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Dear Rev. Trott

Before I start can I say that I'm not suffering from any mental abnormality, illness nor disease. I am suffering from depression but that's only because of the story I'm about to tell you.

Neither may I add do I exaggerate nor lie - my mind doesn't work quickly enough to think of an alternative scenario which would cover all eventualities, especially when I already have one. I prefer not to do anything for which I'd have to apologise some time in the future; if I do I'll take what's coming.

I'd been married for 24 years to one of the most beautiful, sweet, charming women God ever put on this earth and we shared three adorable kids, two daughters and eventually a son.

It was a warm, loving family and one I used to look forward to returning to at the end of a hard day. So it came as a pole-axing body-blow when on 12th April 1993 (Easter Monday) that she told me she was leaving me for my best friend.

He was someone we'd met some years before and he appeared very lonely with no friends. His idea of relaxation and enjoyment was driving around the highways and bye-ways of Kent on his motorbike. There were about three couples who used to hang out together, maybe taking a trip to the coast together and when returning made some sandwiches, a few bevvies and had a semi-party till the early hours (and if the kids were asleep, till they woke up in the morning) and it was to this close friendship we all had that we slowly introduced him.

I was in a daze for quite some time, trying to continue my life and looking after the kids but wishing I could just fade away but in time I pulled myself together with the tought that if others have done it so could I.

I noticed that friends, including my 'close ones' weren't so close as I thought they were, neither were any of her relatives (or indeed my neighbours) but I put it down to embarrassment but in time my kids seemed to be pulling more and more away from me more than their growing sense of independence and maturity could explain.

Cutting to the chase they now hate and loathe me. Although seperated geographically I've tried to maintain a fatherly attitude in keeping up a contact but it's always been only reluctantly used, to a point now that I haven't seen any of my kids for over eleven years and although I kept up a tenuous phone/email relationship with my elder daughter even that's stopped now.

It's been growing in strength and enormity since the split but it became worse when in 2002 I had to return London from where I moved and bumped into a friend of hers and hearing that we were now divorced told me what really happened on their 'girls' night out'. I felt the same body-blow I felt nine years before. I couldn't believe it. I then made the fatal mistake of texting my ex-wife and letting her know that I now knew what she'd been up to.

BIG mistake. It was only a matter of weeks afterwards that my son's attitude (with whom I'd always shared a tremendous relationship) turned 180 degrees and I haven't heard from him since and my relationship with my daughters became vertical though my elder daughter did try to maintain some sort of a relationship till a few months ago when she couldn't manage it any longer.

It only became apparent after some six or seven years the extent of her planning of this split; I now know that she told my friend of her intention of leaving me for him some 2-half years before she went, time enough to embarrass me in my job (from which I was 'let go' a month after her leaving), the distastrous and almost destructive amounts of debts which very nearly left me and my kids homeless and which brought about the sale of the property as she hadn't been paying my life assurance premiums which was of paramount importance as it was an endowment mortgage which necessitated a quick sale and the move to my present location.

There were many many more instances of her vindictiveness but for now I think I've made the case without boring you any more than I need.

My move down here hasn't been the fresh start I'd hoped for. I wanted to continue with my voluntary work I'd enjoyed in Catford after my enforced retirement on medical grounds and thought the local vicars would be in a unique position to point me in the right direction. Almost to a man they all ignored my text, email and subsequently a letter hand delivered through their letterboxes and again some years later when needing their help instead of offering mine.

My GP at the time couldn't resist the temptation of making snide comments, innuendos and after a couple of years almost falling off her chair laughing when answering her question as to how my depression was affecting me.

Trying to join a local volunteering bureau which had just started I gave two neighours' names and addresses as references and when I'd successfully received my clearance from the police as being free from any criminal activity I proudly showed it to the organizer who couldn't resist the temption of showing me the results of their canvassing of these references.

I said I'd prefer not to see them as if good I'd be embarrassed and if bad humiliated but she ignored me and continued with her anticipated pleasure. Of the two she just happened to show me the one which reflected badly on my physical appearance, something I've always been embarrassed about but till then had the luxury of thinking I was just being self-conscious. I remember the words to this day 'Don't be put off my has outward appearance'.

There've been many, many, MANY similar instances of humiliation when trying to be of some use in my enforced uselessness either by shear rudeness, incorrect concepts of an ulterior motive or entirely the opposite - greedily acceptance then squeezing like a tube of toothpaste.

I rarely go out now. I don't want to be shunned or be made a fool of anymore neither do I want to shock people by presenting myself as The Elephant Man's uglier brother so any necessary food shopping is made in the early hours of the morning and everything else over the net.

I did try to bring an end to this abject loneliness and misery by taking some pills a year or so back but they had no affect whatsoever, not even a headache so it would appear even God doesn't want me. It doesn't alter my desire die as merely rotting in the ground would be a far better prospect than the life I'm forced to live now.

As is always the case I've only given a very, very few examples but enough I think to show the complete misery, loneliness and bewilderment I'm faced with on a day-to-day basis and with monotous regularity.

I'm no saint, neither would I want to be but, hand on heart, I don't think I've ever done anything which could generate such intense and wide-spread hatred. I am the only common factor between the hatred of my erstwhile family and friends back home and my treatment down here, so who's wrong, me or everyone else? Or maybe it's just that God hates me.

If you're still reading this may I thank you for your patience and tenacity

Answer
14 December 2013
Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

Dear Dave,

First, please forgive me for not answering your question the day it was sent to me. The fact is that I overlooked an important detail: I should have arranged with ALL EXPERTS to become unavailable for questions temporarily because I had rotator cuff surgery on 29 October; it was an orthopedic operation on my right shoulder because the muscle had torn away from the sternum and there was serious damage to the biceps as well. So the repair was quite extensive. For several weeks I could not type. Nor did I have access to my Southwest Cyberport (stsaviour@swcp.com). I only just got home and am plowing through myriads of e-mail messages.

Especially do I feel bad that a person so needy as you are was inadvertently neglected, ignored, and indeed abused by myself without the intention to do so. Our Lord helping, I will try to make it up to you the best I can. Although I was privileged to be in London and Cambridge at a C.S. Lewis Summer Institute at Cambridge University in July 1994, your communication made me truly wish that I were a present resident of London instead of Albuquerque so that I were in a position to be a friend to you and talk with you face-to-face frequently because the help and grace of Our Lord who loves you with an infinite love and a true friend is what you need right now.

There is a story of a little boy who was afraid of the dark. In the middle of the night, he called out to his parents in the adjoining room, "Daddy, Mommy, I'm scared."

The father came into the room where he was and assured him that his parents were very near and deeply concerned about his welfare. Well, that was fine and dandy for a while; but the little voice called out, "Daddy, Mommy, I'm scared."

So once again Dad went to him and kindly said, "Son, I told you that we were nearby and you know what you learn in Church and Sunday School that Jesus is always with you. So if He is here too as well as ourselves across the hall, you really don't need to frightened of the dark."

Again, it was quiet for a while, when again the voice cried out with the same distress as he had expressed before. So the Dad dragged himself into the boy's room and went through the same encouraging reminder about the parents being in the next room and Our Lord being right there with him. Somewhat frustrated with talk and not action--however true the words might be, the youngster complained, "Yes, yes, Dad, I know all that. But I want someone with some skin on."

So I'm frustrated because I'm approximately 5003 miles from where you are. But I'm willing to help you the best I can under the circumstances.
I have downloaded your letter and carefully read it. I am going to pray to Our Lord about how to go about assisting you and think about it a couple of days and then I will then write you again.  This is not going to be a quick fix. You raise many issues for consideration. But we shall do our very best. AND KNOW I WILL BE PRAYING FOR YOU, DAVE!

Faithfully yours in Christ,

Harold L. Trott, Pastor
Church of Our Lord (Anglican)
Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

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Rt. Rev. Harold L. Trott, SSC

Expertise

I am able to answer general questions on the Bible, Christianity, Christian Living, Theology, and devotional life.

Experience

An Anglican priest, I have been in Holy Orders for 49 years and served in pastoral ministry all that time. I consider myself an Evangelical Catholic.

Organizations
Society of the Holy Cross

Education/Credentials
B.A. cum laude in History M.A. Equivalent of an M.Div.

Awards and Honors
Outstanding Young Educator in Albuquerque (1976) (Junior Chamber of Commerce)

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