Growing Up Without a Father – A Story of Survival

bog-silhouetteI had a great daddy, or at least that’s what they told me. When I was about 6 years old he went off to Desert Storm, he was in the Navy. I remember getting  letters that my mom would read me. I remember walking into my classroom after he left and a newspaper article with my dad’s picture was on the board. It said “Father of five deploys.”

I utterly lost it in the classroom. I cried for hours underneath a table in the back, I do remember that. My teacher let me do that for days. I’d go climb underneath my designated table and let the tears fall.

I almost died while he was on deployment. I had contracted Hepatitis A from some infected strawberries the school fed me. I guess Momma was distracted by stress of being a “single” momma, etc. By the time I received medical attention I was yellow, unable to move, and extremely dehydrated. I was in ICU for a while…all without my daddy.

When my father “came back” he wasn’t really back. He was different. He packed his bags and put them in the back of his truck. I climbed up and threw everything on the ground. “I just got you back,” I shouted. He left anyhow.

He never really came back. Momma got a check and that was about it. I grew up without a dad.

I use to fantasize what it must be like to have a father. I spent most of my childhood extremely fixated on wanting my dad, a dad. My birthday is Christmas Day and I use to always cry on my birthday over him. I figured if he would ever want me it would be on my birthday. That day had to mean something to him, right?!

My dad was changed when he deployed, and I suffered as a result. Sometimes we forget how much the military families have to endure as well. I never served, but I did give to my country.

Growing up without a dad can have some major impacts on a person’s life. I read this article, “In the Absence of Fathers: A Story of Elephants and Men.”  In this article, the author speaks of an interesting study that Wade Horn, Ph.D., President of the National Fatherhood Initiative, did focusing on the correlation between herds of elephants without a father and children raised without father figures.

As you can imagine, there was a increase of violence within both groups. This study just goes to show how important the role of a father is. Statistics show that being raised without a father increases risks of: dropping out of school, getting married/pregnant as a teenager, and an increase in likelihood of going to prison. Statistics | The Fatherless Generation

THERE IS A POSITIVE SIDE!

‘Fatherless daughters often develop determined spirits and survival very early on. They are loyal friends and can love like no other–ultimately, they just want to give love and be loved.’ – Karin Luise, Ph.D. and Denna Babul, RN. Advice for Fatherless Daughters – Girls Who Grow Up Without Fathers

I have always had a drive that most couldn’t explain. Even though I was in a home with a single momma of five kids, I always seemed to excel. When my siblings were playing outside, I was typically playing librarian by myself. I loved to get lost in books just to escape my reality.

I was the first and only to graduate High School. After getting married and while having kids, I was going to college full time while also working a full-time job. My kids would go to sleep and I would study. For six longs years I barely slept and could hardly ever go anywhere as I always had homework or housework to do, but WE MADE IT!

I graduated college and then landed a good job. My level of determination has served me well. I drew strength from what was suppose to hold me back. Do I still suffer from the loss of my father? Yes. I have a hard time feeling equal in a room full of people. I still get envious when people speak of their fathers, but I also realize that I have an amazing drive to succeed and will to survive that most don’t have.

Moral of the story is that you have to change your mindset from that of a victim. You have to always try to find strength in that which was suppose to hurt you. By doing that, you take control and power back. It’s okay to feel the pain from time-to-time but what’s not okay is to live in your own sorrow. It happened and it’s okay to be sad. Focus on the positive – YOU ARE A SURVIVOR!

This is my story and I am proud of what I have become. – Krystal J.

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