The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:
I’m a woman in my 60s. Two years ago, I learned my former husband had passed away. I now regret that I didn’t let my son, who was fathered by my former husband, see him again while he was still alive.
We divorced when my son was 18 months old, and I married a second time when he was 5. When my son was at university, I told him about his biological father, but he said nothing about wanting to see him.
After getting a job, my son took on further studies at graduate school. He lived on his own and studied hard toward his goals.
After a while, however, he took a long absence from school and came back home. He told me he had been regularly seeing a psychiatrist. He sometimes said negative things about his biological father because he may have been distressed. He started to work as a temporary part-time worker, but he soon quit each job, probably because he didn’t feel rewarded.
Two years ago, when I learned of the death of my ex-husband, I told my son I should have let him meet him. In response, my son told me he would have had no idea what to talk about with him, even if they had seen each other.
I’ve blamed myself, thinking that my son wouldn’t have been anguished for such a long time if he had met his biological father.
Although he managed to start working as a regular employee this spring, I still feel gloomy.
S, Saitama Prefecture
Dear Ms. S:
Your letter tells me you’ve led a sincere life.
You regret not having your son meet his biological father before he died. You probably did it intentionally as you had a strong belief that he should wait a little longer. I suppose you were concerned that your son would be disturbed further by seeing his biological father when he was still in ill health both mentally and physically.
We sometimes have to face unexpected results from decisions we made believing they were for the best. However, it was the only and best decision for the person when he or she made it. If your son had seen his biological father, he may have become more unsettled.
You must not regret your decision nor blame yourself. Instead, you should clearly show your affection for your son with your current husband, who has raised him as his own child since he was 5. You should also make efforts to deepen your familial ties with each other.
Junko Umihara, psychiatrist