Dear Daddy (An Open Letter to an Estranged Father)

An Open Letter to my father that was never there:

Dear Daddy,

Or really should I say Dad? Or Father? Or maybe Stranger is the proper title. But how can you really be a stranger when I have photos of me with you. Today is hard for me, just as it is every year since you’ve been gone. Every wedding I’ve attended I’ve watched the father-daughter dance with envy. Always wondering what it would be like for me when my day would come, and my father was nowhere to be found. I have no real happy memories of us – no real memories at all. Growing up with no father to lean on, I had to find my own way, learn about life the hard way. I was ashamed of who I was, because I was ashamed of who you were. I always felt a little incomplete coming from an incomplete family.

Luckily, there were other men to step in and fill the gap. Men who weren’t afraid of being a father and understood how much it meant for a little girl to have someone strong to look up to. To these men – uncles and friends’ fathers who took me under their wing, I will always be eternally grateful.

For years I was bitter and resentful because despite the kindness of others – the incompleteness never went away. Bitter, because I’ll never be able to take back my childhood and be the girl I once was. Yet, your weakness made me strong. I never had a father to rescue me from the world: instead, I had to be my own hero. I was forced to learn at a young age that no one will be there to save you – so you must rescue yourself. I’d like to think you somehow intended for this lesson to be learned, which is why you left my mother there to raise three children on her own – but I feel that may just be wishful thinking.

This day to me now is just like any other, but it is a reminder to me of the hole left there in my heart. A hole that will probably never be completely filled. Stranger who gave me life, know that I understand life is as complicated as the ocean is deep. Although I make silly decisions and sometimes still dream of what life would have been like had I had a complete childhood, and at times I am still remarkably bitter, my life would not be mine if it weren’t for you. I’m no longer insulted by your abandonment but instead I’m sad. I’m sad that you felt you had to leave in order to find something more worthwhile – because I don’t know anything more worthwhile than the family that raised me. You really missed out – because I’m no longer the little girl I was.

 

 

 

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