Growing Up Without a Father

I walked purposefully. Unaffected. Strong. It had hit like a 2 tonne truck on my frail structure. But here I was no broken bones, no bruises. I simply got up, fixed my skirt and kept on walking.

Up until the age of 14, that was my attitude. I was strong, I was smart and I was confident. I loved the person that I was. It’s not that I thought it hadn't affected my life. That would have seriously delusional.

But I did think that despite it all, I turned out great. Then one day as I was walking purposefully, unaffected and strong and I noticed a man walking down the street holding in each hand the hands of his two young daughters and this time it even harder than the first time. Suddenly there came this awareness that I had lost something.

Yes I always knew that I had lost a father, but in that moment I realised I had also lost something else. I had lost an experience, an opportunity. I had lost the chance to get to know a person. But the loss that hurt, that still hurts the most is the fact that I don’t actually know what it’s like to have a father on earth. Even though I have father figures in my life and one day I will have a step father, I will never be able to go back to being a little girl, totally dependent and trusting in her Dad. I saw these 2 little girls and they were so trusting. It was like they had this protector over them and I had to wonder what that must feel like.

I don’t know if I have the words to express the impact of realising that you have missed out on a vital and basic experience in life. It’s an experience that many people take for granted so I am not sure if I can explain. I assume that most people have a mother and father, whether separated, divorced or bad parents. They have them. They have had points in their life when they didn’t realise their parent’s faults and they just had this person in their life they trust. I don’t any memories of that point in my life with my father. I can’t even imagine how it feels to be that reliant on any man. In no way am I trying to say my loss or my situation is any worse than anyone else’s, I am simply trying to build a picture using comparisons.

I mourn because the word ‘Dad’ feels strange to say. It’s not a word I have ever had reason to use. When I see other fathers and daughters I mourn that though I can intellectually understand their relationship, I can’t ever truly know it or know what it feels like to be someone’s daughter.

I am not writing this to bring a downer on anyone’s day. Actually to be honest I don’t know why I am writing this. So here’s what I will say, appreciate those in your life that you love and love you back. Appreciate what you have together because there’s always someone out there that doesn’t have it. I know writing this I appreciate the people I love just that little bit more and I am so thankful that they love me back.

And to those who have lost a loved one, whether it be mother, father, brother, sister, husband, wife, friend, etc. You are not a widow(er), or fatherless or motherless or friendless even. In the same way God has been my Father, he will be your Father, your Friend, your Partner, in fact your Everything. After my father died my mum pointed out Psalm 68: 5 to all her children “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling” that reminder of who God is, made a world of difference.

So yes I have lost my father on earth, but I know have my Father in heaven looking out for me and boy does that put a smile on my face.

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