October 25, 2018

The Story Within By Vickie Stam

For me, there is always a story behind the story. They go together like pie and ice cream and my favourite, peanut butter and jam. Often there's a trigger that sets the story in motion leaving me with a craving for a quiet place and my computer. It's the perfect combination for a writer.

I'm just not able to predict where the story will go once it's been plucked out on my keyboard. Will I hit the send button, firing it off to a writing contest or will I hit print and read it out loud in a writer's group? I might even tuck the pages away, keeping them for my eyes only.  

Like most author's, I have stories in the works that still need to be completed. Somewhere there is a final chapter anxiously waiting to be written.  

For example, there is not a day that goes by without me thinking about the growing number of parents and children who are estranged from one another. 

I write about my own experience because I am one of these parents. Often times, it's my son's picture sitting on the end table in my living room that sparks the urge for me to write.  

I know that I'm not alone. I've met other parent's who are also separated from their children and all us for various reasons - hence the story behind the story. Mine is the result of a divorce, yet all of us share one thing in common --- an unfathomable pain. It's a sorrow that can be very overwhelming and has the potential to define our lives, if we let it. 

For most parents, their children are their lives and the pictures they have are meant to be cherished but for us there are times when these pictures serve as a sad reminder of a relationship that once was. 

Estrangement truly is a silent epidemic, one without a voice. It's a topic that's not an easy one to talk about. The fear of never reconciling here on earth is real and writing about my own experience helps me to manage that fear. It takes the sting out of life and helps strengthen my resolve that God is at work in the midst of this growing phenomenon.

In the meantime, I have to make a conscious decision each day to keep moving. Be happy! And when I struggle to find that joy, God lifts me out of my grief and places me in the arms of my wonderful husband, Tony whom I've been married to for twelve years.  

Funny thing is, we were like oil and water - a farm boy and city girl. Yet, here we are. Married. I'm a farmer's wife! That's something I never imagined because words like hogs, weaner pigs, manure, soybeans, planting and harvesting were just not a part of my world. It's definitely been a learning curve; one that I love.   

Even with this new life, I struggle to escape the painful things from my past. I feel a need to communicate, let things out in a way that feels safe. So writing for someone other than myself has always been a big deal for me.     

Tony was the first person that I ever shared my aspiration for writing with. And I will always be grateful for his willingness to offer a gentle critique, one that is born out of his love for me. He recognizes the long-standing pain in which I often write from.   

Everyday I crave this odd mix of oil and water that we've claimed as ours even though it may not sound like the perfect combination. You can be sure that behind this story, there is a story within - one that weaves a tale that only God himself could write. An unforeseen love story.    

August 5, 2006


  1. Thank you for this honest post, Vickie. I agree that this is a growing phenomenon - I know far too many people in this situation. It is somethingI cannot even fathom having to face... At one point in my younger life, when i was a young mom, I was close to this circumstance with my father. I was stubborn and angry and probably felt entitled... I am glad we ended up making up and estrangement never occurred.

    1. Hi Vickie! As I read your post I can feel it. My wife and I can relate to your "estrangement." We go through day after day in our lives yet there is a pain we don't talk about to many people. Perhaps he will call us. He may allow us to see his children again. At this point we have no idea when he will be part of our lives again. It is a dicey situation. He said he didn't want to hear from us at least for the time being.
      Thank you for such honesty Vickie. We can't do this part of the journey on our own. I'm happy you have Tony.
      You and I have been writing buddies for a while now. I thank God for you. You get it! I look forward to the day we can embrace our sons again. Please keep writing my dear friend!

  2. My heart goes out to you, Vickie. I too know people who have experienced this separation of parent and child. It is an experience that seems almost unspeakable, and still God has given you the freedom to write about it. In doing so, you open this box of "unspeakability" for someone else. You may never know who your writing reaches and who needs badly to pry open their own box of unspeakability. May God bless your words and fill your heart with healing and his forever love.

  3. Hi Vickie. This post hits me personally but in a good way. You bring out the situation of estrangement with such clarity, honesty and vulnerability. Thank you for being willing to write about such a tough subject! I too have and continue to experience an estrangement in my life (in my case with my father). It has been one that I felt necessary if I was to heal and move on and yet one I am very silent about as I don't meet with much understanding. One Christian woman's mouth literally fell open when I told her that I hadn't seen my father in 25 years (it's 31 now....as old as my oldest son is). There are deep and private and complicated reasons for an estrangement and Nobody has the right to judge or think that they have some simple easy answer. Your words, "Estrangement truly is a silent epidemic, one without a voice. It's a topic that's not an easy one to talk about. The fear of never reconciling here on earth is real" pretty much describes the experience for those of us who still have not found a voice over this very difficult subject. It really does place us in a world apart from those who don't deal with this. And yet, I agree that is a growing epidemic. Thank you Vickie for letting your voice and your writing skills speak to this. And much blessing to you on your healing journey and your faith journey as you walk with God through this. Situations like this are very much like the well known Footprint Poem where we can only survive with God carrying us through the most difficult parts. Please keep writing your stories. You have so much to offer and share and in doing so become part of another's healing journey :) ps. you will be in my prayers


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