Just a mere lurker, but I had to login upon hearing this. Your story is one of the few that sears the heart even when one remembers it offline while going on about life. There are no medals and epaulettes for one dealt with such longstanding treachery and systematic removal of agency, but one who stood strong without faltering and succumbing to temptation. It is a life to celebrate and cherish. I still keep hope that you will be back in no time having vanquished one more pesky little thing that life threw at you!
In case we don't hear from you again, I wanted to tell you something a saying in my mother tongue I had heard as a proverb in childhood: "He who protects, nurtures, and nourishes his tribe is their true father. The one who brings them into this world is just an excuse".
You have been a true father to all your kids including the one your (f?)WW never gave you true agency about for her own protection. And yet you protected her from her own demons as well. Congratulations Sir! on a life lived with grace, dignity, and integrity. There is nothing to be ashamed or feel less about. I'm sure the son whose genes you don't share will go on to tell his grandkids that among his life's greatest fortunes was to have you as his father. You're now the stuff of legend and lore... and that's our connection to eternity as humans. To live and smile in other's eyes long after we're physically gone.
A PSALM OF LIFE
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.
Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.
In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!
Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,— act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o’erhead!
Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;
Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.