The Fallout from the Atom Bomb I Dropped

atomic-bomb
There is a hole in my life filled with all the times I sit alone wishing my kids were with me. It is a chasm both deep and wide. And I’m the one who set off the detonation that made it.

My Atom Bomb
There are many reasons I can’t get into details about some parts of my past. All of them are people. They are all people I care about – some that mean the world to me, and some I simply hope the best for despite past hurts.

What I can say is that I’ve made some less than stellar choices in life. I’ve trusted people I shouldn’t have trusted, and left a wake of pain and heartache. I threw an atom bomb into my life and caused a lot of collateral damage.

My Fallout
The fallout was severe. I have three boys who I love very much separated by about a thousand miles: one lives in Georgia, two live in New York. This means that for about 11 months out of the year someone’s missing.

I make sure to spend time with them in person each five days a month at least. It requires a lot of travel, but it’s worth it. We also play games online or do something similar so that I spend time with each of them fifteen days or more a month. I do what I can to make sure we all hang out virtually at least two different days a month.

It’s fun and it fills the gaps, but it’s exhausting. I know that no matter what I do, I will not have all my kids together and have a normal home. On pretty much any given day, I will not see one or more of my kids. It’s painful. It’s painful to know this is my life. It’s painful to know that my life will be forever split by my actions.

The Radiation Sickness
I have a wonderful girlfriend who is kind, patient, understanding, loving, and a great partner. Yet no matter how much she makes me smile there will always be a hole in my heart. I will always have a place where three people take up residence where one, two, or all three of them are currently not home.

I often sit in church and just imagine what it would be like if my kids were there. I play with one of my sons knowing that this would be something another son would love to be a part of, but he’s miles away. I play guitar and enjoy a new song I know my son would love to play bass on, but he’s not here. The nagging sadness doesn’t end.

Laying Down of Weapons
Here’s the thing: No one has to tell me I’ve messed up. No one has to tell me I could have made better choices. No one has to say to me that I could have done things differently. I know that. Despite that fact, there are people that I’ve known for a long time that think that this helps. Somehow they think that I’m unaware of the giant crater left from this atom bomb.

But I don’t need any help knowing that this sucks. I am fully and completely aware that I can be happy and joyful and experience the good things in life, and I will still feel this pain. My awareness of the pain of this situation started when I felt the pain.

What I need – what everyone needs who has made bad choices – is understanding. We like to think people don’t know they make bad choices. The pain tells them. They often don’t need any special prodding.

What people need is hope. What people need is understanding. It’s an elixir. It draws people away from bad choices and to better choices. We need to move from punishing those who have already punished themselves to mending their wounds and giving them something worth moving toward. They’ve already done the damage. It’s up to us to provide the healing.

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About the author

David is a father, speaker, blogger (obviously), and author of How to Create Amazing Presentations sharing the tools, tips, and techniques of the experts to make you an amazing presenter, 7 Steps to Better Relationships built on the stories and lessons on this blog with seven easy steps to help you maximize your interactions with the people you care about most, and The Man in the Pit to help you care for loved ones struggling with depression.

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