A shattered dream

I have often been guilty of neglecting the most important issues in my life. It’s easier than facing them. In the same way as rejecting the help of a friend can be easier than letting them in and opening up.

One of these issues is more challenging than others, it causes a great deal of emotional strain. It is the desire I have always had to be a father.

I never contemplated going through my life without having children of my own. The ability to recreate life with someone I loved always felt like a purpose rather than a choice. I believed that the perfect partner would come along when the time was right. Relationships drifted in and out of my life but I was still young, the time to begin my family would come. When I pictured my future it always had that one constant, the presence of a child who I was responsible for. I wanted to be the teacher, the role model, the provider and hopefully the friend. I couldn’t imagine a greater privilege in life.

I would have been a good dad. I truly believe that I would. I am lucky enough to have had great parents to learn from and have as an example. They brought me up always showing just the right amount of love, respect, discipline and freedom. They were not without their flaws, no parents are, but I could learn from that also. I just wanted the chance to do it really well so I could look back on my life and see it as my greatest achievement.

mum and dad and me

With my loving parents a few months after the accident

Its not going to happen now. For the first couple of years after the accident I still thought it was a possibility but I have accepted that it will never happen.

Even if I had the choice, it would not be fair on the child or the mother. I would have all the love in the world to offer but I would be so limited in the ways to show it. I couldn’t hold my own newborn baby. I couldn’t be there to steady my toddler’s first steps. I couldn’t take my son to the park to play football. I couldn’t teach my daughter how to ride her first bike on a Christmas morning. I know many never have a father figure but that wouldn’t be my kids. I was determined to be the best father I could possibly be. The kind of father my children could be proud of. The kind of father I am lucky enough to have had myself.

Now I find pleasure sharing my friends journeys through parenthood. I enjoy watching them change as their children develop their own unique personalities. I can’t say that it doesn’t make me jealous, it does. I wonder how I would change and what kind of personality my child would have. I am extremely happy for them and I do enjoy spending time with the little families that surround me but I think there will always be that bit of jealousy hiding in the shadows.

I want to experience the best that life has to offer and I don’t think it can get much better than raising a child. It’s an opportunity to help shape a personality from a blank canvas at birth. An opportunity that comes with great responsibility. The responsibility to be a good example, to show affection, to teach strong morals and to provide a safe environment for emotional and physical growth. To be trusted with that responsibility is a special gift.

I am the proof that we are only one unlucky move away from having that gift taken away.

I love this song. It is a conversation between a father and son, Dutch singer Alain Clark duetting with his real-life father Dane Clark. This is the conversation I dreamt of having with my son one day. It is the way I always hoped my son would talk to me and the way I always imagined my reply.

I used to look forward to that day but now it is a shattered dream. I will never be fortunate enough to play the role of the father. However, listening to that song I can relate to how the son feels. My dad is and always has been the father I dreamt of being myself. I should thank him for that more often.

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32 Comments

  1. Colin Dodds

    Can’t emphasise enough how strong and determined you are. My late dad was also paralysed from the neck down after an accident 2 weeks after he retired. Unlike yourself he along with mum brought me and my brothers up. He, like you, got on with his restricted life without complaining and was so strong……respect.

    • Thanks Colin. I’m glad you got the quality time with your dad that you both deserve. Appreciate the comment, cheers

  2. Children are a blessing and you never know what the future holds x

  3. I read your deep sadness between the lines … but I think you way of thinking will may change when that special woman comes into your life. Have a friend that had the same kind accident like yours and in the same situation like you, he has 2 kids today and he are the most wonderful dad on earth. It is all up to the woman and she loves him, neither her and the kid looks at Bengt as a handicaped person. But I also understand your thinking … I’m sure you will be a fantastic father. Loved the video, never heard of them before.

    • Glad you liked the song. Don’t remember how I stumbled across it, hadn’t heard of them either.

      Unfortunately there are medical reasons as to why it won’t happen. Even with the right relationship and the right attitude it is not possible after all this time. I still have plenty of other reasons to be thankful.

  4. Steven, there’s no words to make this feel better. This is life. You plan one thing and end up with another. Sometimes it hurts. It always sucks.

    If you were here, we could offer you a scrummy cupcake. It’s not much of a consolation prize, I know, but they are pretty good. Sending you a big hug!

    Cheryl

    • Thank you Cheryl. Thank you for not trying to sugar coat everything (except your cakes). Life ain’t sugar coated and failing to recognise that only sets up disappointment.

      The trick seems to be accepting reality can be harsh but dealing with in the most positive of ways. As you do every day with Becky.

      Thanks

      • Any time, Steven. πŸ˜‰

  5. Steve, what a powerful story to have shared. To know that something you always dreamed of will never come true. In my own ways, I have struggled with not having children when I was married the first time but that was a true blessing looking back on it now. Adam never wanted children. He told me this from the start when we were getting to know each other but I always prayed he would change his mind. In a way he has, but I am getting older now. My biological clock is ticking down. I don’t think the future holds a child for me but I have an amazing relationship with an amazing man. I don’t know why things happen the way they do but in the long run how we deal with what happens makes us who we are. In my own way, I get where you are coming from even though it’s just an inkling. Hugs and kisses, Dianna

    • Hello there stranger!

      I have not seen you popping up here there and everywhere like usual, you been okay?

      My last relationship before the accident was with the wrong person. We were engaged to be married and I realise now that it would never have worked. So grateful we never had any children. We would have done because we both wanted kids but it would not have been a loving relationship. Wanting children isn’t a good enough reason, it’s got to be with the ideal partner.

      I hope you and Adam end up down the right path, wherever that may be.

      • I know what you mean! Adam & I are a great team. So happy I didn’t have kids with my ex because it wouldn’t have been ideal! Actually on abroad trip to cure my cluckiness.

      • Heading somewhere fancy?

      • Just to see my sister-in-law and her babies! Nothing real fancy!

      • Still, better than sitting about doing nothing for Anzac day. Hope you have a great time.

      • It was a gorgeous day with my man. We dropped our pack at the kennel & arrived at our destination with a slight detour but still good. Tomorrow should be terrific.

  6. It’s great that as hard as it is for you you write these things in your blog. People are so unaware of or forget how a disability can have such an impact on a persons life. It is only by people like us writing about these things that we can bring it to peoples attention, to give them a better understanding of what life is like with the restrictions we have. People only see or think about the issues that are visible to them then never get as far as the emotional side and so much of life is taken for granted until it is taken away from us. I really like the track which was a great find and they both have lovely voices. From the way you talk and come across you would have made a fantastic Dad, I’m truly sorry that it will never happen for you. Cherish the relationship and time you have with your own Dad and thank you for sharing your shattered dream, very thought provoking.

    • You make a very important point. The visible aspects of a disability can be the least debilitating.

      I can only speak for myself but I suffer from more emotional pain than physical pain. Something completely lost on those observing from outside. I know that your own battle has resulted in some big disappointments and emotional lows. Keeping strong by sharing those experiences is difficult but connecting with people like yourself has made it worthwhile for me. Thanks again for the support and understanding.

      Steven

      • Your more than welcome and then you for your support too πŸ™‚

  7. Your honesty about your shattered dream is refreshing, Steven. I can understand why it took 2 years to let it go. That is a tough one to let go of. But, as a couple other commenters mentioned, you just never know what the future may hold.
    One idea that crossed my mind is the Big Brothers program. Do you have something like that where you live? You get matched up with a young man who doesn’t have a father figure. It also occured to me you just might meet that certain someone special when you least expect it -perhaps kids of your own, or maybe she might be a package deal πŸ™‚

    • Thanks Denise.

      It was tough. It was more of a gradual process than a sudden realisation, that probably helped.

      I have just ‘googled’ the Big Brother project and it is a great incentive. Unfortunately nothing like that is available locally. I would jump (metaphorically) at the chance if there was. I try helping out at the hospital whenever I can if someone is struggling with any aspect of change.

      Having kids of my own is medically unrealistic now but I like the idea of a package deal. Maybe I will hit the jackpot someday πŸ™‚

      • The hospital is a good idea, too! I wonder if Big Brothers would be willing to start a chapter near you? I will keep my fingers crossed on the package deal for you-though!!! I think that would suit you pretty well!

  8. You said at the start of this blog that you were going to try and face issues no matter how difficult. Well you’re certainly doing that and deserve a lot of credit for it. While you have described an emotional pain I hope you can take some strength from the inspiration which you’re providing to others through your writing. That’s affecting people of all kinds in a positive way.

    • The response has been a huge boost. I reckon I would have stopped by now if it was not for people like yourself offering so much encouragement.
      Makes the difficult subjects that little bit more manageable.

      Thanks as always

  9. Don’t under-estimate the impact you have on people who read but don’t respond. Bet there’s lots. HH.

    • Thanks mate

      It is a comforting thought that I might reach someone just when they need it. I live in hope!

      HH

  10. *Hugs* I have to admit that way back when I first read this post I couldn’t say anything. It’s a very emotional topic. I am so glad you have a supportive family. You must be incredibly strong to have come so far in your emotional evolution since the accident. You may not give yourself credit for being strong, but you are – even if you don’t always feel that way. Thank you for sharing that strength with the rest of us.

    • Thanks for the hugs, always a pleasure πŸ™‚

      I didn’t expect this post to be as difficult or emotional but once I started, the floodgates opened! As you touched on, having the family unit that I do has been, and still is, a blessing.

      Thanks again for the support

      • *More hugs* Of course. Thank you as well.

  11. a new ‘puppy’ never really repaces the one that died, but the Big Bro idea is good, even if informally, the hospital must be full of kids whose parents have no way to understand their loss and fear but you do. There is so much healing for you to give, oh and on that parenting ‘cant get out of the wheelchair thing’ – kids need your heart and your mind more than anything else. If an opportunity arises with a wonderful lady and her little mackie, jump! Besides, the carrying will be done by doting grandparents and mom, you get the good stuff, the words!

    • I’ve been in touch with some spinal patients in an attempt to reach out. It’s so difficult breaking down that initial wall. When I think back to when I was in their position, I rejected help as well. If I keep knocking then hopefully I’ll be allowed in.

      Wonderful ladies are more than welcome, if you know any…… πŸ™‚

      • The kids might respond better though – heaven knows they could use a little encouragement. As to ladies, I live on the other side of the world, but if I meet any your side I’ll let you know-the only person I have there is a crazy wonderful uncle, actually I should send him round when you feeling down – he’s a complete nutter!

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