This morning, I sincerely wished my friends who are fathers or who have/had fathers a “Happy Father’s Day”.
When I did the same last year, a friend jokingly commented on my Facebook post asking if those who were “immaculately conceived” need not apply.
I simply explained that some of us never knew our fathers; we were never given the opportunity so the observance does not in fact, apply to us.
I don’t want to put a damper on the celebration or happiness of others, so I generally keep my experiences/feelings/pain surrounding this particular holiday (as well as mother’s day) to myself.
Then other people started sharing their stories of divorce and being kept from their fathers.
Still more started sharing their stories about having their children kept from them.
It was then that I was reminded that while I don’t want to ruin the day for others, there are many others who need a place to vent and share there feelings.
In addition to not having, been kept from or losing a father, some were abused by fathers or step-fathers. Yeah, I got the double bonus in the “father” department; one I never knew and one who abused me.
People who were abused as children feel a wealth of pain and anger, and even guilt for being estranged from/not loving their father.
This is a difficult and painful day for so many people; many of whom are spending their first Father’s Day without their fathers or the fathers of their children.
Yes, they may have happy memories, but to them, this day is a painful reminder of their loss.
I have no words that will comfort those who are feeling pain and loss today. I have no words at all other than.
“You are not alone”.
I do however have words for women who are keeping children from their fathers. Actually, they are words for anyone keeping a child from a parent.
Unless the child is in danger/being abused, there is no excuse to keep a child from their father just because you think he’s an a$$hole.
My mother left my father when I was barely three years old.
I have no memory of him at all.
I never even saw a photograph of him.
When I would ask my mother what he was like, she snapped at me, “You don’t want to know what he was like, he was a terrible person, all he cared about was money. He is incapable of loving anyone, he didn’t love or want you or me.”
We moved a lot and she always made sure that we had an unlisted phone number and could not be tracked down.
I finally found his family when I was an adult; I found them too late, he had died two years prior.
I remember curling up in a ball in my kitchen and crying because I was too late. Yeah, I felt guilty for not trying hard enough.
I did finally meet his/my family. The letter I received back was from my step-mother, who had me come visit her.
She gave me some things of my fathers and told me that he did want me and did try to find me. My name was listed in his funeral program. I visited my aunts and met my grandfather before he died. They gave me a few photographs, something I had missed and craved my entire life.
Part of me was comforted by that, and part was very VERY angry for having been lied to my entire life.
I have had to do a lot of forgiving of my mother in regards to this, and other situations. It is a challenging and ongoing process. After she died, as I was going through her things, I discovered the true, terrible depth of her lies. Trust me folks, if you keep a terrible secret, it will be found found out eventually.
I share my story, not to bring anyone down or to ruin the holiday for those with reason to celebrate.
I share my story in hopes that some parent out there will make a different, better choice than to keep a child from their parent.
For those of you who are keeping your children from their other parent (for reasons other than the child would be in real danger) I have these words.
Taking away a parent, even photographs and stories, takes away half of a child’s identity.
Telling that child that one of their parents in a terrible person, teaches them that they are also a terrible person because it’s half of who they are.
Telling a child that one of their parents doesn’t want or love them teaches them that there is something wrong with them and that they are not worthy of love.
Lying to a child, teaches them that they can not trust anyone.
Please don’t do that to your child. They deserve better.
the above photo is of my grandfather and grandmother Lawrence, my father (the one who looks like trouble) and his five sisters/my five aunts