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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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.

Meet the Author: Stephanie

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Who Knew My Father Had a Personality?

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There was a time in my life, right before I got married, when I stepped outside of my mind to see the world from someone else’s point of view. I was tired. No, I was exhausted, from the energy it took to be constantly angry and resentful of just about everything. I was sick of being hurt by every man with authority over me who seemed to eerily remind me of my father. I worried that I would carry this anger into my marriage or into motherhood with me. It was time to for a new approach.

My parents had been divorced for longer than they had been married by the time I turned 23. I spent most of my life thinking about all of the things I had to miss out on because they split up. I openly blamed them both for the emotional baggage I carried around like a security blanket everywhere I went. As early as 13 years old I developed a razor sharp tongue that would cut them both recklessly. I made sure to rub salt in the fresh wounds that their break up had left behind. Thankfully, after I had barely blown out the candles on my 23rd birthday cake, everything changed. I began to seek Christ and develop a deeper relationship with God than I had ever maintained before. Through this relationship I began to see clearly that I needed to repair the rift between my father before trying to start a family of my own.

In the realm outside of my mind, I began to see life from my father’s eyes. I witnessed a trio of children suddenly appear in my life, tugging at my shoelaces to play as I struggled to climb the corporate ladder at work. I felt my marriage falling apart and my emotions spiraling out of control. I shuddered at the coldness that comes with not knowing how to express your emotions and being misunderstood. My children grew up before my eyes so far away that I could barely see them. I did my best to make up for…everything I knew that I had ruined for them. It seemed like I had an endless debt to pay. Somewhere inside I knew that I would never stop pulling out my wallet, no matter the cost.

I began to seek Christ and develop a deeper relationship with God than I had ever maintained before. Through this relationship I began to see clearly that I needed to repair the rift between my father before trying to start a family of my own.

Stepping outside of my own hurt was the first step to forgiving my father. It not only saved our relationship, it saved me. Forgiving him helped me to release a stream of negative energy that I didn’t even know I was holding on to. Remember, before he was your father…he was a person. Just like you. He wasn’t perfect, he may have messed up, and he may never apologize to you. Jesus knows these same things about us…and guess what? He forgives us and loves us beyond what we could ever imagine just the same. How would you feel if someone you owed a huge debt to told you that it had been taken care of? What would you do if someone you loved who happened to also be someone you hurt gave you the chance to start over with them, to wipe the slate clean? Can you feel your spirit lifting at just the thought of it?

Be that person for your father.

Stepping outside of my own hurt was the first step to forgiving my father.

Meet the Author:

Elle Morrison is a 27 year old Christian blogger, YouTuber, and facilitator of a small group fellowship for women called Great Is Her Faith. She was born and raised in the south, but is now a midwestern wife and mother of two beautiful girls. As a follower of Jesus Christ and a citizen in the Kingdom of God, she tries her best to shine light and sprinkle salt over anyone and anything that crosses her path.

Follow her on Instagram @GreatIsHerFaithSubscribe her blog at: https://greatisherfaith.wordpress.com

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I Lost My Smile!

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I lost my smile!

I’ve looked and looked and I don’t know where it could be. Could it be stolen like the rest of my stuff? Stolen right along with my compassion, trust, and peace of mind? How can someone just steal my smile? I didn’t authorize this!

But I guess it comes with the territory of being continuously betrayed and burdened with other people and their problems. Constantly dealing with someone else’s insecurities, denial, and faults. Those of whom carry self-pity accompanied with stale faces and empty souls. Cold as a Chicago winter, I let them enter my sunny summer days in Fuji with open arms not realizing that I let a thief walk pass and collect parts of me to replace what they lacked.

The reality of it all is that he took everything he needed to ensure his denial of his “accomplishments”. He used his most fluent language of deception to gain my trust time and time again. He knew no matter how much my mind would seem to know better my heart would tell me differently. And I would play along according to his plan.

He would tell me his ‘honest’ truth when and only when it was beneficial to him. He played me better than any game of spades or chess. He made sure I would be completely handicap when trying to find my place in the world. Aimlessly looking for loving relationships all while not trusting a soul with an encased heart surrounded by barb wire, followed by a shattered sense of compassion. Day in and day out I wreck my mind looking for the reason why. Trying to make sense of his purpose and actions.

But I guess that question will forever go unanswered. Because I am a fatherless daughter with only a sperm donor as a trace.

Author: Aja Symone

Instagram: IamAjaSymone

Blog: www.ajasymone.com

Twitter: IamAjaSymone

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My First Heartbreak

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The day that my father left still remains as a snapshot in my mind. I was a little girl, about 5 years old, unprepared for the moment in which I would endure my first heartbreak from a man. Within what felt like a matter of minutes, my dad had come home, packed all of his things, and drove away leaving my mother and I on the steps of our front porch crying. As I comforted my mother, I did not realize that that moment would have the eventual impact that it did on my womanhood and sense of self worth. Subconsciously, I vowed to never let another man break my heart like my dad did that day.

This is not to say that my father was never in my life. I vividly remember my father taking my siblings and I on Saturday trips to the park, to eat at McDonalds, and to watch airplanes take off at the nearby airport. I love my dad, and will never forget the moments that I shared with him. The problem is that after he left, he was no longer consistently there like I needed him to be. I went through lengthy periods of time where I did not see him. During these periods, there were missed father daughter dances, graduations, birthdays, etc. As much as told myself that I did not need him there, it mattered to me that I did not have those moments to share with him.

Looking back, I can see how not having my dad in my life consistently impacted me:

#1: I Developed a Mistrust for Men

Because I do not want to experience another man walking out on me, I have a hard time trusting men with my heart. It is way easier for me to hold onto my heart, than to allow someone else to take it only for it to get broken again. Because of this fear, I have had a hard time with developing healthy romantic relationships with men. In the past, whenever a man has tried to pursue me, I immediately put a wall up with a bridge, surrounded by a moat.

#2: I Struggled with Self Esteem

When my father left, I had a difficult time recognizing my self worth. For the period of time that I did have my dad in my life, I remember always trying to impress him. I wanted to be good enough for him. I wanted him to see me as a smart, as beautiful, as valued. As a result, I tried to impress him with my grades, with my accomplishments, etc. But, in the end, I never felt good enough and when he officially left, that took any of the self confidence that I had left.

The Turning Point

Through it all, I have come to realize that being fatherless is just a speck in the grand picture that God has designed for my life. It does not define me, nor do I simply have to accept that I will become a statistic of fatherlessness. Today, I understand that Christ is my father. In Christ, I am loved, I am valued, and am “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). Although I still struggle with the effects of being fatherless, I have learned to forgive my father for his mistakes and realize that through Christ, that which I have lost can be restored.

Meet the Author: 

My name is Awele, and I am the founder of Daughter Restored. I am a speech pathologist, event decorator, and (now) blogger. I am also a member and community outreach coordinator of Revcon Movement. I started this platform as a means to help fatherless daughter cope with the impact of being fatherless, and I hope that sharing my story will help someone.

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The Best Pawpaw Ever

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In 2002 my life changed for the better in two major ways. I became a mom and that elicited the second major change that happened. My dad was back in my life. You see my dad was physically absent but indirectly present and I’ll explain further in a minute.

I was in the hospital holding my new baby when I got a knock at the door. It was my dad. Now that may not seem odd to most, but for us, it was a bit shocking. My dad and I had no real relationship. Even though my dad lived in the house behind my grandma’s house, you would imagine living in such close proximity we would have had some type of daddy-daughter moments. But not in our case and that was a huge issue. See, when my mom and dad divorced, he divorced me too. Our new relationship was based on whenever his girlfriend wanted me around (and that wasn’t often),  true emergencies, or us bumping into each other at the grocery store. But this time was different, here he was at the hospital to see me!

He walked in Daddy and left out the best Pawpaw ever. Now, the love between him and my children is priceless. He would no doubt do anything for them and through their bond, it has also brought he and I closer. My dad and I have come a long way. He went from being absent to being within reach, to being barely present to completely supportive. Last year he was even at my mom’s family reunion. My children talk to him regularly, he showers them with love, and is quick to hand out large bills to them just because and if I hold my hand out I might just get blessed too!

It only took 22 years for us to get here but I’m grateful for him. I’m divorced and I have 3 children now. I haven’t had the most successful relationships with men until recently and I know it was due to my “daddy” issues, but I’m proud to say I’m working through those and I’m happy.

It only took 22 years for us to get here but I’m grateful for him.

I appreciate my Daddy’s growth and besides, I don’t know what he went through growing up or as a younger man. Either way, I love him and I know that he loves me too. He probably loves my children even more because now he gets to do it right and that’s perfectly fine with me. My dad is the best Pawpaw ever and a pretty cool daddy now!

Meet the Author: Quinn CJ

Quinn CJ is a Registered Nurse and Intimacy Coach/Owner of Platio Experience in Dallas, TX. She also has a YouTube channel focusing on dating, women’s health, and sexuality for women over 30.

Stay in Touch with Quinn CJ: Youtube Instagram

Business inquires: info@quinncj.com

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Confession of a Hurt Daughter

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Growing up fatherless, you can be looked at in many negative ways. However, the aftermath had the most impact for me personally. See, being a fatherless girl is not easy and it comes along with the damage and baggage. You lose a part of you, in a sense.  The person who would help find your identity was not there raising you.

Even until this day, I have and am still healing. The effects of being a fatherless child is harsher than being teased as a kid or being a typical stereotype of a black teen. Moreover, the physiological distress is worse. My view points on men, love, self worth and marriage were manipulated at an early age. How? As child, I didn’t know what a marriage was. My father had an affair with my mom and I was a product of it. So automatically, marriage wasn’t something I dreamed about unlike most girls who came from a normal family setting.

My father not being around made me automatically think I was not good enough for him. He would rather raise children that weren’t his. Honestly, it was a slap in my face. What have I done wrong that my presence wasn’t good enough for him to stay? My father being out my life made me search in the wrong places for attention and affection. I didn’t understand what true love was, which is why I got mixed up into the wrong guys during my late years of high school all up until I met my husband.  Of course most people would say, shouldn’t you be worried about college? I didn’t have the support behind me and I was still unsure with myself on what I wanted to do.  So I took time off and during that time off I just focused on my social life; then, I realized how much toxic behavior I was dealing with when it came to dating.

My father not being around made me automatically think I was not good enough for him.

After being a fatherless child for so long, I started to change my views on life and teach myself to do better.

Once I stopped pitying myself, easing my hate with my father, and putting myself first, I realized how much I was hurting myself to fill a void of my father by dealing with toxic behaviors. Once I started treating myself better, something great came along. I got married, and ended up pregnant which was a blessing. I thought my life was getting even better, until I hit a low point in my life where I sought help during my pregnancy. I knew I had some underlying problems that I needed to speak on. I wanted to be a better version of myself for my family. I spoke to my OB and expressed my thoughts and he gave me a referral to a psychiatrist. At first I was on the fence about going. In the black community we tend not to seek help in fear of looking weak. But I knew that I couldn’t get better if I didn’t speak.

My physiatrist at the time helped me understand that my father’s mistakes were not mine to carry, but to learn from. She also stated that I owed it to myself to actually heal and not just shrug it off. She told me to look at myself in the mirror and realize everything I ever wanted to be was there. Ever since my visit with the physiatrist, I started seeing the woman I needed to be was in me once I stopped suppressing it with my pain.

My physiatrist at the time helped me understand that my father’s mistakes were not mine to carry, but to learn from.

Being fatherless child is more than missing the actual father. But the aftermath of it all. Though my father and I reconnected at my wedding, we knew that we had a long way to go. My father has his own demons that he battles with which affects our relationship. When he’s ready to grow,  I’ll be here. Until then, I have to keep going for myself and my family. Unfortunately, this is our reality of being a fatherless child.  If you felt like you were worthless or not good enough, just remember you’re more than enough.

Meet the Author:

My name is AAliyah Choi, I’m 23 years old and I reside in Virginia.  I am inspirational blogger.

Website: www.thatcystergirl.com

Facebook page: That Cyster Girl Blog

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