THE PAIN OF AN ESTRANGED DAD
Fathers are supposed to be there for their daughters. Being a daddy’s girl, he was supposed to provide me with masculinity; teach me respect and boundaries, help put me at ease with other men throughout my life, adjust my crown and catch me when I fall.
I spent all my life hoping that a FATHER will miraculously show up on my doorstep, reading every book and story about daddies and their daughters praying that God would bring mine back!
Papa left us when we were little. At first, I didn’t notice the absence of a man who used to work far from home and he would show up on weekends. My life being idyllic, living in a comfortable home with lots of toys and surrounded with love how could I notice a thing. I was never able to get to know him; the food he liked, TV shows he watched, if he was football fun or whether he loved us.
I don’t remember ever feeling the warmth of his arms. I don’t remember much about him even ever having his love. Our paths often crossed but the routes quickly faded. Mom has been my cheerleader and my best friend, always being there for me and listening even when no one else is. She has always reminded me how proud of me she is.
How she raised me and how she was there for me made it easier to live each day. The way she stepped into dad’s position single-handedly without leaving room for him to be missed was amazing. She has been our strongest support system.
As I grew into a young woman I felt a gaping hole inside of me. It kept growing as days passed; no father to bring to father-daughter treats, no father to walk with me to the church, no father to hug me and assure me things will be okay even when am not feeling like it. No dad to wave me at my presentations, or high-five me over my achievements. When every moment kept passing, the bigger the hole seemed to get.
I remember many times I would look at the mirror and ask myself “am I not good enough”, every birthday I would cling to my phone waiting for him to miraculously text. He has always been a fuzzy memory that keeps creeping in my life. He’s always everywhere, in every family at dinner, every couple in the streets, and in every girl, I see with their father.
I don’t know what I ever did not to deserve such kind of love, the first love, the love I was supposed to have. Fathers are the first male figure we see when we open our eyes, they are our first love, the first men to hold and protect us. The bond is supposed to be strong. He is supposed to be the one to fix things around the house, interrogate the first boyfriend and walk us down the aisle.
Every day I wished things were different. I wished he saw my best report cards. There were so many things I wished he could have seen, things I could have shared with him. I missed him and every time someone told me I had his eyes, his lips, I looked like him or I smiled like him it hurt.
And then mom received a call in 2012 that he had died, I was shocked- not shocked at the same time. I covered my resentment and hurt with a shrug, I was angry for once again being disappointed. If only I could put away that hollow ache that haunted me and say ‘I miss the dad that you never were’.
I never cried, I was already through the grieving moments with him, the thought of making up with him or the relationship we could have had. I only had some weird emotions coming at me. For one, a relationship he tanked and now he is still not here, GONE FOREVER. I wake up every morning asking myself if today would be the day he would have swallowed his pride and connect with his kids.
Sometimes I wish he could answer me how he felt abandoning us? How did he expect me to heal! Why he married my mom? His feelings about us? Could he have walked me down the aisle? Who did he share his childhood stories with? What were his regrets in life? His greatest fears? But most of it all, did he love us, and what that love actually meant.