20 September 2017

Dad’s Not Here!

This article is published almost verbatim with a view to retaining the integrity of the authorship. Rejoice Always seeks to support and restore those who have had insoluble marital difficulties, and pray, that as the article suggests, in God’s grace there is always the chance to move on and one day benefit from the lessons learned.

How my daddy leaving affected me – a child of a broken home!

I am a 28-year-old woman with 4 beautiful and happy children and a very loving and lovable husband. My daddy walked out on us when I was 7 years old. When I say us, I mean my mummy, my big sister who was 11 years old and my younger brother who was 4 years old. He says he left my mummy but he didn’t, he left us all. I remember very clearly my mummy sitting us down in the living room of our end terrace, 3-bedroom family home to break the news our daddy had left. I can’t remember her words exactly but the emotions I felt are crystal clear – I was so unbelievably sad. We all cried and cried.

My mummy explained that my daddy’s leaving wasn’t because of us, the children, but that it was to do with them and we would still see him and have him in our lives. It just meant we wouldn’t all be living in the same house any more. That didn’t stop me from feeling totally rejected, I couldn’t understand why he would leave if he truly loved us? Why didn’t he love us enough to stay? What could I have done to hurt him that he did not love me? When will he love us enough to come back? Growing up was difficult. My “normal” family life was anything but normal. I felt rejected and learnt very quickly how to bottle up my feelings and pretend everything was okay. I became a people pleaser from fear of hurting anyone.

My mummy was a Christian and I was very much a little shadow of her. I loved being in her company and going everywhere with her. I went to church and house meetings with her. I went to Sunday School and Church clubs. I loved being a Christian and knew that even if I was rejected here on earth I was still very much accepted and loved in heaven.

Every night I prayed the Lord’s Prayer, thanked God for the day and said sorry for my sins. Every night I also prayed my daddy would come home to us so that we could be a family again. Every time I made a wish blowing out candles on a cake or blowing an eyelash off a fingertip, my wish was always the same. Even though I knew it was a silly, unreasonable thing to wish for, and even though it was impossible and it would never come true, still I wished.

I absolutely craved, and still do, family life. As I grew older, I spent weekends at friends’ houses pretending to be part of their families. I was really blessed to have such great friends whose families invited me in and accepted me. I never wanted to go home, I felt I didn’t have a home. I had a place where my stuff was, a bedroom but never a home.

I spent weekdays with my mummy and weekends with my daddy. I didn’t fit in anywhere, particularly when I became a teenager and both my parents remarried (2 days apart) and not to each other despite my wishes and prayers.

My daddy had a whole new family. I watched as photographs of myself, and my brother and sister where all replaced. I no longer had a bedroom or a space of my own in his home. He had no time for me, or at least I felt he had no time. I started drinking at the weekends from age 11. I loved to be the centre of attention and I didn’t recognize the person I’d become. I didn’t feel anyone really cared what I was up to as long as I didn’t get in their way or disrupt their plans.

I met my husband when I was 16 and I knew that things would all change. We both loved spending every minute we could with each other. He quickly became my security, my family, my home.

I never wanted anyone to feel sorry for me. I never wanted people to say horrible things about my daddy, regardless of what he had done. He was still my daddy. From an early age, I learnt very quickly to avoid certain conversations or be on guard. At the same time my daddy and his new wife would mock my mummy constantly and crack jokes about her life choices, particularly her Christian beliefs.

Everybody experiences difficult life situations and I very much believe we are shaped by these experiences, but they do not determine the person we become. Throughout life we are faced with choices. These choices determine the life we lead, the people we become and the path we follow. My daddy’s choice to have an affair and then to leave us has cost him dearly.

I have been extremely blessed. The Lord has answered my prayers from childhood. He has given me my loving family and a beautiful and very happy family home. He has given me my parents when I need them without all the hurt. I see my daddy more now than I ever did and I know he is always there and I know he has and always will love me. He has suffered a great loss and has a sense of responsibility for all the hurt he has caused.

Now I have everything I lost as a child, which makes me appreciate and cherish every precious day with my husband and children.

Mum’s story:

In order for this to be written I needed to ask my daughter to revisit a very painful time in her young life and bring back memories that were buried. A few days later, I explained why this article was potentially so important. If it could help even one adult from not putting their children through this pain then it would be worth it.

The world we live in has made us all very selfish. Our best friends; ‘me’, ‘myself’ and ‘I’ have robbed us of the pleasure of enjoying someone else getting the breaks. Scripture warns us over and over of the heartache that adultery produces. It releases a poison that infects all those whom we most want to protect; namely our children. The Bible offers the full range of parenting dilemmas. In the Old Testament, I read how adults would sacrifice their children in the fire to the false god Molech. Is it possible to understand how parents could ever inflict such pain on their own offspring?

When adultery ripped through our home the force of the impact reminded me of a massive bomb explosion that completely destroyed our family unit. The children had been robbed of their childhood family. Now you can dress it up any way you like and try to make it appear fine, but the reality is so very different. Shock produced deep agony for the children, and insecurity brought us all together to the extent that each night we would share the one bed along with several stuffed toys. This gave us a measure of comfort that at least we were together. The sleeping routine carried on for many weeks but slowly one by one each returned to their own bed except for the middle daughter who after a short time sharing a room with her sister came back to make my room, our room.

Weekends came round very quickly, and as soon as the door closed and the children left to spend the weekend with their daddy, I went quickly out the front door visiting or attending meetings in order to fill up the time with distractions. The house was very quiet; the silence was a sad silence because the heart had gone out of our home. The Lord helped me through every minute of this journey. The weekend had the same sad ending for many months to follow. Saying goodbye became a begging time for the children, clinging on to their daddy and crying for him to please stay. It would have brought tears to a stone. This experience of rejection was heartrending and it would always take a long time for the children to settle again after the weekend – by about Wednesday.

I wonder if they count the cost, ‘Me’, ‘Myself’ and ‘I’, when God gave the 7th commandment; “You shall not commit adultery.” He was possibly saying, don’t break anyone’s heart and if children happen to be there don’t break their wee hearts and rob them of their childhood. As a parent, when our child is faced with any sort of pain we want, if we could, to take the pain ourselves in order to protect our little children. Yet when adultery raises its ugly head we try to rationalise and de-sensitise their pain. But that’s not always the case in practice. The pain our children experience is incredibly hard to endure, but as a mother of such children I always tried to protect them as much as possible whilst dealing with my own pain. Hindsight is wonderful, but I did the best I could at the time with the best of intentions, and continually seeking God’s help.

My advice to anyone finding themselves being drawn into this situation, is; run a mile, look at your wee children and put their happiness first. Also remember you have made a covenant commitment and it’s up to you to do all within y o u r power to make that commitment work. It does no harm to remember love is not a feeling – it is an act of your will. Choose your family over any selfish affair. Such an affair will only suck the life out of you in the end. If at all possible, remain committed to your family, then you will reap the eternal rewards. To respect anonymity of the authors no names have been included.