I couldn’t write this on Monday when it happened. I don’t know if I can write it now, but my life is my music and therefore I feel obliged to write something. Anyone who knows me, knows me as Ben with all the children. On Monday I was informed, told that my two eldest (11,13) will be leaving with their mother for the North of the country. (10 hours drive away.) I can fight against it, but I won’t “win”. Who wins anyway? The decision has been made, and I wasn’t asked. I was just “asked” to agree, or if not, I would be foreced to agree by the courts.

My heart broke again and again, and again until it couldn’t break anymore. I have to be careful. I know myself, and I know I have always looked for dramatic situations and turns which keep me on my toes. But this time I have to do two things: I have to accept the pain – the indescribable pain of having the two people I have put most of my life into taken from me without asking. I have to accept it and let myself feel this pain, allow myself to hit the ground, and not deny the shock and severity of it all – what it does to me both physically and emotionally. The second thing is just as important: I have to allow myself to stay down in the depths of this torrid despair…but only for as long as necessary. I have to go on. I have to pick myself up and accept the situation.

I’ve learned that I have to question myself: Did I want this? Was I looking for it on some level? If so, why?

The hardest thing seems to be the part associated with my identity. These two children have formed me. They are part of my identity. Being their father is what I am. The washing, the caring, the cooking, the joking, the fighting, the apologizing, the patience, the impatience…it’s me. And now I feel less “me”. Our plans are gone. I was fighting for more time with them, as I have done the past years, and to be honest, I turned up to the meeting with part of me expecting to hear I was going to get it. It was only the second time we have met or spoken in 7 and a half years. 7 and a half years.

The day it happened (Monday) I could understand those who give up, or change forever after such an event in their lives. But I can forgive. I forgive. As I teach my children to forgive, I hope. And at the same time, all the songs I’d ever written made sense. I went to the radio station, prepared the show for the following day, and listened (and cried) to every song I played. Dumbstruck, dizzy, lost, there again, falling, standing, angry, empty, full of resolve…everything. I feel as if someone has died. I am tired, I need rest. I pick up the guitar and sing and the channel to my heart and my emotions is simply too direct for me to cope. I lose all my strength quickly. Breathe. Take stock. I have to learn to walk before I can run. I have to learn to crawl again before I can walk.