The following post was not written by me. My friend and high school classmate LeeAnne lost her father when she was 16 months old. She recently shared some of her thoughts about growing up without her father on Facebook and graciously agreed to let me post them here. I always appreciate her input because it gives me an idea of some of the things my daughter might experience.
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What It’s Like Growing Up Without a Dad? I’m not talking about the deadbeats in the world. They piss me off (sorry for the language). I’m talking about growing up without a Dad because he is forever gone. He’s forever gone because he is in Heaven (yes, I believe in Heaven. I have to because if I didn’t, none of it would make sense and I would live my life a very angry person). It sucks. Plain and simple SUCKS. I was 16 months and 23 days old when that tractor pinned my Dad. I was 16 months and 25 days old when he gained his angel wings and left me here on this Earth without him. If he was a deadbeat, it would be better. At least I may have some chance of finding him and seeing him and even being really mad at him for leaving me. But he wasn’t. He loved me. He wanted me. He planned on being there forever and ever for me. He didn’t choose to leave me. Deadbeats piss me off because while they have created a child and then just decided they don’t want to play the role of a parent, my Dad was robbed of something I’ve heard he was very proud to be. I can tell by the pictures I see of us that this is true. You can tell he loved me and wanted me to be happy and safe. When you lose someone at such a young age without memories of your own, you cherish photos. I mean cherish them. My Mom eventually had a boyfriend and they had my sister together which gave me a sibling and for that I’m grateful. However, my Mom’s boyfriend was far from the ideal stepfather figure. He didn’t like me. I didn’t like him. I haven’t spoken to him willingly since I moved out of the house on my 18th birthday. In ways, it sucked having a sibling because every day I got to see her and her dad together. Something I never had and always wanted. Father’s Day sucks. It’s just a 24 hour constant reminder of what you don’t have. As I got older, I’ve learned to try to embrace the day and consider it another day to spoil my Mom. She is my Dad in a way too. January 30th sucks because that was the day my Dad was born. September 8th sucks because that’s the day he left me. Father Daughter dances suck. I mean, as a Mom, I love watching my girls get that time with their dad but, the little girl in me is jealous as hell. Wedding Days suck because the moment your Dad walks you down the aisle and the infamous Father Daughter dance becomes your Mom walking you down the aisle and trying to keep you from melting down like a big baby because you just want your Dad. The dance becomes your Mom holding you and you guys talking about how much he is there but he’s not there at the same time (and trying to make sure our beads on our dresses didn’t get stuck together because that would be humilitaing). Your fatherly advice comes from your grandfathers but you are of course too young and “know everything and anything” to acutally listen and appreciate those words after they are gone. Taking your kids to “meet” their grandfather by taking them to stare at a stone with words and plant some pretty flowers, sucks. They ask questions and you have no answers. I wasn’t the only one he was taken from. He was taken from my kids as well. He would’ve been an amazing grandfather. I don’t have my own memories to hold on to and to comfort me on my bad days. I have other people’s memories and that sucks too. I love hearing about him and I love knowing about him but I’m so damn jealous of every single person who ever met him and knew him. I’m not the friend who you can turn to if your parent passes away because while I had the same thing happen, I don’t remember it. I can tell you how to live without a Dad though and that sucks that I can tell you that. I apologize for the long rant. My birthday is getting closer and it’s another reminder that the older I get, just means the longer I’ve missed out on him. Anytime I hear of a father passing away and has a young child left behind, my heart automatically opens up to that child. I know what they are going to go through for the rest of their lives. I just pray that they at least get a wonderful father figure that can help ease the pain and who can at least be there as someone to turn to. It may have been different for me if I had that. It’s ok though because for 16 months and 25 days, I had The. Best. Dad. On. Earth.