Surviving a fatherless childhood. 

My father exited my life when I was 12

Next  time I saw him again, I was 15 and I had already gone through all the stages of grief. 

Seeing him again didn’t fill me with any anticipation or desire to have answers. 

The expectation of him to show up dwindled with every bell that asked parents to leave at the end of every school visitation, where he didn’t show. 

All the questions I had for him had been asked and answered by me,  myself and  our imaginary friend. 

I sat with him on a pavement, looked at him, and we made small talk.  He didn’t volunteer any explanations and I was grateful, because there was now a numbness about our relationship that was comfortable.

Then I grew up and discovered the phrase,  “daddy issues.” The label we receive for not having our fathers present in our lives. 

It was  cool at first. It made me feel special on some level as if I had an enviable unique  characterisic. 

Before I could settle into my newly acquired title, I realized, it was just a mockery of my character. Some sort of explanation for how I behaved,  spoke or responded, so I resented it with every fiber of my being. 

I promised myself to be the opposite of what having daddy issues ‘dictated’ I should be.

I saw him again,  this time,  I was 19, getting ready to join university. Our conversation lasted longer than the last time. 

We talked about going to law school and how he was worried that the course would put me in harm’s way.

He suggested a few easier or safer choices, I agreed with him so I didn’t have to explain myself.  

He held my hand and walked with me for a while and we parted ways just a few safe meters away from mother dearest. 

After that day,  I realized how far apart him and I were. It hurt like hell.

I wanted to talk to him about why going to law  school  was important to me. It was so heart wrenching,  almost like a desperate need for approval. 

I wanted to confide in him about my fears of going to campus, because well I had been in a single girls’ school and the idea of  sitting in a classroom with boys was really disturbing my 19 year old brain. 

I also feared that telling him those things would remove the comforting numbness from our relationship and replace it with a feeling I couldn’t control.

So I let go of his hand and disappeared into one of the toughest phases of my life, and I have  survived, for the most part.

It’s safe to say, that in a way without trying ,he trained me to love with restraint and forgive at a reckless speed.

I would let go of your hand before you have an opportunity to let go of mine. 

I would run way before you have a chance to walk away from me. 

It  worked, until now,

I grew weary of being cautious in the name of being careful. 

Somewhere along the way I healed from all of it, 

It’s no longer the story of my life, it’s just part of my story 

And because Uganda Blogging Community is insisting on all this telling this week, I get to share it. 
 Otherwise how are you doing? 


  1. diary of a headless chicken

    Girl I feel you every step of the way, even the fact that these things pop up randomly, make you salty in totally different contexts. Someone one ion Facebook just posted some crap about black fathers rocking father hood and debunking the myth of absentee fatherhood in black culture. I lost my shit there and then on his wall. Its one thing to live with the reality of absentee fatherhood and another thing to call our reality a myth in trying to save face in front of the white people.
    He cited lack of money and I thought oh man. If it was all about money, our lesser educated mothers with lower paying jobs than men would be the fast to throw us in the trash can.

    Absentee fatherhood is a real black problem and reality and the sooner its accepted by the men and change the better for black communities.
    The myth is not so much absentee father hood as it is present participatory fatherhood.
    Sorry I am all over the place and not even really commenting on your post but lemme just conclude by saying that as a girl who has grown up in this type of household I know your pain.

    I know the longing for a father, the waiting and the point at which you decide to give it up.
    I know the weight of acceptance. I know the weight of love you have for your mother and the fear that if ever anything should happen to her you are on your own.
    I know the nights where this shit just gets out of your tear glands without warning.
    I know the longing for the intimacy of men and the equally matched fear of it because you know that intimacy is what begun your moms sorrows.
    I know the search of fathers in boys and every man we meet and the terror of finding him.
    I know about collecting fathers. From movies and from your friends with nice fathers, I know about the fantasy of making them your own in your head.
    I know the caution towards men you get. I know the burden of knowledge about men from what your mother told you or what you have experienced.
    I know the burden of restraint from men because you gotta keep your wits about you or you are fucked.
    I know about the fear of sex because you know it to be the beginning of the end.
    I know about the wait for a husband who can make up for a father.
    I know about running from men endlessly.
    I know the weight of skepticism towards love and unions.
    I know the confusion about whether you have truly forgiven if you are still feeling that pain and anger.
    Gurl I know it all. You are not the only one.

    1. Post

      Thank you Kuku
      This warmed my heart in ways I can’t explain.
      Thank you for sharing your story here.
      I get so allover the place sometimes
      Am not sure what am supposed to feel.
      So thank you
      I wrote this almost unconsciously
      And finding this comment, I realize I needed to write it
      So you can tell am not crazy.
      Thank you

  2. Angel Mbeks

    This so touching i hear you girl.

    By the way check out my latest post am trying to clear the air of some blog post that was written by someone else(hacker) on my blog yesterday ….and i saw you clicked the like button so check out for your clarity.

  3. Liz Achola

    Ur post has made me shed a tear but I so understand what ur going through or went thru. Personally my father may not have exited my life but its like he did. So I don’t know whats worse, having him around and seein him everyday but never having anything to talk abt or not having him around n still having nothing to talk to him abt… Anyways i get u, n am sorry he left.

    1. Post

      Thank you.
      We all learn to cope and snap without warning.
      After all we survived.
      Nothing is more important.
      Thank you for reading and sharing part of your story.
      It helps to know that people can relate.

  4. imjustafollower

    Absolutely beautiful and well written. I too can relate to this however, it was my mother who was absent and not my father. But, pain is pain…

    I love when you said,” It’s safe to say, that in a way without trying ,he trained me to love with restraint and forgive at a reckless speed”. Perfectly stated and describes how i feel at times. My mother is the one person i can forgive over and over and over as if im not truly hurt!

    Keep posting. Love it!

    1. Post

      Thank you .
      The most rewarding thing as a writer is when someone says they can relate..
      That it’s not just me but us.
      Thank you again for reading and commenting.

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