The loss of a child is so immeasurable in the universe of grief that the English language in fact has no word to describe a parent who loses a child.  The words “widow” and “widower” impart the image of one who has lost their mate through the inexorable march of time.  We all suffer losses like this because everything is temporary.  Nothing is permanent.  Everything goes away.  We get old, we get sick, we die, our friends die.  This is a part of the cycle of life.  What is not normally a part of the cycle of life is to lose a child.

Yet one of the things about life not commonly discussed are things that are worse than death.

When I was a young teenager I cared for an elderly woman taken by Alzheimer’s disease, an illness that cause the destruction of the brain in such a manner that the person normally cannot function and in fact lives in a state of constant flux, coming in and out of clarity.  I recall watching her grandchildren come to visit her once and watched her start to cry, because of the realization for that brief moment of what had happened to her.  It was heartbreaking.

I watched my father, a pediatrician beloved in our local community slowly die after his stroke and subsequent brain surgery.  I remember him asking me to bring his computer to him, and he sitting their staring at it, unable to function.  He was a brilliant man.  He played classical piano, was knowledgeable about art, music, literature, poetry, history.  He knew something about everything it seemed.  So it was awful to behold his greatest asset, his mind, being taken from him.

What does this have to do with PAS?  My wife is a victim of PAS.  She has not seen her son in over four years.  This disabled young man was taken from her by a father who used the child as a weapon in a divorce case.  It was not enough that she lost her house, her car, and never received a penny of support while he ended up with the community property business and even after agreeing to pay all the debts, refused to do so, driving her into bankruptcy.  He had to make sure that she was hurt as horribly as possible.  This is the mindset of the narcissist.  If you oppose them, they destroy you.

His grandfather died without ever seeing him.  She thinks about him often.  He is always out there, alive, and she wonders how he is, what he is doing, what his life is like.  There can be no closure with parental alienation.  It is a wound that never heals, it is a sore that never closes.  It is, in many ways, a worse fate than a child dying.

People don’t understand that if they haven’t seen it.  The pain and suffering is unimaginable.  Unspeakable.  And what is particularly shocking, most of all, is the cold, calculated indifference that victims of PAS sometimes face when they go before the court asking for relief and the stunning tactics deployed by amoral attorneys who know how to use the inherent flaws in the system to get paid.

I have been accused of having an agenda.  I do.