How can I help a grieving father?


#1

I mentioned earlier in the week that my boyfriend’s daughters were snatched from his sister’s home by his ex-wife. After he gets paid, he’s going to go home to the Philippines to look for them. In the Philippines, that’s probably the best way to get them back, although he has the police and family friends looking for them now.

My boyfriend is grieving, obviously. He’s burying himself in work until he is able to actively look for them. He has been in touch with me by text message and he called me once, but I haven’t seen him since it happened. I live about an hour and a half away from him, and I’ve been to his town twice this week but both times he was working and couldn’t see me. He just started a second job, and I don’t know where it’s located so I can’t just show up at his workplace to see him.

I’m sure he doesn’t want to “date” me while this is going on - it would be in very poor taste. I just want to do something nice for him to make sure he’s taking care of himself. I don’t know what to do. A friend suggested giving him a back rub or a hug or something to make him feel loved, but I haven’t been able to see him and I think he’s avoiding me because he might feel he doesn’t deserve to feel loved or comforted while his children are missing. I think he feels guilty that he even has a girlfriend when his children need him, and I can understand that. But since he can’t do anything to help them until he gets there, I’d like to do something to help him keep his strength up until he can fly out there.

I’m trying to find little things I can do to let him know that I care and I’m here for him, even if he doesn’t feel he deserves it. I’m sending him supportive text messages, but he rarely responds to those. I’m also just sending normal messages - how are you? what time do you finish work? how’s work going? - and he responds to them, so I know he’s functioning.

The only other thing I can think to do is to show up at his apartment with some homemade food or groceries or something. I don’t have a key, but I could leave it on the step or ask his roommates to give it to him if they’re home. If his roommates are home, I could also consider doing his laundry or some other menial task that it probably hasn’t occurred to him to do while he’s grieving, but I think that might be too presumptuous.

Or I could just give him his space to grieve, while being in touch. That’s okay too, but I want to do something to take care of him because I know he’s barely eating or sleeping. Any suggestions?


#2

Cooking and laundry are both good ideas; it shows that you care and frees up his own time. Also, keep on praying for his situation, and condsider telling him about what you’re doing; I always feel rather touched to know that someone’s praying for me.

I’ll also pray.

Sam, the Neon Orange Knight


#3

Is there any news yet?
It sounds like you’re doing all you can with very genuine love. He is so blessed to have you even though emotionally he is so blanked out by anxiety that he can’t respond.
My sons are affectionate and attentive, but when my eldest son’s children were kidnapped from his home, he couldn’t even hug me for some time. It makes one anxious and sad not even to be able to help with the little gestures that are intended to give comfort. But it’s too big and he can’t receive comfort at present, but his mind knows even if his heart is frozen in its awful pain of loss and anxiety.
You sound like a lovely young woman. I hope everything works out soon. Please look after yourself and do kind little things for yourself too. You are having a painful time and need nurture too. Trishie :hug1:


#4

Thanks for the prayers, Sam and Trishie. Thanks for thinking of me.

He still hasn’t seen me since it happened, although we’ve been in touch by telephone. It’s frustrating for me because I can’t do anything to help him from this far away.

He managed to get in touch with his ex-wife’s brother, and XBIL has been relaying messages between him and his ex-wife. For that I’m grateful, but then again… It seems the ex wants custody. She’s threatening to disappear with the kids if he doesn’t renegotiate the agreement. She thinks she can get custody since he’s living outside of the country and since he has a girlfriend now. She figures that a court would agree with her that he doesn’t need custody if he’s out of the country, and that him dating me proves that he’d be a bad influence on the kids anyway. I’m offended, because she knows nothing about our relationship. My boyfriend says XBIL is trying to get the goods on our relationship so he can go back and tell his wife and the courts that we’re “living in sin” - we’re not - and that we’d be teaching the kids about immoral things if we married and kept custody. XBIL is apparently harassing my boyfriend - showing up outside his work, visiting his house, etc. That’s why my boyfriend wants me to stay away - so XBIL doesn’t start harassing me, too.

I think most of it is about the ex-wife’s fear that he’ll marry me and take the kids out of the country and she’ll never see them again. It’s a valid fear - that was the plan, although we hope to be able to bring the kids back for a visit once a year or so. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I can understand her perspective, but it’s very hard not to hate her for what she’s doing to him right now.

I’m trying to look after myself. I don’t know what to do. My friends here all think that I’m stupid for dating a man with children at all. They all tell me this is the time to dump him and look out for myself. One person told me that I should start seeing other people during this crisis, so I can realize that it’s not worth the heartache and that other men with fewer problems are out there. I know there are probably many other men that I could love and marry, but I like the one I’ve got. I’m not going to give up on a wonderful, loving, and kind man just because he’s in a bad situation right now. I just need to keep reminding myself of that.


#5

:hug1: I’m glad your boyfriend has let you know he’s protecting you. It all sounds painfully complicated and as if there’s a protracted battle ahead, especially with such emotion involved. If the ex-brother-in-law is stalking and persecuting your boyfriend, that seems to indicate he doesn’t feel his sister is on solid ground, because if he weren’t scared they might lose, why would he be so over the top. Your boyfriend would feel he couldn’t have you around at all in case they made something out of your visiting or meeting him.
Having gone with my eldest through the kidnap and court thing, I feel so bad for you both.

It must be hard to hear people saying dump him, date others. It’s well meant but insensitive. They just want to rescue and protect you though, because they care about you, they love you and don’t want you to go through this. It isn’t fair to have to go through all this, for either of you.

And taking on the children…
**My middle son last year took on his new wife’s three children along with his own son and he’s enormously happy. As far as he’s concerned the three kids are his own. He always wanted more children. My stepmother took on NINE, including four teenage girls, the youngest child being five. That’s got to be crazy, but when I said gently to her, “Angela, you don’t know what you’re letting yourself in for…!” She just said,“I can’t help it. I love your father.” ** And that’s how it is, isn’t it. You really love him. I can understand the mother fearing she will lose contact, or much contact with her children. Wild horses wouldn’t have separated me from my boys. I’m a basically gentle person but I recognised within myself what I privately called ‘a tigress instinct’ regarding my sons.

Please God, somehow this will all work out, without harm to the children’s psyches and relationships ,and in the best interests of all relationships, including very much your own with this man you love so much. Please continue to try to take care of youself so you don’t get worn out. You are precious too.
Trishie.


#6

Thanks for the hug - I certainly need as many hugs as I can get! My boyfriend is promising that it’s all going to go back to normal as soon as he gets this custody thing sorted out - but it sounds to me like it’s going to be a long time. And there is no “normal” - I doubt very much that after this, he’ll be comfortable letting his children play outside alone.

I know they mean well, but people say all sorts of insensitive things when they mean well. You have been more comfort to me than all my friends. Thank you.

Yes, that’s the problem. I want to take on the children. I can’t bear the thought of him having to leave them behind to be with me. But then, I can see that she would be feeling even more hurt if he took them to Canada, since they’re her children too. I don’t know if there is some solution that would work it all out. It seems to me that she could lose them and her heart breaks, or he could lose them and his heart breaks, or he could go back to the Philippines and my heart breaks. I wish I could see some equitable and hurt-free solution for all.

Thanks, Trishie. You’re really a Godsend for me right now.


#7

I’m glad to be there even though so far from you geographically, here in Australia. Wish I could have a coffee with you sometimes during all this. :coffee: Feel free to contact me whenever you wish. Trishie


#8

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