• Trevor Cooper

Writing a Will - An alienated parents experience

Warning: The following blog covers subjects including childhood abuse and trauma, depression and grief.

In this 2020 Coronavirus pandemic and the never-ending Melbourne lockdown, I reinvigorated my effort to write my Will. I had reconciled more than a year ago, the fact that I would not be able to rely upon my alienated daughter, so tasks like managing my affairs, such as a medical power of attorney, that will hopefully never be required, would be carried out by a brother or nephew (that have both agreed). I had been procrastinating for years on my Will and decided to see my psychologist who pointed out that if I could not fix things with my daughter while alive, I am unlikely to succeed when dead. It was that simple perspective and way of thinking (that psychologists are so good clarifying), that made things easier. I downloaded a Will kit days later and included all the information suggested for a standard and simple Will into a briefing document. When you have had no contact with your alienated child for years, not sure if even alive, let alone an address or even a country where resides which are details that are normally stated, then I figured this was not a standard Will and emailed off to the solicitor. It also turned out the reports may be correct that during this Melbourne lockdown, suicides are up and there has been a flood of inquiries for wills and the return calls from my email were non-existent even after following up by phone, so contacted another law firm

It was weeks after sending off the email for the Will and power of attorney that it was my nieces wedding, which by strange coincidence was 7 years to the hour after the funeral service that I had organised for my mother (an alienated grandmother). The simple pleasure of being at the wedding had been crushed by our state premier weeks earlier and the wedding invitation revoked to comply with the draconian lockdown laws imposed. In the weeks leading up to the wedding, I sent my daughter a picture that I had taken at on one of those holidays back to Australia at the Melbourne Zoo featuring her cousin and her sitting on the bronze seals, reminding her of the wedding and followed up with the zoom meeting link in the days leading up to the event. Like every email for years, they were not responded to, leaving me not knowing if the email account is monitored, if my emails are automatically binned and never seen, ignored, or read and appreciated but cannot reply as that would be a betrayal of the alienating parent!

On the wedding day, I decided to make a cake as I would do for every important occasion in my daughters’ life, not realising the grief that such a simple task would bring. Not having my daughter participate on such an important occasion was almost more than I could take. Fortunately, a friend had agreed to attend the wedding and we dressed up and managed to cast the wedding onto the large screen television, drank champagne, a walk (within the draconian 5km restriction along the beach) and dinner (which included for dessert, a slice of the black forest cake that I had made). Certainly, the most unusual wedding I have ever attended with no bridesmaids, no groomsmen, masks on the parents that were also the witnesses, and everyone participating via zoom, but the couple were so happy!

It was the next day I rang the solicitor and asked why the requests from weeks ago had not been responded to and an appointment made for the following day. While all this happened in the last week, I must say the inability to attend my nieces wedding, that my daughter was not there, eleven years of alienation and then making the appointment for the Will compounded with the months of isolation from the Melbourne lockdown made those 48 hours possibly the most depressing I had experienced in many years.

That following day was made very easy as the solicitor who turned out to be a member of the same service organisation and shared similar views as to the management of the hotel quarantine fiasco, pandemic management and the impact on society. He had read the 4-page brief which outlined the background, lawyers name in the Netherlands to track down my daughter if needed and so there was only a few questions. There were or course some special details such as the requirement to read the book I had written as to the circumstances of why I was not in her life, before benefitting from the Will that were quickly discussed. Some may argue that reading my book may be a good or a bad idea, as may either relieve her that she was loved and deserving of a parents love, or leave her with a profound regret that we never reconciled and suffer grief, for the loss of the relationship taken from her. That is just one more dilemma that an alienated parent needs to consider, for the welfare of a child they no longer know, but still love. When doing a Will, it is most important to realise that children that are alienated are forced to reject a parent in what the experts will confirm is psychological child abuse. I know of too many parents who have their child returned to them after years of this abuse, which have manifested in self-harming and other destructive behaviours and needing years of love and help to recover. I know the damage is real and long lasting as outlined in my book and confirmed by experts as real. To remove a child from a Will, because they were abused, makes little sense and would only justify the rejection of the targeted parent that they had during your life. I believe it is far better to continue to let them know they were loved, even in death. But I am just one, just one opinion of the hundreds of thousands of targeted parents there.

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