Those who have followed my struggle over the last 15 years will know I have collected a few favorite quotes on my journey, which I used for illustration or inspiration.
Early on, especially when lined up for target practice in our family-law killing fields, I liked Churchill’s advice: “When you are going through hell, keep going”.
Gradually I surprised myself with what lay within and I thought Albert Camus explained it best: “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was within me an invincible summer”.
I came to understand I was being tested in some way. But for what? I saw Billy Bragg, a singer songwriter and champion of social justice at the Sydney Opera House. Something rang true and a lyric of his resonated within me more and more.
He sings “A virtue never tested is no virtue at all.” It got me thinking. You hear the phrase “unconditional love” thrown around a lot these days, but how many of us are truly tested on what this means? I can tell you that a parent who has lost a child to the nightmare of parental alienation is utterly tested on this.
If your love is unconditional it is impossible to walk away and so you suffer at a primal level on top of the death by a thousand cuts in other ways. But you keep turning up for more. You actually walk the walk rather than just talking the talk. I think this is why Karen Woodall wrote “The greatest love of all is the love of a parent rejected in this landscape, lost and alone and in pain and yet somehow, anyhow, there when the child finds the road home.”
But for me, the quote that I’ve clung to the most comes not from a poet or philosopher but from a disgraced politician. It was Richard Nixon who said “Only if you have been in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain.” These powerful couple of minutes of his speech are well worth taking in if you have never heard them. https://youtu.be/T__XuNTnpXg
I have been waiting so very long for this day. Today, after 3173 days, my daughter came to see me and it was magnificent.