Thursday, 16 June 2011

Fatherless Father's Day

This Sunday, it's Father's Day.  I guess for most people, this is a happy day - a day to celebrate having a wonderful dad, and showing your appreciation for all he's done.  For people like me, it's a very painful day. 

It seems as though everywhere I turn, there are painful reminders that I don't have a dad.  He's not dead, but he's not in my life.  And when he was in my life, it wasn't something to be celebrated because he hurt me in ways no father ever should.  I still love my dad, and that makes things like Father's day hurt all the more I suppose.  He's still my dad, even though he's not, if you know what I mean?

There seems to be a trend on places like Facebook these days, where people post things 'in honour' of certain things relevant to upcoming holidays or special days.  Today I saw this:

"If your Dad is, or was, a hard working man, and is your hero, has helped you no matter how good or bad you were, and is just the best Dad ever, if you are blessed to still have your Dad, or if he is the brightest star in the night's sky, paste this to your status and let everyone know you are proud of your Dad. You can replace a lot of people in your life, but you only have one Dad."

Ouch. :(

Sometimes it seems like from every angle, people around us are rubbing in the fact that our fathers weren't who they were supposed to be, and it's so painful! As for the above status... on the one hand, I kind of agree - you can't ever really replace your biological father.  He is who he is. However, I believe you have two families in this life - the one you were born with and the one you choose. 

Yes, I long for my dad to be my dad... to love me and treat me as he should... to love me no matter what and to do everything in his power to prevent me from harm... to accept me for who I am and be proud of me.  Truth is, he hasn't ever been that and I don't think he ever will be.  When it comes to my biological father, I have to accept that I will always be 'fatherless'.  That hurts, and it's okay to admit that. I don't know if that pain will ever go away. 

At the same time, I have other people in my life who do love me and who do treat me in the way family is supposed to.  In spite of the pain that comes with being "fatherless", I am learning what it means to have a family - a real family.  I am grateful for that and I know I'm truly blessed to have found that after everything I've been through.  Maybe one day, Father's Day won't hurt so deeply. Maybe one day I'll stop trying in my heart to chase after something that I cannot have.  For now, I choose to allow myself to feel what I feel, to accept that I can't change who my dad is... and to learn to trust the new 'real' family in my life.  


  1. With everything that I am feeling this week, the fact that tomorrow is Father's Day is probably playing its part in the pain and tears. It actually started around Mother's Day.

    Some years are easier than others for me with both Mother's Day and Father's Day. Both of my parents are no longer living. I don't know if that makes it easier or more difficult with them being gone. Their birthdays are the same. Some years these occasions slip by and don't catch my attention at all. This year it seems to be a big deal. It could be the fact that I am reading and going to be writing to do some inner child work. Inner child work helped me to do some major growing years ago. I decided it was time to see if I have any work left in that area. There seems to be a lot of fear and a lot of tears so I guess I got my answer and I haven't even started with this book yet.

    The name of the book that I am reading is The Inner Child Workbook: What to do with your past when it just won't go away, written by Cathryn L. Taylor.

  2. There are so many things I could say, but I keep coming back to one: You're not alone in this. I feel like I want to say something more profound or more helpful than that, but honestly, after reading your post several times, I think you have this covered. You're working through the process, you're aware, and you're balancing acknowledgment of what you wanted then and never got with what you have now in present time. If there's another way to do it, I'd be hard-pressed to say what it would be.

    For those of us whose parents are still alive, there's always going to be that nagging thought pattern (often reinforced on holidays by the sort of cultural message you quoted above) that we ought to be doing something to repair the relationship while there's still time. The subtext is that it's our responsibility to do "whatever it takes" to fix things, and if we can't do it, we've failed somehow.

    I don't buy it. Not all dads are good dads, not all moms are good moms, and not all parents are actually interested in their kids. It's fairy tale thinking to expect everyone who was abused or neglected as a child to find some way to reconcile with parents who often aren't any more functional, caring, or attentive now than they were then. Bad parents don't magically transform into good parents just because everybody got older.

    I appreciate your courage in trying to see things as they really are and doing what is best for yourself, even when it hurts.

  3. Im sorry fathers day was such a rough time for you and i hope it isn't always that way for you. I completely agree that the word family is not just for biological relations. There are many people out there who have no biological family at all for whatever reason, but surround themselves with close friends. They are also your family and the bonds can be just as strong. I am glad you have people in your life who love you and treat you right.

    Also I agree with the facebook thing, people post a lot of stuff these days which can be very hurtful and upsetting for others to see.

    Take care of yourself

    Pinks x

  4. It has been awhile since I've seen you around, so I thought I would stop by and check in.

    I hope all is well with you.

  5. Thanks all of you - I'm so sorry I've been rubbish at replying to comments on this post! Things are a bit mad around here and I guess there's a bit of avoidance in there as well. I won't bore you with details but I'm grateful to each of you for caring about me and for your comments! You guys are awesome! :)


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