Family

Mom Receives Best Note Ever From Son After Divorce From Abusive Husband. Wow.

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VIA| I’m a divorce Lawyer. At times I feel as if I’ve heard and seen it all. But ten years ago, a woman walked into my office with a whole new agenda, and neither my life nor my practice has been the same since.

Her name was Barbara, and as she was shown to my office, wearing a rather “plain Jane” outfit, I guessed her to be about nineteen and fairly innocent.

I was wrong. She was thirty-two, with four children between the ages of three and nine. I’ve heard many brutal stories, but the physical, mental and sexual abuse that Barbara had suffered at the hands of her husband made me sick to my stomach.

Yet she finished a description of her circumstances by saying, “Mr. Concolino, you know, it isn’t all his fault. My children and I have remained in this situation by my choice; I take responsibility for that. I’ve known the end to my suffering would come only when I decided I’d suffered enough, and I’ve made that decision. I’m breaking the cycle.”

I’d been practicing law for fifteen years at that point, and I’ve got to admit that in my head, I was getting great pleasure from thoughts of nailing that guy to the wall.

“Do you believe in forgiveness, Mr. Concolino?” she asked.
“Yes, of course,” I said. “I believe what goes around comes around, and if we try to do the right thing, good comes back to us. The clients of mine who have withheld forgiveness have withheld it only from themselves.”

Those words were so common for me that they practically spoke themselves. And yet, if anyone had cause to be full of rage, Barbara did.

“I believe in forgiveness, too,” she said quietly. “I believe that if I hold on to anger at my husband it will only fuel the fire of conflict, and my children are the ones who will get burned.”

She gave a tremulous smile. “The problem is, kids are very smart. They can tell if I haven’t truly forgiven their dad … if I am just saying words. So I have to really release my anger.

“And here is where I need a favor from you.”

I leaned forward across my desk.

“I don’t want this divorce to be bitter. I don’t want all the blame put onto him. The thing I most want is to truly forgive him, and to have both you and me conduct ourselves accordingly.” She paused and looked me in the eye. “And I want you to promise to hold me to this.”

I’ve got to say, this request was against my best lawyerly business advice. But it fit my best human advice, hand in glove.

“I’ll do my best” I said.

It wasn’t easy. Barbara’s husband had no interest in taking the high road. The next decade was marked with his ugly character assassinations of her and repeated periods of nonpayment of child support. There were even times she could have had him thrown in jail but she never would.
After yet another court session that went in her favor, she caught me in a corridor. “You’ve kept your promise, Bob’” she said, and she laughed, “I admit that there have been times I wanted to curse you for making me stick to my beliefs. I still wonder sometimes if it’s been worth it. But thanks.”

I knew what she meant. In my opinion, her ex continued to violate normal standards of decency. Yet she had never responded in kind.

Barbara ultimately found and married the love of her fife. Although matters were settled legally, I always enjoyed getting her Christmas card, hearing how the family was doing.

Then one day I received a call. “Bob, it’s Barbara. I need to come in and show you something.”

“Of course,” I said.

Now what, I thought. How long is this guy going to keep at this? How long before she finally cracks?

The woman who walked into my office was lovely and poised, full of so much more confidence than she had possessed ten years earlier. There men seemed to be a bounce to her step.

As I stood to greet her, she handed me a photo an eight-by-ten taken during her oldest son’s senior year in high school. John was wearing. football uniform; his father stood to his left rigidly and coldly. The boy himself was looking proudly at his mom, who stood close to him, a warm smile on her face. I knew from her Christmas letters that he had graduated from a very well-respected private high school.

“This was after he caught the winning touchdown in the championship game” she grinned.

“Did I mention that game gave their team the number-one ranking in America?”

“I think I heard something about it”‘ I smiled. “Read the back” she said.

I turned the photograph over to see what her son had written.

Mom,

I want you to know that you have been the best mom and dad a boy could ever have. I know because of how Dad worked so hard to make our lives so miserable. Even when he refused to pay all he was supposed to pay for school, you worked extra just to make sure none of us missed out. I think the best thing you did was what you did not do. You never spoke bad about Dad. You never told me he had other “new” kids to support; he did.

With all my love, I thank you for not raising us in a home where the other parent was the bad one, like with my friends who went through divorces. Dad is and has been a jerk, I know it, not because of you, but because he chose to be. I do love you both (you would probably still slap my behind if I said I didn’t love Dad), But I love, respect and admire you more than anybody on the face of the earth.

Love,
John

About Barry G. Morris

2 Comments

  1. joe westmoreland

    June 15, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    I must say this women is one among a lots of other women that need our admiration and support , its terrible that these thing happen to familys and its great to know who is the most in fault and that the kids are taken care of, children should never have to go through anything like that it takes a lot of love and care these days, but I most say being a father of four children not all from the same mother Ive been Married three times now and I true fully cant say that I was at fault here, its not easy when the other has boy friends sometime more then one its devastating to a men and children also not always women are the incent one in my case my two first wife,s not at the sametime there was 8 years between them the first just because I wouldn’t do like my first wife parents wanted in church , I just couldn’t do that in church it was a lay , they did everything in there power to get red of me we was merried for 3 years had to kids 8 years latter I met a women and thanks to God we got merried and was meried for 8 years we had a son and I worked very hard and a lot of hours to make a way for my family, but it was for not , I found out that most of the time that id been merried to my second wife that she had a boy friend and I almost died really I came very close to it, each time I merried in my life I love very deeply I never meast around on my first or second wife,s any way God toke me out of my second merrage and I came home the love I felt then well carrie with me all though my life love never dies it alone last for ever we just learn to live with it , now I fianely have a family that thinks something of me and I think God every day for them , this was very well needed in my life, I know that anyone with time and a little prayer can find the right person with Gods help, I cant stop the love I fell for my ex,s but I can move ahead and have a life and love again, we have a little girl of 25 years old now and we love her dearly.

  2. Mark Shippy

    June 17, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    That is a awesome story about how that lady was so strong with dealing thru a bad marriage. I love my mom even after she had abandoned me as a kid along with my siblings. She never raise us and never saw her until my teens, It was a hard thing to deal with at the time. But I never had a chance to meet or talk to my dad, And don’t know any of my Family on his side. My grandmother saw us on the news and found us all in foster homes, And raise us the best she could. At least I can say I’m ok with where I’m at today and proud to be me. But I wish I had a mother just like that lady. This made me feel good reading her story, She had to be a loving mother and a strong lady, And her son saw that in her got to love it.

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