This is a soul post in my road. (Take a breath. Pause.) These are the words that come to me before I reveal myself. I am working to deepen my empathic, spiritual journey in life and this is part of it, with no regrets. First, allow me to present the context in order to frame what I am about to share.
I don’t have a relationship to speak of with my son, whom I love dearly. There is no pain in that statement, just truth. I don’t know why I don’t have a relationship with him. I have reached out to him over the years and he will reply, then disappear again as if I were not here. I desire a relationship with my son. He is my only child. His mother and I broke up when he was one year old. The reason why isn’t important to this story. I took the high road in the divorce, I gave up everything, paid child support, on time every month for 18 years, and had him in my custody every other weekend until he was emancipated. When his mother mellowed to where she needed to leave him with me to go on missionary work, he would be with me for a month or so at a time. I never ever bought women around my son; he knew one woman throughout that time and I was married to her. She respected and loved my son as best she could. She didn’t love herself as she suffered from depression but in reality, she was very good with him.
As he got older we talked about my divorce from his mother and he noted that I never said anything bad about his Mother although she would say terrible things about me. When he asked why I never said anything negative about his mother, I told him, “that is your Mother, we all love her and respect her.”
I was grateful that I was enough of a man to never disrespect his mother in front of him no matter how she felt about me. When she needed me to deal with him on a matter or issue, I was there.
When my son dipped his toe into the waters of manhood, I told him about my growing up without a father, how I missed out but in its essence, it made me the father that I was to him. I was patient with my son, I didn’t embarrass him, I talked to him. I hugged him and kissed him no matter how big he got. I guided him in love and he became a gentleman, well-loved, well-liked, and worldly. I can say that I believe I was a good father to him, but somehow, he chose to disconnect with me, the father who wanted to be in his life— the father who grew up fatherless and knew what that meant to a developing man.
When I was relieved of paying child support from the City of New York Child Support Enforcement Agency, they sent me a letter that basically said, “thank you”. They never had to look for me, when I moved I notified them and when I hit rough patches financially, I always caught up. Unlike my own father who never, ever paid a day of child support for my sister and me.
My son’s mother and I never reconnected. Her anger at me never really subsided and she really didn’t want anything to do with me after we broke up, so even talking reasonably about our son was very rare. And maybe he formed an opinion of me and internalized it based on what his mom said. I don’t know and I can’t fix that.
The Lord in his infinite wisdom gives us lessons of life and I want to impart my knowledge to my son in a way that I hoped would be personal. In the meantime, this is the forum I have and maybe one day he will read it and see that it comes from a real heart that loves him and desires a real connection with him.
My Beloved Son,
I had hoped to say these things to you in your magnificent presence. Maybe one day you will allow that. But just in case the universe determines that it can’t happen that way, here is what I want you to know about being a man:
Being a Man is a Blessing. You have the divine pleasure of walking through life like a lion. Strong, smart and wise. Exercise these traits in everything you do. But never forget love, love of self, love of family, love of mankind because all of the hope of life, and the energy from within my soul and your Mothers lives within you whether we are physically here or not. Carry the pride of spirit that drives you in the recesses of your Panamanian, Jamaican, African, American ancestors that flow through your arteries. Protect the weak, love God first and love your family in truth and passion.
You are lucky enough to have recently married a young lady that I haven’t had the pleasure to physically hug and welcome to the family, but she was gracious as God is good to reach out to me and speak. I felt her spirit and I sense the goodness in her. Her desire for us to all be one in truth and in life. You chose well. Honor that. Honor her and continue to worship together as you were raised and continue to walk in life together, but don’t be the kind of man who is unable to humble yourself to her. Listen to her, take her advice. When she is in pain and you are the cause of it, take the heat, apologize and live the apology. Any woman you love deeply and passionately deserves the work you can put in to fix the mistake. Most of all learn to forgive yourself as you will make mistakes, and never ever lie to her, tell her the truth even if it hurts her because, in the end, she will respect you for it even if it doesn’t appear that way initially. Simply, Love her as you Love yourself.
Maintain your health and ask the universe to remove from your bloodline the physical ailments that afflict us due to living lifestyles that are contrary to our ancestral African DNA. I have learned that diabetes, high blood pressure, and glaucoma run in our family and sometimes skips a generation. Through a healthy lifestyle and trust in God, you can ensure that these ailments stop flowing through our bloodline. Work diligently to end the cycle and ensure that you exercise, eat right and do all things in furtherance of your well-deserved longevity in our frail human form.
You are the only child I have— you are my offspring—born of the love your mother and I felt for each other in order to conceive you. When I welcomed you into this world, I felt a depth of love and connection that can only be from that moment of life given from God. I was in the delivery room with your mother, and as she felt your arrival, the doctor called to me asking, “Mr. Madison are you afraid of blood?” I responded, “As long as it isn’t mine, I am cool.” Little did I know the next thing he would ask of me was to hold your Mother’s left leg, to act as the stirrup that her legs were strapped into because of her strength…she broke the metal stirrup and her leg was strapped in and the stirrup was flailing in the room and too close to the portal of your entrance. I did what was asked without hesitation because you were what mattered and we owed you a safe arrival. From that moment forward my love for you only deepened.
Your Mother asked me to name you and I labored over that name for months. I took the spiritual approach; your name means EXTREMES in fortune, health, and spirituality. You are very versatile, idealistic and intuitive. You either enjoy great success or suffer abject misery. The solution is service to others. Use your leadership abilities for humanity and not for self-glorification. You are intuitive and might be interested in the arts, drama or science. You are always looking for a chance to do your own thing, to be your own person, and to have things done your own way. Your middle name is Muslim and means “thankful, grateful.” And to top it off, I said your name out loud several times, because I knew the woman who would love you in a way that you wanted to be loved would sing your name. Say your name, listen to how it flows. No one can say that name in anger, it flows off the lips like water to a thirsty man. Your name is beautiful and it was meant to be a reflection of your place on earth.
How we got to this point in life given what we have meant to each other, I don’t know but it doesn’t matter. We can still fix this while we both breathe, YES, I miss not getting Fathers Day cards (you drew them as a child) or calls. I cherish the picture you drew in school about 9/11 and the plane hitting the towers and how close you knew my office to be during that horrific event and how 30 days prior to that, I had been to the observation deck of the World Trade Center with you and took pictures for your birthday. I did that to show you the world, to show you what is possible if you create a foundation in truth, love, compassion and empathy.
I am a Highly Sensitive Empathic individual as a species of human. The key to this Super Power is this: you have special talents and abilities to bring to the world. The beauty of this is that when you do things you love, using the abilities you naturally possess, in a way that helps others, everyone benefits. Including you.
You have attended Church from the time of conception and you have been immersed in the church as you have grown. Keep in mind the word of God. In Proverbs 3:6 (TLB) “In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.” Love, Life, Happiness are yours to achieve if you keep the Universe and our Heavenly Father in your sights and seek to be an instrument of his will. If I have done anything to offend you that has caused this disconnect, I humbly apologize.
As for me, whether you choose to communicate with me or not, I love you, I walk with you, I eat with you. Whether I do so while on this earth or as spirit, I am your earthly Father. You are the height of anything I could have ever hoped to achieve. You have the best of me and I love you absolutely.
We can always start anew on your terms at your time in a complete blanket of forgiveness and love. I thank God daily for you. I know that you will elevate everyone you come into contact with and I am proud of the man you are. I always will be, and if you ever need me for anything, I will be right by your side. If I don’t have that privilege, know this: In my last earthly verbal and mental thought, your name will be in the sentence where I thank God for the gift of life, my love of life and my love for you. Trust God, trust and love yourself and when you have time, think of me fondly and our lives together when you felt you needed me all the while knowing there hasn’t been one day in my life I have not thought of you.
We both read voraciously—you read so much as a child. I find meaning in the words of authors far more eloquent than I am. On my road of acceptance of self, this particular phrase lives with me:
“You are the divine idea in the mind of God, sharing the peace, light, joy and love of God.”– Iyanla Vanzant
Your fathers—the earthly and the Divine One—both love and cherish you, my son.
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Photo credit: the author