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Losing my Father to Cancer

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My dad was the only person who cared about my well being. Although he wasn’t my biological father, he was the only father…let alone the only parent in my life. My mother was on drugs by the time I was 5, battling an addiction to cocaine and pills. She lost that battle about two months before I left for college when she passed away from an overdose. My dad, however, was there for everything. My kindergarten graduation, every Christmas, any award ceremony, any big accomplishment, he was there. He even took me on my first real vacation to see the beach. That meant so much to me.  

When I was 21, I had gotten engaged and pregnant. I was 8 months pregnant when my ex fiancé at the time left me. Not only was I scared, but I was an emotional mess. I packed up some trash bags and moved back in with my dad. At that point he was the only stable thing I had. After having my son, we moved into our own apartment and my dad was mentally there for me. We spoke every single day, and he always checked on my son and I. Four months into starting a new job, the company let me go because they couldn’t afford to keep me on. The only person I truly had to help me was my dad. At that point, I was already barely making ends meet and had received an eviction notice. My sons father refused to help, so my dad allowed me to pay my rent with his credit card. I cried because I was so appreciative. I truly felt like he was the only person I had. I was okay with that. He’s my dad, my best friend.

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A few years later, my dad called me and told me his doctor said he needed to go to the Emergency Room to get some tests ran. I got the call that night from my cousin who went to visit him that he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Cancer. My heart sank and I couldn’t stop crying. I felt like my whole world had crashed. When he was transferred to another hospital that had a bigger oncology department, I decided to meet him there. He informed me that if he didn’t make it to my wedding in three months, he would have my uncle walk me down the aisle. I cried so hard. One of the biggest days of my life and he wouldn’t be there. Within two months his health drastically declined. All I could do was cry and pray that God would take his pain away.

The day our nurse informed us he had 24 to 48 hours to live, my world was crushed. I knew this time was coming, I just wasn’t as prepared. I honestly don’t think you ever are prepared for something like this. On a Saturday morning he was transferred to a hospice center, my sister, my cousin and I stayed all weekend. He was declining and the nurse told us his transition to passing had began. I wasn’t sure whether to be happy he was about to be out of pain or cry for my own selfish reasons. That Monday when we left for a break, he passed.

Coping with Fatherlessness

To this day the pain hasn’t gone away. I sometimes find myself carrying many emotions…sad, anger, happy, clueless. He wasn’t there for my wedding day, he won’t be there for when my next child is born. It breaks my heart, but the only thing that gets me through is knowing he’s watching every move I make. I’ve been to counseling for grief and I’m still going. If you don’t go, it is something I highly recommend. It has helped me sort through my issues and my grieving process. Life to this day isn’t the same and it never will be. I’m 25 with no parents and I’m scared. The world is a scary place. I go to church now in hopes to make my relationship with God stronger so he can help me through this. When I’m upset I have to remind myself that my dad wouldn’t want me to feel this way, he would want everything to be normal. Please always remember that you are not alone. This is not easy, but other women deal with the same thing. Remember what your father would want for you and live your life in honor of him.

The Fatherless Bride

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In 2010 my dad was diagnosed with cancer. I immediately felt a knot forming in the pit of my stomach because I knew that diagnosis was a death sentence, it was only a matter of time. But I also knew my father, he was strong and resilient. He would fight for his life for as long as he could.

I was in college at the time and ever since that moment, being there was a struggle. I felt like I was wasting precious time away at school that I could’ve been spending with my father. However, the thought of dropping out never crossed my mind as I knew he wanted me to finish. I had 3 years left and I prayed constantly for God to allow him to live to see me graduate. God answered my prayers and in 2013 he was there to watch me walk across that stage. But cancer is a funny thing, it has an ebb and flow to it that nobody understands unless they’ve been through it or personally witnessed it. Within 6 months of me graduating my dad’s cancer had taken a turn for the worst. I found out on the day before my birthday that he was dying. I had just driven across the country to move to LA and pursue my dreams of working in the fashion industry. I immediately had to hop on a flight in hopes of having a moment with my dad before he left this world. I made it and sat with him but at that point he couldn’t speak. The nurses and doctors said he could hear though. I told him I loved him and watched him slowly fade away. One tear rolled down his cheek. It was a little after midnight, on my birthday, when he took his last breath.

Things were never quite right after that. I wasn’t sure what to do. Should I go back to LA and finish what I started? Should I stay here in my hometown with my family and hope for the best? Ultimately, I decided to go back to LA as I knew my dad wouldn’t have wanted me to sit around sulking at home. I could hear his voice saying, “staying here won’t bring me back” and with that, I left. I knew life would not be the same for me. I’d be “that girl,” you know the one with the “dead father”. The one who avoids questions like “How are your parents?”. The one who has to deal with people’s awkwardness when you tell them your father passed. Yep, that’s me! And now that I’m getting married, I have to tune out questions like “are you doing a father/daughter dance?” I have to deal with the “Who is going to walk you down the aisle?” question as my uncle’s fight it out wanting to be picked. What no one understands is, I don’t care who walks me down the aisle. None of these men are my father. In all honesty, I’d rather walk down by myself or with my mom, but I know my uncles are just trying to help. 

Although, most would agree this story is sad. My dad passing on my birthday. Not having a father to do a father/daughter dance with. Having to deal with the awkward conversations that come from being in a situation like this. However, I have chosen to look at this in a different way. Yes, my father died on my birthday, but I don’t view it as a bad thing. I think it was his way of letting me know he’s okay now. It was the only gift he had left to give, and I was happy to know that he wasn’t in pain anymore. 

I now have a newfound appreciation for life. This situation has shown me a side of people I had not witnessed much before. Professors who feel like your school work is more important than what’s going on in your life. Bosses who feel like two weeks is plenty of time to grieve the loss of a parent. I don’t believe anything should come before my family or loved ones. I don’t believe in the notion of “you have to work so you can’t go home for the holidays.” I will not take a job if it means I have to constantly sacrifice time with people I love. No job, situation or opportunity is worth it. Spend time with the people you have while you have them. Don’t take any moment for granted, even the bad times. Give them that extra minute of your time, that extra hug, that extra kiss and know that the day will come when they won’t be here anymore and that’s life. Don’t be afraid of death as it is inevitable. Focus on the time you have and use it wisely. Life is too short.

Candice Symone is a fashion designer, YouTuber and eCommerce guru who loves to travel, cook and binge watch Netflix. She believes in going for what you want in life and doing things your way. 

Instagram: csymoneig 

YouTube: CSymoneMedia Website: www.csymone.com

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Wishing for a dad…

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I remember visiting you on occasions, memories…but not always fun. You were there but at the same time distant. But I took what I got, because they were only visits.

You and mom didn’t always get along, but she let me come visit. Number one rule, just don’t bring me around your new chick.

You did though, I had your back so…if I told her the truth, well what would that do… Ruin the time and I wouldn’t be able to see you.

Torn but then again not really, too young to process, but I’m sure if mom found out she would have lost it.

Grade 3 I moved to a whole other state, life was good, I mean life was great.

It was fine, until about nine. One day listening to Brittany Spears broke down crying.

Wishing for my dad, certain days I feel sad. Something feels missing, but I can’t understand.

Grew up with that feeling until I graduated, way too old to feel like this and I hate it. Never single, always taken. Now I realized I looked for something in other places.

I mean I was always dating… I wasn’t boy crazy just trying to fill a void where the hole is.

That space can never be replaced… But it can be filled and my son takes the cake.
I’m around him, and no matter what I would never leave him. I wouldn’t make excuses of why I couldn’t see him.

What I did learn is that I would never want to be you, we may never repair the relationship but an apology is long overdue.

Wishing for a dad
You had a chance and you blew it, you probably wouldn’t even care if I told you and you knew it.

Now I’m stuck here, not even sure what to do, but eventually I’ll speak on the rest in a part 2.


-Teshelle

ABOUT ME: 

I’ve always been writing for as long as I can remember. I never wrote what I felt in a diary, but in a poem. I’m way better at expressing myself writing it down. Sometimes in real life I just feel misunderstood, so most of my frustrations or sadness I turn into words from my soul!

Instagram: @shellzjalisa Twitter: @shellzjalisa
YouTube: shellzjalisa (I vlog.)

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Understanding a Father’s Love

People make preparations daily for death, but I would never be able to believe that anyone would be humanly possible to emotionally prepare themselves for it. It was hard for me to believe my father was going to pass away so suddenly and unexpectedly, especially at a time where I felt our relationship was growing stronger.

New Birth

It was May 24, 2010. My eyes opened and pain immediately filled my entire body. I had just given birth to my first-born son, Elijah Jimil. I looked around to find someone in sight and there was no one there. A nurse came to my bedside saying, “Ms. Miles, everything is okay. We just need you to rest.” 

 “Where is my son?” I questioned. My mom makes her way in the room as tears immediately filled my eyes to run down my face. She kissed my face as I told her how much pain I was in. The pain didn’t amount to how bad I wanted to lay eyes on my son. In the shadows, I see a man walking in the room, with a huge smile on his face. He gets to the bed, kisses me on my forehead, and says, “Daddy is so proud of you baby.” Then, there were even more tears.

The nurse says, “Only one person can be in the room at a time.” My dad started to exit while explaining to the nurse, not very nicely might I add, how he was just trying to check on his baby. He walks out telling me he was going to check on his grandson.

The next day, my dad came back to the hospital and held Elijah for almost two hours. He didn’t say much of anything to me. I even remember dozing off a few times because of the medication. Every time I looked up, my dad was rocking and staring between Elijah and whatever I had on the television.

He’s Gone…

On July 23, 2010, my father was sent home on hospice after fighting colon cancer for five years. The family gathered at His home as he was made comfortable. We all disbursed to our own homes that evening with a plan of bringing food the next day. By the time I made it back to the house, my father’s breathing had become shallow and very faint. I was in the kitchen fixing a plate of food and I heard my sister say, “He’s gone y’all.” My body hit the floor. I finally made my way into the room where his body laid. 

Growing up, my little sister would be considered the “spoiled” child or “Daddy’s Girl”. As a child, I confused being spoiled with being more loved. One day I actually told my dad I felt he loved my sisters more because they were always getting what they wanted from him. His words to me were, “You have the same opportunities to get what you want and need from me, but you don’t ask.” He was right. In my mind, at the time I felt like it was wrong of me to always go and ask my dad for anything when my little sister was always going to him already for everything. I also felt like I didn’t call him enough or spent enough time with him to ask him for things I wanted or needed. I just never wanted my dad to feel like I only called him for those reasons. Point blank, I never in no shape, form, or fashion, felt unloved by my father, but as a young girl, I never knew how and what it meant for a father to show real love without having gifts and things I desired. As a teenager and an adult, as I grasped the concept of what a father’s love should consist of, I realized I looked forward to meals with my dad, going to church with him, and laughing until my stomach hurts more than having the materialistic things from him. Thankfully, I mastered this concept early on where that perception of love would not boil over into my relationships as an adult and successfully pass that on to my children.

Losing my father was TOUGH for two reasons. One, I had just left my home church a year before and he had become my pastor and baptized me. As my pastor, our relationship grew stronger than I could’ve ever imagined. I saw my father in a different light and didn’t want that light to dim from my life. I felt as if I was losing my new best friend. The second reason was Elijah. The look in his eyes on the day my son was born was inexplicable. My sister told me he preached about Elijah from the Bible for three weeks straight. When we were cleared to leave the house, after church was over, he gave the benediction and said, “Bring me my grandson.” You could see the joy in his eyes and hear it in his smile when he called to check on him. It pained me to come to grips with my dad not being able to see Elijah and the other grandchildren grow up. Even now, it hurts sometimes to think about how he never got a chance to meet all the other grandkids who have been born since his passing. 

What I Have Learned

People make preparations daily for death, but I would never be able to believe that anyone would be humanly possible to emotionally prepare themselves for it. It was hard for me to believe my father was going to pass away so suddenly and unexpectedly, especially at a time where I felt our relationship was growing stronger. Through my father’s passing, I was able to apply our bond to his wife, my stepmother, and my sisters. There were many things I did not know my father endured throughout his years of living. Knowing what I know now helped me to respect and love him even more than I did before. My prayer since he has passed and forever is hoping he knew just how much I loved and appreciated him before he left this earth and live daily spreading as much love and appreciation as I can to my family and friends so I won’t ever have to wonder with anyone else.

About Me

About Me

I am “The Vision Blogger”. I am a Lifestyle & Motivational Blogger, Writer, and Poet. I spend my days raising my three beautiful children, better known as, “My Three Piece”, and living my life to the absolute fullest. As a blogger, my goal is to push vision. I give my testimony of triumph through grief and loss of hope to ultimately give and offer hope to anyone who may be dealing with issues in life that may stop them from moving forward. 

Website: www.thevisionblogger.com

Facebook: The Vision Blogger

Instagram: the_vision_blogger

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The Last Time I spoke With My Father…

Speaking wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t too hard — we were working out a new muscle group that we never knew we had. In those minutes I felt like I knew him and what he was thinking and what he would say before he said it.

My mom says that she and my dad were in a relationship for two years before I happened. He moved to the United States before I was born; I was raised by my mother and her support system. I met him a few times after we also moved to the United States, but then our communication was abruptly cut off. I never questioned it. It was all I knew.


I now know that weddings bring out the worst in people. I believed that mine would be so different because I “don’t do drama.”  Ha!

__________________________

“Are you inviting your dad?” my maid of honor asked me during one of our bi-weekly phone conversations. We had just gone over the fact that I was inviting potential guests to a Facebook group and that I wanted to keep the group small. 

I paused for a beat; I honestly hadn’t thought much about him until then. 

She continued to tell me that if her dad hadn’t passed away while we were younger, he would surely be invited to her upcoming wedding. What she wouldn’t have given to invite her dad to the wedding even though she never got to know him very well. I knew she was right.

“Ok…” I said. “I’ll send him an invite to the group page – it’ll take two seconds. I’m sure he will decline.” 

I knew of him as he knew of me: from thousands of miles away but through the limited lens of social media. Facebook alerted me that I had a younger sister who looks just like me and who is also a nerd. I also learned that If you squint or turn your head quick enough, his wife looks like my mom. 

He would reach out to me periodically in subtle ways by sending me videos on Facebook messenger or leaving likes or random comments on the occasional post, but we hadn’t seen each other in person or spoken at length in more than a decade. 

Within an hour of this he accepted the invite and then my mom sent me a message. 

“Did you invite that man…” the message started, and it went downhill from there. Fast. She messaged him too, telling him to act like he didn’t know me. And then it all came out.

I called my dad for the first time since I graduated from college. His voice was oddly familiar. We talked about the weather and exchanged pleasantries until we ran out of words to fill the silence. In those minutes I felt like I knew him and what he was thinking and what he would say before he said it. Speaking wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t too hard —  we were working out a new muscle group that we never knew we had.

Eventually, I worked to the courage to ask: “Did you really do that to her?” 

“What did she tell you”

“Well… you denied ever really knowing her and having a child with her in court.”

He chuckled nervously but didn’t say a word. 

“You said she was crazy and that she was trying to ruin your family.” I continued. “I don’t understand why and how you could do that.”

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I was preparing to go to college and my mother wanted my father to pitch in. They had already had a falling out about child support when I was seven and then when I was seventeen, I had private liberal arts dreams with parents who had public community college budgets. I did well enough to win scholarships and grants, but my mother couldn’t cover the remaining balance on her own so she took him to court. 

His lawyer told him that intimidating my mother and casting doubt on her character would cause her to drop the case. While under oath and the things he said made others in the courtroom blush.

And it worked.

I imagined what it was like for her to stand in front of the lawyer and the court while they laughed at her. How she looked — going after a man after all this time when he had his new wife that was with child. 

She went in to and left that courtroom alone. She never contested his statement. No DNA test, no verification of birth records, and no follow-up. The case was thrown out. 

She never told me or anyone else this though. She told me to aim high and to follow my heart, so I did. 

“When I got the invitation, I knew that she never told you. She should have gotten a lawyer, I only did what mine told me to do.” He replied. “My wife and children know I have an older daughter, they know about you.” 

That just made it worse for me. I couldn’t get over the lying. I know he was telling the truth from his perspective, but it was too unsettling. How didn’t I know after all this time?

I was shocked. That my mother kept the reason for her hatred of my father from me for all those years. That he was willing to lie to save his money from her in order to prepare for a new child. That he was stuck between a rock and a hard place — what it must have meant for him to deny one child to defend another. That my mother would rather save her dignity than to fight to be right. 

We spoke for a few minutes more and then said goodnight.

I chose to move the wedding forward without him and his wife. I didn’t want to disturb the peace so I went back to life as usual.

And that was it.

The story about the last time I spoke to my father.

About the Author:
Nicollette is a young professional who works in STEM Higher Education and who grew up without much contact with her biological father. She is new to this writing thing and is looking for more groups of women to write with! Feel free to leave a comment on this post or stop by her blog to see more of her writing.

Authors note:  Many thanks to Awele for creating a space for much needed community surrounding the topic of fatherlessness.

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Interview With a Fatherless Daughter

Hello Daughters! About a year ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing an anonymous daughter to learn more about her perspective on being a fatherless daughter and how it impacted her life. I am so excited to finally share this interview with you all, because she also talks about her journey to restoration and forgiveness. Check out the interview, and feel free to comment below 🙂

What was your relationship with your father like growing up?

My mom and my dad divorced when I was 8. So, from the ages of 8 – 12, I spent my summers with my dad. After that, the next time I saw my dad was my high school graduation. Prior to him coming to my graduation, we would talk on the phone and he would send me birthday and Christmas cards in the years between. But, it wasn’t a close relationship. During that time, he did not provide any emotional support, and although he says that he provided child support, my mother tells another story.

What did the lack of support from your father look like and how did it make you feel?

There was one time that I called my father, and I asked him for some money to help pay for my high school tuition. He told me that he had just bought a new Cadillac, so he didn’t have any money to help me. I knew that he was supporting and taking care of his wife’s children, while my brother and I were with my mom who was a single parent, working hard and struggling every day. When you’re young, you don’t know the whole story, so you formulate your feelings based on the information that you have. So, I had a lot of hard feelings towards my dad. Because of this, after I graduated high school, I didn’t have too much to do with my dad. I would talk to him every once in a while but it was not like I missed him because he hadn’t been involved in my life while I was growing up.

How did you feel about your father at the time?

He was not one of my favorite people. I felt like he had turned his back on me, my brother and my mom. I don’t want to say that I didn’t love him, but I don’t think that I could have said that I liked him at that time. I didn’t pursue a relationship with him, and the fact that our relationship was distant was fine with me. I had grown accustomed to it.

How did not having your dad impact you emotionally and in your relationships with other people?

I was fortunate when I was growing up. I did have some male figures in my life. I was very involved with the catholic church, so the priests were my father figures and they would share a lot of knowledge with me about what a young lady should/shouldn’t do. But because I had such a great mother, I was fine. Of course, every daughter would want to have a close relationship with her father and every daughter misses her father. But when you have a mother who takes the place of both and fills your heart with love, you don’t miss it. But, having an absent father makes you more determined to not connect with another man who you think would wind up being like that. So it kind of puts you on your guard. 

How did not having your father affect your view of men?

It didn’t have any negative impact on me in the sense that I wasn’t scared of men or I wasn’t going to date men. I always knew that one day I wanted a husband and I wanted children. But I knew that it was easier for a man with children to find a woman to help take care of those kids, than for a woman to find a man to help take care of the kids. So my mindset was that if I ever got married and divorced with young children, I was going to be the good time parent. I was determined, because most women take on the role of the mother, the father, and the caretaker and that’s why they’re so stressed. I looked at my mother and saw the emotional toll it took on her to raise two kids by herself. So, I vowed to never be that woman.

What is your relationship with your dad now?

Through the years you have limited facts. As time goes on, having animosity in your heart for your parent is draining and it’s not healthy. And the thing about it is that when you carry that type of dead weight, you’re the one who suffers for it. My dad was going on, living his life with his wife and my step brothers and sisters, and I don’t know that he ever knew the impact that he had. So, finally, I prayed to the Lord to help me with that to overcome that animosity. I wanted to have a pure heart toward my dad. I didn’t want to be fake, but I didn’t want to be carrying around a grudge or any hard feelings. And it took years. When I finally started realizing that was after the birth of my second child which was about 26 or 27

How did mend your relationship with your father?

My dad would always call and send cards. Over time, I extended myself more and more. For example, I would talk longer on the phone and on the holidays I would send him things. Gradually, it was just a process where next thing you know, there is no hard feelings. It’s your dad. Its not the dad that you would have picked, but it’s your dad and you just make the best of it. This is something that took years and it took healing, and now I’m here and I’m healed.

What would you say to a woman who is still struggling to forgive her absent father?

I would definitely pursue it even if the relationship doesn’t mend. You can get rid of your hard feelings because you’ve extended yourself, you’ve expressed how you felt, and I feel like that will free you. Ultimately I believe only God can heal us of every pain. It’s not to say that you don’t have times when the hurt still hurts, but it wont incapacitate you. It wont turn to hate. I feel sorry for people who are hurting like that, it’s a heavy hurt and it’s deep, so I don’t want anyone to carry that. I would strongly recommend that even if they don’t talk to their dad, write it out and pour it out. This is because carrying it is going to hurt you, psychologically, physically and emotionally if you continue to carry that bitterness.

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Book: “Growing Up Without My Daddy”

Angela Adley encountered a very personal challenge that spurred her to make peace with events from her past, and advocate to help others.

In Growing Up Without My Daddy, Adley shares her personal story with other little girls growing up with unavailable, unattached, or absent fathers in the hopes that they will be able to heal their own daddy wounds through love and faith-based healing. 

“I want to remind little girls that they are love, loved and lovable in the absence of their fathers.” Adley said.

Adley, who is currently a speech language pathologist in Los Angeles began her journey to becoming an author, when she participated in a personal coaching program for fatherless women. Despite having a loving family and friends, and a positive college experience, she always felt like something was missing. 

She realized over time that by not acknowledging the truth of the emotional wounds she carried from growing up fatherless, that she was stuck and unable to move forward.

Adley feels that she was called to write her first book. When she embarked on researching the publishing process, many things came together to confirm that she was meant to document her journey. 

She found her publisher simply by googling a larger publishing firm and seeing they merged with Archway Publishing, and when being referred to an Illustrator, whom she did not know in advance, the Illustrator ended up being from her same small town in Indiana. The most important thing that came together while writing the book, was that she was able to reconnect with her father and he understands and supports why she decided to write the book.

Continuing on her journey, she is now a certified Fatherless Daughter Advocate through Angela Carr Patterson’s Journey to Being System. Growing Up Without My Daddy is colorful, interactive, and provides a platform for parents to discuss the topic with their daughters. The book is available in hardcover, soft cover, and e-book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Archway Publishing.

Contact Angela:

Email: angelaadley@yahoo.com 
Website: angelaadley.com 
Order directly from publisher: www.archwaypublishing.com
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Growing-Up-without-My-Daddy/dp/1480812617/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1439515096&sr=1-1&keywords=growing+up+without+daddy

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His Secret

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I don’t have any real memories of my father prior to age 21. My dad left when I was about 3. My parents divorced and he got his own place. I don’t know what the real reason was for their divorce, I was always told by my mom that he said he didn’t want to be married. I never questioned my mom on it. My mom always said she tried to get him to be a part of my life, but his priorities were being a man about town.

Growing up, I always longed for my dad. I always envisioned him being this rich, hardworking guy. When I would get mad at my mom, I would say, “I can’t wait for my dad to come get me.” I always wanted him, but he clearly didn’t want me. Fast forward to age 20, the year is now 2001. By this time, I am a mom and I longed for him even more to be a part of my life. To be a part of my son’s life. I was at work and my friend encouraged me to look him up. So I got on some website and located a name and number for him. I called the number I had and he answered. I was so nervous.

Growing up, I always longed for my dad.

ME: May I speak with Clarence Ferguson?

HIM: This is him, who is this?

ME: My name is Michele.

HIM: Michele who? Where I know you from? Did we date or something?

ME: *laughing* NO! My name is Michele Ferguson or Stephanie Michele Ferguson

HIM: *silence* then *screams* MY GOD, MY GOD, MY GOD!! THANK YOU LORD! THANK YOU JESUS! I GOT MY DAUGHTER BACK! SHE FOUND ME!

I almost cried. I was happy and kind of confused at the same time because of all of his excitement. We talked for a bit and I told him I would call him when I got home. I told my mom what happened and how he reacted. She didn’t seem too happy about it. But, I was happy I had finally found him.

He moved to Texas about a month later. By now, he was far from the man I had envisioned in my head. He was living on disability for something I’m still not quite sure why. I do know it had to do with an injury. We did not get along at all. I guess now that he was here, the anger that was within took over. He never had a real reason on why he was not there. He stayed for about 5 months, and then moved back to North Carolina because he said I had an attitude all of the time. After he moved back, we talked on the phone a few times. But then I didn’t hear from him for 7 years after that.

I tried to stay in touch with my dad as much as I could. I would go without speaking to him some times for months. He couldn’t call me at this point because he didn’t have long distance on his phone. I basically called when I felt like it. I just didn’t feel the need to keep putting in a major effort. In my eyes, he didn’t so why should I. But at least I called. By then I had learned so many thing about him that really surprised me. He was an ex crack addict and he wasn’t there for his other kids like that either. But at least they knew him and were able to grow up around his family and their grandmother. I’m the one he chose to leave behind. His secret.

On October 1, 2015, he passed away. Only 18 days shy of his 70th birthday. I cried. I screamed. Guilt rushed me like a wave in the ocean. I started feeling like I should have done more. I hadn’t seen my dad’s face since 2001. I had never went to North Carolina to visit him. He asked me to come many times. I flew to North Carolina to attend his funeral. We went to his wake. I saw my dad’s face for the first time in 14 years after our first meeting. He looked like he was sleeping. I finally got to meet his siblings and some of my cousins. I got to meet my sister and brother finally. I was there for about 3 days. I learned that no one except for my siblings and my dad’s two sisters knew anything about me. No one knew my dad was even married to my mom. It’s like he was living a secret life.

I’m the one he chose to leave behind. His secret.

Slowly, the guilt started fading away. Every time, I heard someone say, “Who’s she?” (And that question was asked over 10 times in 3 days) I was over it. I went to my dad’s funeral. I said a prayer in the car and at his casket. I kissed his casket and released all of my guilt at that grave site. It has not been 4 years since he passed. I don’t miss him. I can’t miss something I never had. Here and there I think of what could have been. But I try not to think like that because it just brings anger. The guilt I felt left me the day I left North Carolina. I didn’t choose to be here or this life. It was given to me. He made the choice to not be in my life so I have no reason to feel guilty. I am not the one who should have been putting forth the effort. I just hope and pray he made peace with GOD with his decisions in his life. That’s all I can I can do.

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