Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Believe it or not

I was at the Palace of Westminster again yesterday - my first day back at work for three weeks.

Regrettably, there were no sausages on sticks, it being the 'afternoon tea' menu of sandwiches and scones. It was, however, an opportunity for the first time in a while to meet lots of my counterparts from across my industry, many of whom had been wondering what had happened to me over the last twelve months.

It is notable how different people handle the information you give them. A fairly senior Labour politician whom I know through previous work engagements, said to me as kindly as he could that, with all due respect, the story I tell is 'unbelievable'. I can't do anything but agree. It is. I wouldn't have believed it myself a few months ago, but I can only offer my personal testimony as to what has happened. It's impossible to give a thoroughly edifying account of the last year without lots of documents and even more time, which doesn't help.

I must sound like a dreadful conspiracist, but equally, who in their right mind would give up their son wilfully to fuel a conspiracy theory?

One chap in my office today told me how he had to turn off last night's edition of 'Panorama' on the case of Baby Peter, because it was upsetting. I've seen comments on this blog that suggest that my own words make uncomfortable reading for people. I sadly acknowledge, but make no apology for that, for as long as that upsetting account is a faithful rendition of the life I have been forced to live, and for so long as the system keeps condemning fathers like me to situations like mine. One day I hope my experience might simply be a historic account of a long-remedied injustice.

I want to identify, though, the Christian gentleman (and having been advised of this blog's existence, I hope he recognises himself) who took particular time and care to hear what I had to say, and prefaced his remarks by giving me the unequivocal assurance that he believed me, and believed in me. To that end, he said, I did not have to convince him of my credibility or the absence of an element of story to which I was misleadingly not alluding, but rather just to tell my story.

He and others were exceptionally kind to me during the course of the afternoon, but I cannot begin to explain what it means for someone to tell you they believe you, no matter how far-fetched your tale might sound - even, sometimes, to your own ears.

The industry I work in has always been, in one regard or another, a family to me. By extension, it is already in some respects a family to you, and untold kindnesses, many of which must remain untold for now, have come our way over time.

My counsellor suggested that many people, faced with the situation I am in, rather like when someone has suffered a bereavement, just don't know what to say. I can understand that. Until it happened to me, I wouldn't have understood, either.

Beyond telling you your Daddy's story, I hope that over time, this blog will affirm and validate the lives of fathers like me, and I hope it will open people's eyes to what, why, and how we suffer; perhaps offering them some valuable insight into how to help.

I want also to thank people like the friend I met today, whose word in season did me no end of good.

Sometimes, just being believed is the best thing in the world. When your story is 'unbelieveable', it reminds you that you are held in great esteem.

In days such as these, people like me need to know that.

Love from Daddy

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