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  • Writer's pictureMoana

Father’s Day for the Fatherless Child

At age 20 I became a fatherless child during one of my most important times of my life. I was a new mother with my first child and unbeknownst to me at the time, I would be getting married within the year. When I thought about marriage, it really sunk in for me because I remember thinking, who was going to give me away if I ever got married. This was something I have imagined in my head ever since I was a little girl and my dream would never manifest in reality. Now, a 20 year old woman may be considered an official adult, but according to the State of Maryland, we are "adult orphans". Looking at the bigger picture, even the system knows that no matter how old you get, people need their parents. On a soul level, I have an inner-child who needed her dad just for a little bit longer and if I can be transparent with you all, she still needs him.

Sitting with my dad in 1993

You know, it is funny what trauma can do to us. There are the people who keep cycling through the same hurt and the same pain. They go out into the world and look for things to metaphorically and quite literally numb the pain. Escapism is something that they fine tune ever so carefully so that the ones who care even a little bit don’t realize that they are running from their problems. When the ones who do care notice, here comes the rationalization that was created to make you believe that you're coping in a healthy way. On the flip side, you have me. I take the grief head on and compartmentalize as needed. For me, spiraling does not serve who I am nor will I allow grief, trauma, or what have you to dictate my behaviors. It's important to know that you have to control what you can control. I could not control that my dad transitioned into the afterlife, but I could control my behavior by avoiding the development of co-dependencies that would only further add to my pain.

My sister and I developed a mindset after we found our father deceased in his a/c broken apartment in the middle of July. Business first and cry later. What they don’t tell you about becoming a fatherless child (or parent-less for that matter) is that everyone around you continues to move on with life. For you, your whole world stopped. You swear that you literally felt the Earth stand still. As you stand in place and watch the human procedure created to handle the afterlife, the world slows down ever so slightly that you really see the universe for what it is. You can either allow this to eat you inside and be overcome by grief, or you can allow this moment to be THE moment that transforms your life. When the business was handled and after I let the tears fall, I made the choice to choose transformation and that choice has graciously allowed me to become who you see today.

 

Father’s day for the fatherless child will always pull on a direct tether to the soul. Whether your dad transitioned like mine did, or he opted to continue his life elsewhere, this holiday is tough. You scroll social media and you see the celebratory posts. You go to Walmart and see ”Grills for Dad”. Your kids come home with Father’s Day gifts and for a split second you time jump back to 1998 when you made your dad a mosaic art piece out of kidney and lima beans. Yes — this really happened and when I cleaned my dad’s apartment out I found every single macaroni art from the last 20 years. It feels as if his memory is ingrained into everything and every year on Father’s Day you never know what the trigger might be. Please be gentle with yourself. Cry for love and positive remembrance because crying for the pain will feel never ending.

For the ones with childhood trauma and abandonment issues having their father being the catalyst, this day is hard for you too. It’s okay to admit that. The man who should have protected you and built you up appropriately for the world failed to do his job. Us two, we really aren’t that different. We have similar feelings because what most won’t confess in their grief journey is that at times you feel like they abandoned you. My dad died and he abandoned me to figure out how to navigate adulthood without him. In the last 10 years, I had to learn that sometimes abandonment leads to evolution. It is the mandatory nudge from the universe to shape and define our destiny when we are separated from a contributor to our life.


For the ones who lost their dad and find themselves sad on Father’s day, the only way out the darkness is to find light. My light is celebrating my husband, who also lost his father. My light is cherishing the 20 years I had and making memorial posts on social media. My light is being able to type this blog post for you and know someone out there is reading this and doesn’t feel alone.

 

If you find yourself overcome by grief on this holiday, know you have a tribe who is there for you and if necessary, seek out a mental health counselor. Checkout this helpful resource to understand the death of a parent, here.

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