Roy Page is a father of two and an owner of an established marketing firm with multiple locales. He is also divorced. Not uncommon in this age where over half of all marriages end in divorce. As the divorced father who manages a successful business, spending time with his children was more difficult. Page decided to write an old-fashioned letter to his son Evan. Pouring his heart and thoughts onto each page, it became the kind of letter every child needs to receive and read. Once this was pointed out by his counselor, Page made the decision to allow the letter to become the opening chapter for A Letter to Evan: An Average Dad’s Journey of Discovery and Discernment Through Divorce. Page is not a counselor or advisor. He wants to share with other parents the healing that can occur with divorce or any other life challenges (separation from children, sickness, travel relocation).
Q: Why did you feel it was important to write a letter to your son, Evan?
A: As any parent separated from his or her children by divorce knows, being an effective and loving parent when you are not an active part of your child’s daily life is difficult. When my son, Evan, who is an exceptional athlete, suffered a lateral tear to his right shoulder and opted to have surgery to repair the damage, it forced his mother and I to put aside our differences and focus on his needs. I spent my days at home with him and as I witnessed the remarkable way he handled his situation, I was amazed by his grace and courage. I began to think of all the things in my heart that I’d never shared with him, the things I hadn’t done or said, and the ways I had failed him as a father. So I did what comes naturally to me. I began to write it all down in a letter, pouring out my heart. I wanted Evan to know how proud I was of him, how much I loved him and that no matter what happened, I would always be there for him.
Q: What made you decide to share such a deeply personal letter with others?
A: After I shared the letter with a trusted mentor who told me it was the kind of letter every child needed to receive, I decided to share it with others as a way of honoring Evan. Our children can often be our greatest teachers and my son has certainly been one of mine.
Q: In the book, you mention feeling as if you had lived through a “perfect storm.” What was that “perfect storm”?
A: Within the short span of two years my father died and everything that was familiar and comfortable to me was ripped away. My marriage of 20 years failed and my once-thriving business of almost 15 years began to change and erode. Fueled by bitterness and desire to win legal battles at any cost, my net worth began to evaporate. At the same time, I was incurring a host of new financial obligations in an effort to maintain a large home for my ex-wife and the children and also a small house for myself. The emotional stress that came with all this change was significant and everyone around me was sucked into my own personal experience, whether they chose to be or not. I realize that what I endured might seem trivial to some, but for me, it all came together in such a way to fit my definition of what a truly perfect storm can be.
Q: Do you believe you are able to show your love for your children as well now as you did before?
A: While I have never loved my children less than I do now, I truly do feel that it is easier for me to show my love and affection now than it was before my marriage ended. Prior to the divorce, when the tension in my relationship with the children’s mother was high, I was never in much of a hurry to get home from work and even looked for excuses to avoid going home. And when I was home, I wasn’t really present most of that time because I was too preoccupied with my own anger, resentment and frustration to be fully aware of what was going on around me. None of my family relationships were at their best during that time. Now I can fully commit my energy and attention to being a father. I can intentionally invest in my children and enjoy our time together. I am a better listener now, a better advisor, and most certainly, a better parent.