After seeing that Essence Magazine’s West Coast Editor, Regina Robertson was releasing a book of personal essays and interviews featuring women like her, whose father also never came home; for whatever reason that may be, it’s no reason at all. The title and the cover of the book struck me the most; it could almost bring me to tears, “He Never Came Home.” That resonated with me, probably because that was my story too. I knew I wanted in and I reached out to get a copy.
While I didn’t lack a father or better yet a dad growing up since the age of 6, I still do have memories, although very few, of the first man I knew. I was a shy little girl often with people I didn’t know, and I remember the first time I asked my mom if I could call the man I call my dad today, “dad.” She told me to ask him. I did and ever since that day that is who he is and there will never be any questions or doubts about it. I am fortunate however, to know where I come from really. There are some girls my age, younger, or older that don’t have a clue who their biological father is or let alone have a male figure in their life to call dad. That strikes a real nerve in me and I am always deeply saddened to know this reality. As I read the stories in Regina’s book, so well-written, I could cry. Women like myself have grown up without dad for various reasons; whether abandonment, death, or divorce. This has to stop. No wonder we have all these issues in today’s society.
Although, I had a dad growing up and didn’t miss a beat from a young age, I still wonder because I’m human. I have tough skin, yes, but how could he? When I was younger I remember him for a brief spell in and out of my life. After mom and he separated he made “false” promises and could never keep them. I never understood. I remember having words with him at a point, about 12 years old, because I was hurt. He always painted this picture, his always same manipulative ways. He never changed. He cleaned himself up after a while and we tried again to have a relationship, that didn’t last very long. I even have this man’s number and he has mine. This man has missed birthdays, my back surgery when I was 12 years old, holidays, break-ups, graduations, happy times, and the list goes on. He missed moments that my sister and I will never forget. However, I do forgive him, because I have to. I can’t hold on to what could have been or what ifs or how could he, the bitterness. Prayer is the key. Forgiveness is for me, not him. I pray that my little sister can also do the same. She knows. We tried to hide that reality from her for a long time.
We even have a half-sister that we sort of had a relationship with at a point, however, she lives a different lifestyle somewhere and that relationship was already tarnished a long time ago. Despite, I love her, my niece, and my nephew that don’t even know who I am. I have seen them once at our biological uncle’s funeral, his brother, when they were very young. They wouldn’t have a clue if they passed me on the street and nor would I.
At my age, now I think more often than not. I don’t dwell on things, but I do think sometimes that I hope this man hasn’t unconsciously ruined me. I like to think I have it all together and of course the normal, figuring this thing called life out, daily living, dreaming, and surviving. You’ve heard it before a father is a daughter’s first love and if he just ups and leave, doesn’t treat her or her mom right; that can scar her, sometimes without her even realizing it. I have heard too many women like me say the exact same thing and some even need counseling for it. I am good. I have numbed myself and have cried tears. Seeking closure is important and this is mine.
In relationships ladies, you have to remember not every man is the same. Try your hardest to know that. Just because your “sperm donor” was or is a d**k doesn’t mean that the next man that comes into your life will be. Don’t let him ruin your relationships or your life, period. Take it from me. Sometimes you may not realize that there is some insecurity there, because of what he did or what you saw growing up, even if it was just for the first six years of your life. I still remember him: the heinekens (him asking me to go grab him one), the studio room in the back, sitting on his lap portraying he was father-material, but then turnaround and put me out when he was doing extra-curricular activities that I was too young to understand then. I know now. I was reminded by someone significant in my life and have helped to change my life in ways he may never know; that I have to find a way to forgive him, although for a long time I thought I had, maybe I didn’t. I am working on that now.
This book, “He Never Came Home,” was a healing metric and I recommend all women, especially those who can relate to read. You will walk away changed. Thank you and as for ELB, who shares the same initials as me, I know now that you really just don’t know how to love. That’s why you are who you are and do what you do, and have done what you have done. You don’t know the meaning or how to really give or express love. It’s no excuse either, but again, you were a victim of your circumstances and growing up, you didn’t have that. Hopefully one day you’ll forgive yourself, because I already have. I love you anyway for helping to give life to my sisters and me. I have a mom and a dad that love me endlessly, so I’m blessed and thankful that with them by my side I don’t ever have to wonder. This is my personal essay.
Photo Credit(s): Amazon