We Never Said Goodbye

July 9, 2023

Sometimes a song can express feelings which cannot be communicated through any other medium. And recently, I heard an old song for the first time that reminded me of my three lost daughters:

“I guess it never hurts to hurt sometimes” by Randy Vanwarmer

VanWarmer was a “one hit wonder,” and the song that made him famous was “Just when I needed you most”:

“Just when I needed you most” by Randy Vanwarmer

This second song which brought him fame is one I’m very familiar with because it came out in 1979, when I would have been 18 or 19 years old (depending on what month the song hit the airwaves). This particular song is one of those that are almost too painful to listen to, not only because of the haunting melody but the depressing nature of the lyrics: a love that was untimely lost.

Coincidentally, “Just when I needed you most” came out during the time when I had broken up with a girlfriend I had fallen deeply in love with; that breakup, believe it or not, still affects me to this day, 44 years later. Though it was I who broke up with this particular girlfriend, the loss of our relationship devastated me; this song accurately captures that loss.

I don’t believe I had heard Vanwarmer’s second song, but it recently came up in my Youtube video feed for some reason and I listened to it for what I believe is the first time. The background for him writing this song was over the death of his father.

I thought of my kids when I heard it; that sinking feeling of deep loss from not having a relationship with them for going on twenty years is such a heartbreak, a true wounding in the soul of a father who deeply loved each one of them.

Part of what makes this song so powerfully moving is in its simplicity: just a guitar and a voice. No fancy riffs or complicated instrumentals: simplicity which makes it all the more emotionally potent and gripping.

Here’s the lyrics:

“Sometimes I feel a wave
Of the past break in my mind
And I know it’s gone for good
And it makes me want to cry.
Is this all we get to keep
As the years go rolling by
Just a memory
For all the days gone by

Oh, you’re always in my heart
Your often on my mind
I will never let it die
Just as long as I’m alive
And sometimes it makes me sad
That we never said goodbye
But I guess it never hurts
To hurt sometimes.

You try and hold on to the moment
But time won’t let you stay
But for every step you take
You lose something on the way
You can’t look forward to tomorrow
And still hold on to yesterday
I just hope that you can hear me
When I say:

That you’re always in my heart
You’re often on my mind
I will never let it die
Just as long as I’m alive
And sometimes it makes me sad
That we never said goodbye
Well I guess it never hurts
To hurt sometimes.

Yes, you’re always in my heart
And you’re often on my mind
I will never let it die
Just as long as I’m alive
And sometimes it makes me sad
That we never said goodbye
But I guess it never hurts
To hurt sometimes.

No, I guess it never hurts
To hurt sometimes.”

Losing one’s children to Parental Alienation (PA) may be worse than death. In death, there is a finality to the loss, a grieving process a parent can go through until finally, one day, he or she knows their beloved child will never be coming back. In this acceptance, there is, I guess, a “coming to grips” with reality, accepting that reality, and life can begin moving forward as best as it can.

But PA is a living death, a death which has no ending because it has no beginning. What makes a relationship that has ended, not because of death but because of a forced separation, so difficult to deal with is because you cannot complete the grieving process. Hope, in this case, is torture; my kids are not coming back, and this has been the most difficult of places to accept.

Finally, after 20 years of hoping for a reconciliation, I understood it was not going to happen. And for my own mental stability and healing, I simply had to acknowledge this reality and allow myself to finally move forward.

This is one reason why this song affected me so much, because of the line that says,

And sometimes it makes me sad
That we never said goodbye

I never got to say goodbye to my kids. How can you say goodbye when they are still alive? This is one of the many myriad of counterintuitive reasons why PA is so brutal and cruel: it is a living death, a death by its very nature does not allow you to move forward after the loss because there are no graves to visit and lay flowers at.

I think one of the final nails in the coffin for me was when I missed my daughter’s wedding. I was not invited and did not attend her wedding. I never got to walk her down the aisle and “give her away,” a hope every loving father holds in his heart for a daughter he loves and cherishes.

For my sake, I knew I had to finally let go. I knew I was continuing on a destructive path where I feared the place I was heading towards. Every life event that a normal family passes through—birthdays, Christmases, graduations, etc— was taken from us and now, perhaps one of the greatest of all life’s events, a marriage, was also taken from us.

Many alienated parents emotionally, psychologically, and physically fall apart because of these losses. Some take their lives. For me, I realized, after 20 years of constant losses and now missing my daughter’s wedding, that this thing was not getting better but progressively worse. And the future was not looking any rosier.

Would I be a part of my grandchildren’s lives? No, of course not. I never met my daughter’s husband. Would I get to meet my own son-in-law and enjoy his company, perhaps his friendship? Of course not. I finally had to accept this and move forward.

For these and many other reasons, this song has profound meaning. But in a strange way, it helps to bring needed finality in my life.

One of the many reasons I no longer follow the faith I was raised in is because of the brutality of life and the false reliance on hope which that religion erroneously imparts to people. It was drilled into me throughout my lifetime that, if only I “believed” enough, I could move mountains. This was put to the test time and time again and was proven 100% false, a reliance on sinking sand where I never found a solid bottom.

Hope, where there is no hope, is a destroyer. Relying on hope where there is no hope is what causes some parents to put bullets in their brains. I knew my very survival depended, in some large parts, to getting rid of hope, to stop relying on myths and half-truths and face life on its own oftentimes brutal and unforgiving terms.

My hope now is in the afterlife, that place beyond the grave, where, I believe, all things will be made right and where reconciliation will occur.

When my daughter never invited me to her wedding, though she may not have purposely or intentionally intended to hurt me, this was yet another crushing and devastatingly blow to me as her father. What father wouldn’t be shattered by this form of extreme rejection?

And the twisted reality which I have been slowing coming to is this: my kids have become clones of their pathologically disturbed mother. My ex, deeply mentally imbalanced, set out on a campaign to destroy me by using the very people I loved more than life itself to turn against and reject me: our children. She has spent the last twenty years or so separating them from me, and now, my children have adopted that twisted mindset and now exist, in part, to separate themselves from me. They have become, in many ways, exactly like her.

When this realization struck me, I better understood what I was up against. It is like going to an experienced stock broker for advice on buying stocks. One piece of advice he or she might give you is “follow the trends.” In other words, if a stock is trending downward, you would be foolish to buy that stock thinking it is going to make you money, and vice-versa. Determining the direction of a particular stock is one key to making money on that stock.

For me, what direction is my relationships with my daughters going? This was an easy one: only downward. The clear and unambiguous direction of the past twenty years with them has been in only one direction: down. Thus, hoping this would change was foolish when there is no indication to the contrary.

Now, I must emphasize my kids are not at fault in this. As I have repeatedly stated elsewhere in my blog and wish to emphasize again, they are innocent victims to an expert brainwashing scheme perpetrated by their mentally ill, vindictive mother. They have, as yet, not waken up to this reality, this salient truth.

This said, they have also not yet realized they have—long ago—been slowly transformed into her very image, so much so they cannot see how completely conformed to her they have become. Without realizing it, they have now adopted their mother’s pathological and destructive mindset: they now, and for many years, have automatically excluded me from their own personal lives in a path of continuing on the exact same course of rejection their mother taught, mentored, and modeled them to do: my ex rejected me, excluded me from their lives, and now my children, by default, do the same with events in their lives: total, absolute, and complete exclusion. In this the old saying is true: “the nut doesn’t fall too far from the tree.”

I believe, one day in the distant future, long after my bones are mouldering in the earth, all three of my daughters will wake up and realize what happened to them. They will slowly begin to put the pieces together what their mother did to them, and to me. The day of reckoning will come.

I had to make a call for self preservation. Like watching a stock for years and being able to somewhat predict its movement, I realized any hope for reconciliation with my children was like investing in a stock whose only direction was consistently heading south: I was in a losing position—for twenty years.

Brainwashing is a powerful reality in many people’s lives. I was in an evangelical cult for the vast majority of my life. I now know, intrinsically, the power of brainwashing, and how the most effective brainwashing of all is when it lies hidden and deeply buried from the very person who claims they are not brainwashed.

This is the position I strongly believe my kids are in at this very moment: they are brainwashed and have absolutely no clue how completely and thoroughly they have been brainwashed against their own father.

Coming out of a brainwashed state can take a lifetime—like in my case. For my kids, I predict a similar path, but I hope I’m wrong and they “wake up” as soon as possible. And I want them to know I have never stopped loving them, but a father has to survive, and, when he currently—and finally—understands the path of the stock, he acts accordingly.