Claire’s Story – Children returned from the Middle East

During the 10 years that my children weren’t with me I was asked an awful lot and told my story many times but today is not one of those days. Today my story is about survival and coming out the other side of what I can only describe as the worst experience of my life. It’s about becoming a survivor and not being a victim anymore which for a long period of time I was. No one ever seems to talk about the hurt the feelings so to speak of what this does to you, but I will try very hard to put into words my feelings and emotions during my journey.

February 2008 completely changed my usual feeling of contentment and fulfilment. Within a matter of seconds I felt like I had been transported into a movie. Was what i was hearing real? I was being told that my children were not being returned home to me by their father. Yes it was real but I just couldn’t take it in. Fear, panic and scared was how I felt, but I was yet to learn that those emotions only got worse. I remember going home from work that day after the call shutting myself away sobbing trying to think what I have ever done to deserve this. The truth is I hadn’t done anything. That night I came very close to doing something very stupid but I knew I had to pull myself together, I had to be strong for my children and that was what I intended to be. They were so young so innocent if I gave up who would of been here to fight for them for what the wanted and needed, I just couldn’t let that happen!

As time went on I spent hours researching writing letters and attending court yet there was no one in this country who would help me but I kept going. I even at one stage paid for a white witch who I found on the internet to send me some sort of stone which was supposed to hold magic and bring my children home. You see writing it now I sit and think how silly that was but at the time I would of done absolutely anything.

I never up until now have ever spoken/written about my feelings and how I truly felt. I always remained strong in the eyes of most people but quite honestly I felt broken, the feeling of being a mum had gone. Obviously I knew I was and I fought on but inside I felt alone, scared and unheard. I wanted people to actually see how I was hurting, I wanted someone to just hold me and tell me everything was going to be alright but in reality no one saw that because I wouldn’t let them.

Other than finally talking about my feelings to an extent (I don’t think I am ready to totally open up) my main purpose is to let you all know that there is light at the end of sometimes a very long tunnel.

As time went on I had to accept that this was now my life and that I would be estranged from my children until such time that they would make their own way back to me. That day was closer than I thought. Nine years later I was reunited with my daughter, followed by my son later that year. Now without going into the story behind it as I said I wouldn’t I can only describe this time as being the end of one emotional traumatic journey and starting an even harder more soul destroying one.

To watch the damage that had been done, the lies my children (more so my eldest) had come to believe, the anger and feeling of abandonment they felt was shattering. Breaking down was not an option. To me life when they were gone was a lot easier than what I was facing now. As I write that it sounds completely selfish, there are many of you that even now would give anything to be in that position but the honest truth is that your journey does not get easier. No one ever speaks about the reality of being reunited it is not happily ever after its completely the opposite.

Now our stories are all different but for me and my family TIME is what we needed, support, love, affection and understanding is what my children needed from me and that is exactly what they got.

As I sit here writing now in my garden on this beautiful sunny day I look around and take a breath and know that my journey is far from over, there will be many new hurdles to jump but we are a family.

My children are becoming who they always should of been. They argue just as any siblings do over the smallest of things. Here I sit listening to them with a smile. I have my family back.