he didn’t bother to show up for court.
There’s more content to that remark in the broader context of this topic than you may realize.
Many years before I was made the villain-caricature in my own little melodrama, my brother had been done even worse by his wife. They had two very young daughters, born in the most rural section of northern Wisconsin, where it had been at HER insistence they relocate to, to do the “back-to-the-land” thing. When the younger was still a baby, she just took off one fine day with them and FO-ed to Ohio, to her parents’ suburban paradise representing everything the both of them had sworn they wanted out of (if you had any idea how many versions of The Hippie Dream I have seen turned into the VAWA nightmare…)
He just let it go. He never went after them, never filed any motions in his own jurisdiction to get them back, just went on with his life and accepted the absolute loss of his children, and suffers for it to this day.
For the longest time I held against him how he had handled the situation, which was not to handle it at all, by doing nothing.
But after being drawn and quartered myself the way I was years later, more than once (I have another child too, and hers, with a different mom, is not much prettier of a story either), I now fully understand why he never lifted a finger. He knew going in, what I had to take years learning myself:
what would be the point?
My dad told me a story just the other day of how my niece, the younger daughter, now a young lady and (single…) mother in her thirties, had posted, on my brother’s birthday, a gushing tribute (on, of course, farcebook, that ersatz substitute everyone uses now in place of genuine human contact) to her fourth stepdad to follow after him, on what a hero he was, on how he had always been “there for us” (I despise that phrase), etc, etc.
This was not only my brother’s birthday, but his sixtieth birthday, having not seen his children at all for most of their entire lives since the 1980s. Adding to the pathos was the fact that he is the second of my mom & dad’s three children, but our sister had passed away many years ago and so he was the first of our generation to reach that sextegenarian stage of life. It was, or should have been, a big, big day for a man, and for his entire family, which his daughters had been surgically removed from long since.
The alienated father has a whole different meaning for the phrase “to add insult to injury.” And it never seems to stop being added.