Disclaimer: In Real Life is a platform for everyday people to share their experiences and voices. All articles are personal stories and do not necessarily echo In Real Life’s sentiments.
The last time I saw Devesh, my son was in July 2010, when he was 9. It’s been 10 years and I have not seen or uttered a single word to him.
That day, I had brought him to a river for swimming. He spent the whole day with his cousins and playing in the water. He was laughing throughout the whole time, having fun and enjoying the day.
Later that day, on the way to sending him back, for the first time he requested something. He asked if we could get KFC to eat. Obviously, I was not going to say no to him, especially because it was the first time he has ever asked me for something.
However, we did not have enough time to dine in so I packed the food and gave it to him to eat when he was back in his mother’s house.
10 years have passed and I have not seen him since. Our last encounter was when I sent him off with KFC.
The birth of my child caused differences in our marriage
My plan was to live a bachelor life and focus only on my career, at least that was the plan, until I met my ex-wife.
I met her through a mutual friend. At the end of the night, I offered to drop her back home. After all, she was living close to my place.
We were talking throughout the car ride back home and she gave me her number. One thing led to another and we got married.
After a year of blissful marriage, she got pregnant. We came to an agreement that during her maternity leave, she would stay with her mother and after she started work, we would move in with mine.
On November 1st 2001, my son was born. It is still one of the most memorable days to me.
I booked a hospital room with 2 beds, so that I could stay the nights with her. Unfortunately, on the day of Devesh’s delivery, we found out that there were complications and natural birth was not an option.
When the doctor brought my ex to the surgical room to perform a C-section, I got a call from a close friend. He broke the news to me that his wife just gave birth to a baby son. An hour or so after, my son was born.
The moment I looked at my newborn, something changed. There was a jolt of electricity in me. I could feel shivers travelling down my spine but it was the best feeling. It is when I realised it’s not about me, it’s all about him.
Devesh had to be hospitalised for a week and my wife was discharged. I picked her up from the hospital to send her to her mother’s house. On the way, she asked if we could get Mcdonalds.
While eating, she said “I need to treasure every moment I have with my husband, now that we have a child.” I did not think much about it and played it off.
Two months later, we moved into my mother’s house. My mom would help us take care of Devesh when we were not around. During this period, we had our ups and downs, but nothing we could not solve.
One day, we had a big argument and within 15 minutes she packed her bags, took our baby, left the house to her mother’s place. She even took all the photos we took of our baby with her.
I gave her time to cool down after she left, before giving her a phone call.
She picked up the call and said she wanted a divorce and refused to talk about it. I confided in my friend regarding the issue, he wanted to help out and decided to talk to her about it.
Fortunately, my friend managed to get through to her and made her agree to meet up with me in her mother’s house. Her brothers were also present during the meet up, however they never intervened in our issue and stayed neutral throughout.
Her brothers did advise us. They suggested that we hang out and talk about the things that can save this marriage. After finishing the discussion, before leaving I asked if I could see Devesh to which their reply was that he was sleeping.
In other words it was a no.
I went back to dating stage with my wife
The years following that, We would meet for dinners during our dates. Our conversations would be about everything except for one, our son.
Whenever his name came up, she would start tearing up or getting angry, claiming that I am only interested in knowing about him.
As a father did I not have every right to see him and know about him?
This went on for about two years until one evening when we went for dinner. She suggested that we should for a vacation. I enthusiastically agreed, adding that we should bring our child with us.
“No, we leave Devesh behind,” She replied.
That was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
“No, if you want to keep our son away from us as a family. This is not what I want,” I disagreed.
“Do you want a divorce?” She responded, to which I agreed to.
Getting a divorce
Although, we agreed to get a divorce. Years passed where nothing happened, neither of us filed for one.
We even tried to salvage the relationship by going to marriage and counselling but nothing worked out.
In 2006, I got in touch with one of her brothers and met him in their house. When I told him I have not seen Devesh since he was 2 months old, her brother was shocked.
He brought pictures for me to see of my son. And for the first time, I got to see how my son looked. He had grown into a young boy.
A week or two later, I got a divorce petition. The court awarded the divorce, since it was mutual and naturally the custody went to my ex which I did not contest.
Although she opposed my visitation rights, she preferred that I do not see him at all . The court concluded that until the court decides, I can see him alternative Saturday.
In the beginning, she had to come with Devesh since he had no knowledge of me. This went on for about a year, where she refused to acknowledge that I could see him without her supervision.
This was brought up in court, and ruling in my favor, the judge decided that I could see my son without his mother overseeing everything.
I don’t think his mother ever told him that I was his father. I think he only started figuring it out when he would visit me and my relatives would mention things such as ‘go give it your father.’
I am assuming that is when he got a clue or started putting the puzzle together that I was not just a friend, I was his parent.I taught him how to play badminton, he played baseball for the first time, we would wrestle. We would act like we were friends more than father and son.
There was once I bought for him a toy gun and we would pretend as if we were shooting at each other. When it was time for him to go home I asked him if he would like to bring it back. He insisted on not bringing it back and leaving it at my place.
I sensed something was off, and asked “Would your mother not like it?”
I only got silence as a reply and brushed it off.
‘That’s fine, you can leave it here then,” I replied to break the silence.
A couple of months later, there was a bit of a change. I’m assuming they pressured him into thinking that he was not happy to go out with me.
When I picked him up, he would come out of his house as if he was being forced. His head would be down and he would drag his feet. When he gets in the car and I drive off, he would scream excitedly, “So what is the plan today?”
To this day, I still have his swimming suit in my wardrobe until today, waiting for him. It definitely is too small for him now though.
I could not see him anymore
After my last encounter with him, when I went to pick him up again, he would not come out of the house.
Instead of him, his mother came out and claimed that he did not want to see me. There are times I have asked if I could ask him if that’s true. Maybe I could say something to convince him but my ex would not allow it.Why could I not go to the court?
She fired her former lawyer and hired another. This lawyer had the mindset of doing anything to win and not seeing both sides.
But in the end, they did not get what they wanted. The judge allowed me to visit my son every 2 weeks. However, since she fired her lawyer, the lawyer would not be able to court order and serve it to me.
When the court order is served each party has to do their obligations. This went on for about a few years until I went to the court to get the order to serve it to her.
Unfortunately, it would keep returning the sender.
There are things that I can do to meet him. I could have staked out outside his house waiting for him to come home or gone to his school to see him.
Except I did not want to create a scene or add more pressure on my son. It’s not a healthy situation for him to be in.
What do I want my son to know?
I wish I could have been there more for his birthdays. I have only celebrated it one year with him, I was lucky enough for it to fall on the day that I visited him.
We got cake that year and celebrated with a few relatives. He is 19 now, a legal adult. Hopefully he would reach out without the fear of getting cut off or whatsoever.
On Facebook, every year on his birthday, I am wishing him happy birthday. I am not sure if he sees it, but it’s there.
Knowing him, he does not seem to hold grudges, he has a very positive outlook. I am guessing he is not angry at me.
A few years back, I found his social media account. His instagram account was public, which meant that I could follow him.
When I followed him, he instantly changed his account public to private and then removed me. It was not the result I was looking for but I hope he got the message that I did not abandon him.
I hope that I can see him one of these days. I want to get to know him as a person. I want to learn and understand him. I have so many questions for him such as:
What kind of songs does he listen to?
What cuisine does he enjoy?
What does he want to do in future?
When he was younger, he said wanted to become a doctor. Is that still the case or has it changed?
Maybe just go for lunch with him and catch up. I just want him to know that I love him.
At the end, this whole thing taught me a lesson. In life, there are always setbacks but being revengeful should never be an option.
Having revenge in your heart is only going to hurt you and bring yourself down. If you let people affect you like that, you are letting them win.
For more stories like this, read: My Daughter Was Taught by Her Mother to Hate Me – Here’s My Story and Divorce: How Things Get Ugly and What You Should Know Before Marriage.
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