound a plausible option ... and Joylene has written a reassuring comment ... and once in the Navy - there will be other options, there will be choices ...

    His hurt is your hurt and always will be ... as Delores says .. your son is very lucky to have you as a father and he will always remember these days ...

    My thoughts are with you both - with many hopes for the future ... enjoy each other's company this weekend being together and sharing ... with hugs Hilary

  11. I do feel for you, it hurts so much to see our children suffer. It is just dreadful the way so many of our young folk are left without hope when they should be happily looking forward to better things. Your son has your love and support and although most of us who read your posts can't give you a hug or be there to support you, we are all thinking of you, sending positive thoughts and hoping for better times for you both x

  12. So sad and such a shame that the energy, excitement and spirit in your son is fading. I kind of agree with joylene...maybe its happend for a reason and a career with the British forces is his destiny. Scary I know becase of these troubled times and the whole world seems to be at war. But would you rather worry for a son who wasn't living his life or for a son who was??

    I truly hope it all works out for him. Thank god he has such a devoted and caring Dad.

    Take Care


  13. Three years. It really is brutal. This economy has got so many people in desperate straights, I don't know how long it's going to go on. I know how you feel.

    But I think you're not seeing the one positive. That in all this, there was one thing your son had to help him and get him through this - you. It's easy to underestimate yourself in terms of how effective you are but I think you are a godsend to him.

    If he joins the British Navy then I know you'll be proud. It's a noble institution. If he finds another opportunity and pursues that, I know you'll be proud of that too.

    I've been dealing with a lot of my own issues and there have been dark times where I wasn't sure if I was going to make it. Through it all I've even wondered if there's a point in trying. But somehow I've found that there's always a positive somewhere, I just had to look really hard to find it.

    Keep hope. I know it's hard but keep hope.

  14. I'm glad YOU are there for your son. He is a lucky young man and I truly think you've made these three years bearable for him!

    I wish him all the best with joining the navy. It's definitely a worthy career with lots and lots of opportunities! I have everything crossed for a successful outcome! Take care

  15. Gary, my friend, I can only echo what the other people have said. Your son can take heart in having such an obviously loving father, so many people are not even allowed that feeling. I think there is a saying about anything that hurts us only makes us stronger. Now, I don`t know if this is true and I have had some very hurtful times myself but I can assure you both that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I have a couple of friends that have been in the forces, one in the RAF and one in the Royal Navy and they came out of that stronger people, so who knows?!
    All I can say is that you and your son are blessed by having eachother, for that at least, I am grateful.
    Follow me at HEDGELAND TALES

  16. Ofcourse a child's hurt is a parent's hurt no matter how old our children are. I will tell you this much: if his mother is not there for him, it is her loss not his. Times do not remain the same. God willing something will turn up. If he likes to join the Navy, it is not a bad option. My brother started as a young rookie and had to go through a lot of abuse as in the early part of his life in Navy, then the Navy paid for his education as an aironotic engineer. Now after retirement as a cheif he is reaping the benefits. Ofcourse the fears were there and they will be there for your son and you. So, I would not rush joining. He could talk to some one who is in Navy. It will be a life changing experience. Again how would he know until he gives it a try.
    Hopefully there will be no wars.
    As long as your son figures out what he likes and studies towards making his dream come true, he will be able to deal with the abuse.
    Best wishes to your son and yourself. Cheers to a teerific duo!

  17. It must be so disheartening to be unemployed for a long period like this and I don't suppose the knowledge that he's not alone and it's not his fault is of much comfort to either of you.

  18. Brutal is truly the word. I have been listening to the unemployed people on BBC Radio PM programme all week, and what is screaming out of this is not that those people are doing anything wrong, it's just that there are not enough jobs, and it has not been government policy to create them.

    I hope he is smiling again soon.

  19. Three years. Such terrible times for so many. I wish for your son, whatever his decision, and for you as his father, better times ahead.

  20. I don't think there are many things harder and more frustrating than seeing someone you love lose something of themselves bit by bit.
    There are so many clichés peddled by politicians and the media but how many of them see the human cost of their policies.

    Your son is lucky in having someone who has such faith in him.

    As for the Navy, my cousin was in a similar situation and joined up to be a paramedic. After a few years he's fully trained, saving lives and absolutely loving it. He's been to a few war zones and much that he was a bit of a tearaway he now planning a family and buying a house with his wife.

  21. You have made such great progress, endured so much,and have come such a long way, despite all. I do admire you.

  22. You are totally right, we are indeed passing through brutal times. And the brutul men at the top dictating the way things work just don't seem to realise the harm they're doing to families, to communities and to the people. We saw what the public thought last summer, but has anything changed?

    It's a sad state of affairs, but the manner in which you have held your head high despite all of these hardships is truly admirable. And I have ooogggle amounts of respect for you.


  23. Sigh Gary. I don't know what to say. So here. *HUUUUUUUG*

  24. Oh Gary, I so feel your pain. Or maybe, I feel your son's pain. I, too, have not been gainfully employed for several years, almost 4, in fact. I have my own business, but it depends on the health of the economy, which we all know is terribly ill. If I hadn't found something else to focus on, I sincerely believe I would have gone completely mad.

    At first it was cooking and baking, then writing took over. Although I'm not making any money at it, it has given me purpose, a reason to get up each day. And I've made so many new friends while I've been at it.

    It's hard to break from life's expectations, to realize what worked before no longer does. I hope your son has the strength to search for some other avenue of self-fulfillment. If that's the navy, then so be it. Many find military life purposeful and fulfilling. And it might give him a direction, a new path he never even knew was there before.

    I wish him all the luck in the world, that he might find the man he is destined to be, and that you can have some peace of mind knowing he has finally found a reason to smile again.

    God bless!

  25. I grieve with you, my new friend, and with your son. Three years is a very long time. Sounds to me that he suffers depression. We recognize it in each other, I guess. A not-so secret club, but one that those who have never experienced it cannot relate to at all. It's like asking a twin what it's like to be a twin. They can't answer that, they've always had the twin. They wonder what it's like to be a single person, not two of a kind, because they've never been without their twin. (Tragic circumstances not taken into account in this analogy.) Please give my greetings to your son. Tell him I'll pray for him that what he wants with his life may one day be within reach. I do know a lot of teenagers who chose the military and being involved (and accepted, and part of a group, doing something truly important and eternal) saved their lives. Literally.
    On a less serious note, that 11 Question meme hit me on Saturday and I've tagged you, klahanie. Come over and check it out, and then participate, should you choose. It's just for fun and getting to know each other and I know it isn't everyone's cup-o-tea, but there ya' have it. Opportunity. And maybe some of my visitors will stop by to see why I wrote what I did.

    Tina @ Life is Good

    Co-Host of the April 2012 Blogging from A to Z Challenge


  26. Dear friends,
    You may realise that I normally try to reply to each person who has so kindly graced me with a comment. On this occasion, so overwhelmed have I been with your responses, that I find I'm too emotionally exhausted from such a harrowing and painful time to give you a personalised reply.
    I have read each comment, with a grateful heart. Your kindness, concern and compassion and your own experiences, have touched me deeply. During these brutal times that have impacted the mental health welfare of so many, I know that we all do our best to find the positive outcome in what has seemed like an overpowering negative.
    You are truly remarkable people and there are no words to describe my admiration for all of you.
    Thank you and may the times ahead be better for all of us.
    Bless you all.
    With peace and respect, your way, Gary

  27. Someday the present will be a look into the past of the challenge of life at the time. Gainful employment is a necessity of life. We struggle to hold on to what we have and sympathize with those who don't. We all know we can be there in an instant. It is not a reflection on him.

  28. Hi Ray,
    Exactly, my friend. I have tried to reassure my son that it's not a reflection on him, but the worrying reality of these worrying times.
    Take care, Ray.
    In kindness, Gary

  29. Hi Gary,

    I'm so touched by this post and relate to it on a very personal level. You and your son have endured so much, and yet you continually pick yourselves up. I agree with Joylene and Carole Ann. Just moving towards something can bring a positive outcome and open unexpected doors. Please remember that you always have a shoulder here.

  30. Hi THE SNEE,
    I sensed you would relate to this posting in your own, deeply poignant and personal way.
    We know of struggle and yet we stay determined that the struggle taught us valuable lessons.
    Will most definitely maintain a positive focus for that magical day when my son can move on with his life. Indeed, out of perceived negatives, we can create inspirational positives.
    Thank you, Rebecca and here's wishing you and your loved ones a more peaceful, positive future. I gratefully accept your shoulder and you know the feeling is reciprocated.
    Much respect and kindness, your way, Gary


I do try to comment back to each commenter individually. However, I might have to shorten my replies or give a group thank you. That way, I can spend more time commenting on your blogs. Thank you and peace, my friend.