Absent fathers…

This is one piece I’ve always wanted to do but I couldn’t because it still hurts so much. As gathered from the first sentence, this is personal, I’ve lived it. What inspired me to write this? you might wonder. And I might answer you that it had everything to do with the wonderful power of music. The power that one song has to open up wounds and take you back to a place you wish you’ve never been. That song is Piece by Piece by Kelly Clarkson …ever since I saw her emotional performance on AGT this song has been haunting me. It spoke to me, I felt as if I sat down with her and compared stories and realized we’re not that different. Sadly that’s the story of a lot of people and this is mine…

And all I remember is your back...”

That’s the opening line of the song and that’s all I ever saw…your back as you turned around and walked away upon seeing my face. Growing up I never felt that something was missing, I mean I had the love of family and friends, what more do you need? As I got older I noticed that some of my friends had something I didn’t…a father who protected and provided for his family. I questioned my mom, boy did I question her. She explained in terms a 9 year old could understand that daddy is not here, he never was and probably never will be. I though he died, that was the only logical explanation I had, God bless my innocent mind. Turns out he didn’t, just had another family…or two. I pestered my mom to meet him and blamed her because I thought she kept me away from him. I’d never be able to erase the pain I’ve caused her with my accusations but I do know that she forgave me. She gave in but warned me that life is not a fairytale, that just because I wanted him in my life, wouldn’t constitute to him being in my life.

I vividly remember the day set aside to meet him. He didn’t live far from us, ironically. If I were older and smarter I would’ve realized that if he wanted to see me, he would’ve. What did I know? I was an innocent 9 year old who had never experienced pain and rejection before, who had been sheltered by the love of a strong woman who played both parental roles in my life. I made sure I wore my best dress and shoes to meet him, hair neatly tied up and face scrubbed until it shined, I was so excited. As things tend to go with children we get easily distracted. You see I’ve always wanted one of those cute backpacks, the ones that recently made their return to the fashion scene again, and I happen to spot the perfect one. Whilst running towards the stall where they were selling it, my father showed up, saw me and my mom, immediately turned around and walked away. When my mom said, “there’s your father..” all I saw was his back. My mom called after him but I guess he suddenly lost his hearing. I don’t know how long I stood there, waiting for him to come back…but he didn’t.

I didn’t utter a word about him to my mom again. We went home and I rummaged through her things as I always did and stumbled upon letters from him. It’s safe to say that if I saw those before, I would never have insisted on meeting him. Words, however meaningless it might be to some, can kill someone inside. How do you deal with rejection from someone that you’re a part of? How do you accept the fact that you were never granted an equal opportunity to decide whether this is what you want or not? How do you trust someone when they say “I love you” when those who have “no choice” can decide not to love you?

He died when I was 12, I cried for hours on end when I heard the news…I cried for that little girl who had to grow up overnight because of him, I cried for lost opportunities to tell him “I forgive you”, I cried because my faith in human beings were shattered, I cried because despite what he did I still loved him, how could I not? He’s one of the reasons for my existence, whether it was by his mistake it was still God’s design. I cried…and then I stopped…I was done and I’ve never shed a tear for him again…not until I started writing this and relived everything again. I stayed away from relationships until the age of 17 and I made sure it never worked out. Whenever things were great I’d find a way to mess it up, when it got serious, I walked away like he did. I never trusted them nor did I make any attempts to justify my actions.  I could walk away from a 2 year relationship and not feel anything, yes I know that’s messed-up but emotions were my Achilles’ heel, my kryptonite. I didn’t want to feel because it leaves you vulnerable and exposed and at the mercy of others.

I realized that I was on the path to self destruction and slowly but surely turning into him. I’ve decided that even though his blood is flowing through my veins, I will not become him. I have a strong, kind mother who did everything she possibly could to ensure I have everything I need. Her love and compassion saved me, her faith in me was unwavered and I drew my strength from that. I’ve realized that I need a fresh start, a new beginning…I moved and left everything behind to start a new life and work on me, focus on healing. I’m in the best possible space for me at this moment and I’m still working on my trust issues but I’ll get there, sooner rather than later. I can look at myself in the mirror and see me, not my past or my father…just me and I love it.


11 thoughts on “Absent fathers…

  1. As a single parent this post touches me deeply. I cannot begin to imagine the pain of a child when their parent turns their back on them. Your mom sounds like an amazing woman of great courage and strength!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She’s my rock even when everything in my life seem to fall apart. I’ve never met you but I’m absolutely sure that your child(ren) feel the same way about you as they know you always do your best to play both roles, thank you ChevsLife

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Miss Pretorius you once again havve me in tears. But I know the fact thats he turned his back made you very strong, remarkable young lady. So proud of the person you have become, and I take my hat off to your mon who never allowed you to miss the presence of a father.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words Razena. I’m well on my way to healing and I’ll be damned if he’ll rule my life from beyond the grave (sounds wrong but that’s how I feel)


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