Family is supposed to be our safe haven. Very often, it’s the place where we find the deepest heartache.-Iyanla Vanzant
Blogging is something that I love to do. It heals me. It’s a place that’s safe for me to project my experiences and most profound emotions. It’s a place where I know for sure that I can be myself and share solidarity with others. This particular topic is tough for me to talk about. After talking with my dad and gaining his permission, I believe that it’s time to share yet another experience in my life.
The things that I discuss in this post is difficult for me, hang in there and see the bigger picture. It’s the healing that is important.
Brief History of the Dark Place in My Life with My Father:
I was the little girl waiting at the window for my dad to return. The young life for me was a very dark place.
I remember my dad being in my life for a short time. Once I became mature enough, I found out that my dad was suffering from substance abuse. He lost everything, including his identity.
I never understood how a person could choose something like that over a whole beautiful being. A beautiful being that waited every day, hoping they would return home so life could go back to normal. I waited most of my life for that day.
Snippets of life for me as a young girl included going to look for my dad in a dirty trailer park often. Hey, “Has anyone seen Kenny? He’s my dad, and I want to see him.”
After finding him several times, face sunken, white lips, wasting and… crumbling. I was just happy to see him and know that he was ok. I didn’t care how he looked, how he smelled, what type of condition he was in, I was just happy to see my dad. My dad had the best smile and the best singing voice (to me). Each time I saw him, I would hold on to that memory, until it faded.
When those memories faded, I would always create stories in my journal about how I would save my dad from the “bad people.” The bad people in my stories were holding my dad hostage because they knew he was a strong, smart and good man who would overpower them. They fed him drugs because they knew it weakened his superpower, which was being a great dad to me. For years, I wrote many of those stories…
Each time my dad was sober and attended treatment facilities, I would cheer him on and hold on to that hope. Sometimes the cheering faded, and my faith grew weak because the sobriety road was a rollercoaster. Sometimes I just wanted to give up on my dad, but God would not let me. My heart was attached. I was always that little girl waiting at the window, hoping that my dad would walk through the door and everything would go back to normal.
The empty dreams went on for years and years, and I realized that all of the stories that I created, were just stories. My reality was that I was fatherless for most of my life. I used to make up stories to hide the fact that I could not relate to my classmates and friends. I just did not want anyone to know what my life was like, more than I wanted to live it.
Many things my dad experienced, I cannot discuss but know that when you see your dad almost on his way to his end, life got hard. As life got hard for him, life got hard for me. My heart hurt often, and I acted out. All I wanted was to see was that beautiful smile and to hear that sweet voice sing the songs that he used to sing when I was little. Having an active father is every girl’s desire, but when you have that void, it cuts deep.
I always knew that he was once a very good man and was still a good man in my heart but was he was held captive by addiction. I often prayed that the dad I knew when I was young, would return someday and he did.
Today, my dad is on a tough road to sobriety. He has a beautiful wife now, and I have gained another sister. I just thank God that in my darkest moments of being fatherless, he answered my prayers. I just wanted my dad to recover.
Open Letter to My Dad:
Thank you for showing me love in your own way. Thank you for always fighting. I know that life for you was demanding and growing up, I couldn’t quite understand the pain that you endured and the things that you were struggling with internally.
Your heart is pure and genuine. You are still perfect in my eyes. You are still strong, handsome and yet my superhero. I am so happy that in your darkest and lowest point in life, God put you on his back, carried you and took you under his protection and guidance. I am so proud that you can see that even in your sad moments there was still hope. From a distance, you were still close to my heart. Knowing that I’ve “glowed up” to be a woman who you can be proud of is honoring.
I hope that this Father’s Day is a day that you can be proud of because you have earned the right to be a proud father. Your fight is continuous, and I will always support you.
I love you, dad.