Dear Dave -

When I was 13 years old, my parents divorced. A few months later, I had my bags packed and ready to go for my routine “weekend visit,” with my mother…..I went up to the door only to find that no one was answering the door bell. I frantically ran to the back and looked through the glass door…but much to my surprise, I saw that her townhome was completely empty. There was no trace of her to be found.

I sobbed and sobbed, alone on the curb. Devasted. Scared. What did I do? Did she not love me anymore? I always thought that no matter what she and my dad had been through, she loved me too much to ever abandon me.

She was nowhere to be found. We could not track her down and those closest to her would not tell us where she was. I remember really hating those people for not telling me where she was.

Of course being a kid, I didn’t always have the verbal skills to articulate my feelings very well, so I instead spent many nights crying myself to sleep and missing my Mom so badly I could hardly breathe. My dad took me to see a child psycologist and I was diagnosed with clinical depression at the tender age of thirteen. I should have been spending my days having fun with my friends and enjoying being a kid, but instead, my biggest concern was WHEN my Mom was coming home and if I was somehow responsible.

One day, at the age of 14, I decided that I just couldn’t deal with the pain anymore. It was just too much. I felt unwanted and unloved. Even the kids at school could sense my pain, and like animals in the wild, I was “easy prey” for them. I had no hope left.

Little did my dad know that I was contemplating suicide. I mean, he knew I was depressed, but I shared my suicidal thoughts with no one. One day while my dad was at work, I decided I was tired of suffering, so I took the entire bottle of my dad’s pain medication, along with ALL of my anti-depressants.

Only by a complete miracle had my dad tried to call and was concerned that I didn’t answer. He found me blue, barely clinging to life, and with urine all over me.

He rushed me to the hospital where the doctors worked frantically to keep me alive and to prevent my heart from stopping. Two days later, I woke up in the intensive care unit.

I spent the next 3 months of my life on suicide watch in an adolescent treatment center for depression.

This story is completely true and I have felt compelled to share it with you for quite some time. I hope that this will compel you to PLEASE PLEASE maintain your relationship with your children.

I know that you are not a heartless person and you would not be able to live with yourself if something happened to your children. I know you love them. It’s impossible not to love them. But please understand that they, like me, feel scared and abondoned. They cannot and will not understand why you have done what you’ve done….and no matter how much Alison loves them and is there for them, she cannot be “you” to them. They need YOU, they LOVE YOU, Dave.

I plea with you to please contact them. Like me, their little hearts are aching and there is a huge void that only you can fill.

I also feel compelled to tell you that my Mom finally did contact me. I was 15 years old when she called me out of the blue one day. When I heard her voice, I fell to my knees crying. She sobbed uncontrollably and told me how much she missed me. She apologized profusely over and over again for leaving me without explanation.

Today, my mother and I have a great relationship. Although she has attempted to explain to me her reasons for leaving, I can honestly say I still don’t understand. But none of that matters now. I have long forgiven her and we are closer than ever.

By the grace of God, I am alive, I have a wonderful husband, a beautiful life with two children of my own, and my Mom is the best grandmother to her grandchildren. I shutter to think of all that I would have missed out on, had my suicide attempt been successful.

There is still hope, Dave. Let NOTHING or NO ONE keep you from your children. Please pursue them, while there is still time. Please do not let them think that you do not love them.