A woman who lives in Key Biscayne, Florida, has always wanted someone she could call dad. Since she couldn't get along with her own dad, she kept hoping for a replacement; a stepdad, an uncle, or a mentor. Unfortunately, it never happened, and eventually, she gave up on her search for a father figure in her life.
She felt her life was empty and was often confused about whether she should feel ashamed and blame herself for not having a father to count on. That emptiness went on for several years until the time came to choose a different path. She made up her mind to heal. She was also a mother by that time and had gone through a divorce.
As she sat with her kids on a sunny day, she felt the confidence come back to her, even though she and her kids all felt fatherless. She wanted to show them that there was more to life than being upset and rejected. And faith was the answer she'd been looking for all along.
What are the details?
"I spent each Father's Day without any man to call my dad. I always wished for some replacement; a stepdad, an uncle, or a mentor. But no one ever seemed willing somehow, and I gave up after a while. I accepted a life without a father figure was what I would always have," she shared with Your Tango about what it felt like to have no one around to rely on as a father.
This led to questions and doubts, and she wasn't sure what she should do to feel better.
"What happens to a woman who grows up without a dad? Emptiness. Blame and shame. For years, the emptiness bothered me, but there came a time in my life when I had to choose a different path, leading to a healing place. I knew it was too unhealthy to have him in my life. It took time to let go of the dream I could one day be a 'daddy's little girl.' Realizing that day would not ever happen because of the choices he made turned each Father's Day into a sad day," she added.
She found it hard to understand that the one man she thought would look after her was gone, and she didn't feel safe without someone to look up to.
"This man who should have protected and loved me was the one to hurt me the worst of all. His breach of trust made me feel unsafe with any man," she said.
The woman didn't find any consolation in faith either since that lack of trust went beyond daily life and affected the very principles she used to guide herself.
"I didn't trust the idea of God. I had heard God is a father to the fatherless, but how could he allow what happened to me to take place? I was upset with God and wasn't ready to let any man, even a spiritual one, come close to my heart."
This all changed when she became a mom. The woman had two sons, and because of them, she wanted to transform her life.
"The love for my boys started to make me wish for a change. I decided I didn't want my kids growing up as I did. I sat on the ocean's edge one sunny day with my two boys. The breeze was mild, and the sky was filled with night stars. The three of us were fatherless; it was Father's Day. My background of a broken home became the legacy I passed down to my children. For years my father let me down, and although I asked him to make it right, he refused to accept responsibility."
After confronting her dad and not getting any positive answers, she decided to stop contacting him. Her emotional burden also led to a divorce, so as a single mom, she set out to bring things back on track.
"I forgave him after a confrontation with no apology. The emotional baggage I carried into my marriage caused a divorce. I became a single mom, and my children now faced parental estrangement. Divorce changed a whole family into separate homes, single parents, and distant states with lives that rarely intersected."
Going to church only made their situation more obvious, and there were times when they all felt hurt and excluded.
"At church, our fatherlessness was heightened, wrapped in good intentions. 'Give thanks to every dad here today! If you're a dad, stand up so we can acknowledge your dedication,' the preacher said in the church to the congregation. As dads stood next to wives and children, my boys glanced around. My eldest nestled his head to my side. His brother sat, eyes and mouth emotionless."
Their dad was not there, and they had no one else to replace him.
"I recalled memories when as a child, I looked for a father, anyone's dad, to be a father figure in my life, and I always turned up empty-handed. Was the lack my children feel any different? I didn't want them to suffer; maybe there was a way for us to grow in our faith together in this moment of absence."
In the end, she turned to her faith to get the support she needed. By believing there was another path she could take, she slowly started to let hurt feelings go and make new memories with her kids while redefining fatherhood in their lives.
"I accepted God was a dad I could depend on. Believing this created opportunities as I moved into adulthood. I knew God had filled the gaps, and my faith became the pathway to a new definition of fatherhood.'
That's how she got the idea of staying close to the ocean and its calming waves.
"An hour later, my sons and I sat on the familiar sand. The sound of the waves touched my heart. As my sons watched the sunset beneath the watery horizon, I handed each a piece of paper. 'Write down 'Happy Father's Day.' We all scribbled. 'Now, write down what you wish your dad could do for you, but he's not here to do.' When we finished writing, I instructed, 'Now, tear up the paper into pieces. We're going to put those ashes into the water.' 'Why, Mommy?' My eldest asked. 'The Bible says to cast all cares on Jesus.'"
As her kids started to understand the meaning of what they were doing, joyful thoughts replaced ideas about abandonment and rejection. They knew they had finally found what they were looking for.
"Smiles formed on their tiny faces. Here it is. A new beginning for us. Let's ask Jesus to take the hurts and make them better. Holding hands, we prayed, 'Father, God. We know you love us; we are your children. Take the broken pieces and remember us. We love you.' We tossed those ashes like troubles into the depths of the ocean. Believing God hears."