by Stephanie | 7:24 am

Father’s Day – An Open Letter To An Absent Father

Dear father,

Being in my mid-twenties has shown me that in your lifetime you have to learn to walk on your own because there’s no last-long relationship that will walk with you throughout your whole lifetime. Growing up you were never around; I had no safe ground, no amount of child support could’ve given me what I wanted the most; a father.

You left me knowing the circumstances of the atmosphere I was growing up in, no remorse was ever shown, not even now that I’m all grown. I grew up thinking that you didn’t care, I swear that wasn’t fair. Life has taught me a lot of things and one of them is to never underestimate what it brings. Abuse after abuse throughout all of my life and now that I finally got the chance to see you…now I just feel used. I was expecting a care-giving, humble, honest, respectful, and sincere father, but instead, all I got was a drunk-drug addict who only saw the opportunity to take advantage of me. Trust me, now I see, just let me be me. I have already walked this road some years ago. Alcohol and drug abuse ruined my childhood. Don’t you see? You’re repeating the same patters that my mother took – the only exception is the physical abuse, for that I am grateful. At this point in my life I wouldn’t let any man – much less you – put a hand over me. I’m not the same little girl that I used to be. Abuse was all I knew and that’s all I aimed for not knowing I deserved better from both my mother and you.

letter to fatherThere were no regrets from your part when I told you my story, not even a tear shed after everything I said. That wasn’t the whole story, you only got to know some parts, the darker ones aren’t for the faint of heart. I had it rough and I have been through some stuff, regardless I’m still here and not even my mental health can keep you near. Depression and anxiety have always been my safe travelers but you don’t take it seriously and I’m almost sure you think I’m not even sincerely hurt.

Ever since you came back into my life I have tried to keep a safe distance, a distance from your problems, and your opinions, sadly I got caught up in them and now I’m diving my way into a neutral unknown existence. You see, the more I look at you and notice all of your negative energy, the more you resemble my mother and trust me, that’s not a good sign when an abused girl was just broken inside. Having two parents who were never around, who both were, or are alcoholics and abused drugs, that wasn’t a safe environment. What type of father let’s his daughter grow up in that environment? Like most men, you acted clueless as to what I was going through, but you have said it enough, you knew her. What made you think that she wasn’t acting the same way than the way that you knew her? She was not a good influence on me but of course, you knew her and what she was capable of; still, you didn’t provide me a safe home and I will always look back to that.

You have been telling me for the last three years that you have wanted to see me for the last sixteen years but you never made your move in searching for me, you were just always expecting one day I’d show up and little did we know that I did. I’m not happy and my answer will never change no matter how many times you ask me if I’m okay. I have been fighting with my demons throughout all of my life but I have also been battling yours. It was not supposed to be like this, it was supposed to be the other way around. You were supposed to be there for me but instead, here I am paying up your debts because I don’t want to die just yet.
absent father

My dilemma in the first place has always been the struggle to understand how a person would have a child if they’re not prepared to become a parent. If it were up to me back then, when I was a fetus, still no imagery, no function at all, just a simple seed planted in a tree where I wasn’t meant to be at, if that little seed back then could’ve chosen to be born or not, I’m completely sure I would’ve decided not to open my eyes.

There hasn’t been a day when I don’t question my self-worth, a day when I don’t hate myself for even taking a small percentage of space without feeling like I’m a baggage, but you don’t see that; you really don’t see how badly I’m damaged. The only person there is to thank is my grandmother. She’s the reason why I have managed to keep on going. I’m still growing and expanding my knowledge, I just hope one day I can make her proud of the women that I have become.

An absent father is what you have always been, no matter if you’re present your absence takes up all of the storage in my mindset. Storage full of absent birthday parties, lonely graduations, and non-existing conversations. That’s all you have ever been and after all these years of you being in my life that’s probably all you’ll ever be; a constant reminder of the loneliness and fearful moments that defined the absence in my life. You haven’t taken the time to change that. It has always been about you and your ignorance of wanting me to know you when you didn’t even have the decency of asking how life has been like for me. Your excuse has always been that you don’t want to open up old wounds, but by that, you’re only telling me that there’s no space for healing to take place. I have always fixed my problems on my own. I prefer to keep everything inside because that’s the only way I know how to survive. You have just been a prime example of what loneliness feels like, it’s okay though, you’re not the first person to disappoint me. I have walked down this path way too many times. You’re just another small puzzle piece to add to my million piece bundle of people that have lied.

letter to my absent father

I have to admit though that I’m a little scared. I get attached way too easily and another thing that life has shown me is that everything is temporary. What will happen to me when you’re gone? Where will I live? How will I get myself to the places that I need to go while being a disabled woman who can’t drive? I lived alone for four years and somehow managed to be completely independent, I still am just not in the way that I used to be, and that scares me. What did I get myself into? For someone who at age twelve thought she wasn’t going to make it to eighteen, being in my twenties has been a huge accomplishment and somehow I still can’t pad myself in the shoulder and give myself a break from being so judgmental towards the only person that I can still count on; myself.

I know you have tried, I have to give you credit for that but at the same time maybe you should’ve have tried harder. Maybe you should’ve listened to me the last time I told you to put the bottle down, the last time I gave you a loan for some money that you needed and you promised to pay it back and it’s been almost two years and I’m still waiting for that. Maybe you should’ve listened to my silent cries and the unspoken truth that never came out of my mouth. There were signs. You just chose to put what you didn’t do in the back of your mind with pills and alcohol you turned your back on me when you could’ve done things differently. You surely had the chance…I guess I’ll always be too broken beyond repair for someone to give me an opportunity and actually acknowledge that I’m hurting.

Here’s my letter to you, the absent father that was too over his head to lean an open hand to his daughter whom he’d let alone to wander around on this earth.

An open letter to an absent father.

Sincerely, your daughter

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Comments

Phil

What an emotional hero’s journey of a letter. I was struck by the emotion and openness, it was like looking into your own private thoughts with permission of course. It also made me think about my childhood and how all our childhoods shape us all in different ways and how we all dealt with it differently. For a year I wrote down some morning reflections which helped me and my brain process lots of lots and it felt this letter was a way of doing that. Did you feel that writing this?

Expression is a brilliant device and I am sure many of your readers will take comfort from how open you are with your thoughts. I admire your belief in yourself, confidence and of course there is a risk to bearing all in a digital world. Every line brought out a new thought or emotion.

I was reminded of inner child therapy and how we go back to give that younger us a big hug and give them everything they need both now and in the moment. It feels we all need one of those moments what do you think? I am very grateful to you for sharing.

Jun 20.2020 | 08:12 am

    Stephanie

    Thank you for your worlds and for sharing your thoughts. I always try to pour out my feelings into the pieces that I write. Sometimes it goes how I wanted it to go and other times it’s a weak reflection of my emotions. Regardless, it’s a force of healing and empowerment for me to be able to share this with the world. 

    Jun 21.2020 | 03:23 am

jyongwa

Dear Stephanie, 
This was truly an inspiring article that i have ever read, being able to openly address this part of you is such a brave thing to do. With all my heart, I want to thank you for being such a brave girl and sharing this to those that are going through the similar pain you have been enduring through your life. It’s a relief to see that you have a loving grandmother that had been with you long enough to show how special you are as a person. I’m sure your grandmother is so proud of you right now and forever. I have friends going through similar situation, and I will be sending this to them…as I am not able to fully understand what they’re going through, this article will definitely let them know that they are not alone and that they can be as strong as you are. I cant stress enough on how inspired I am with your article. The world needs more people like you. 
Sincerely, Rachel. 

Jun 22.2020 | 09:58 am

    Stephanie

    Hi Rachel! 
    Thank you so much for your kind words and sweet compliments. It’s been a hard road but the important thing is that we’re still surviving. I hope your friend is managing alright. 

    Jun 23.2020 | 11:31 pm

Tam

Thank you Stephanie for a heart-felt sharing. A big hug to you Stephanie.

One thing I could share after reading your story was that I was extremely grateful for whatever I had in my life. I took things for granted where people were having so much hardship and so many challenges in their life.

It was not easy to be this open and vulnerable like what you shared here with all of us. At the same time, I agreed that it would be a way for you to heal from the past. Despite the unhappy memories, I could still sense your gratefulness between words and lines.

Much Love

Tam.

Jun 23.2020 | 01:25 pm

    Stephanie

    Thank you for your kind words, Tam!

    Jun 23.2020 | 11:32 pm

Paolo

Ciao.

How important is the connection with our father. He shapes so many aspects of us. And at the same time there are so many that have not felt the love of a father. It takes a real man to be a father. So many things involved: a man’s word, a man’s purpose and a man’s love. So many consequences when a father is absent. The problem is that nowadays we don’t view an absent father as a big deal. That’s the real problem.

Oct 21.2020 | 04:21 am

    Stephanie

    It is a big deal. Children need that fatherly love and validation from both of their parents. When they’re lacking that then they tend to find it in someone else. If these people never wanted to be parents in the first place then why even bring a child into this world. So many kids are already suffering because of this. 

    Nov 01.2020 | 05:39 am

Bogadi

Wow ! Thank you Stepahnie for pouring your heart here. I got so engrossed into every word because they all have some weight of emotion. I could hear the cries of many kids with absent fathers, of which I am one of them. However I cant even imagine how your childhood has been with an  abusive mother still. I wish that absent fathers will read the letter and remember their forsaken kids. Wishing you complete healing as you heal others.

Oct 21.2020 | 04:40 am

    Stephanie

    Thank you so much for your words, I really do hope you’re managing as well. Take care!

    Nov 01.2020 | 05:36 am

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