GTT: Healed

I see them everywhere. Walking through a department store, sitting in a restaurant, waiting in line for a flight, posting pictures across Facebook and beyond. They are fathers. Wonderful, doting, patient fathers. And I don't have one.

My first heartbreak isn't special when you consider the vast numbers of fatherless children in this world, but it tore my world apart. My father was there once, he had to be. I have snippets of memories that flame up when I search for them. They are fleeting and timeless: turning soap suds into clothes during bath time, building a snowman on our front lawn, standing at the sink watching him wash a dish. He is young and protective. I am wide open for him. I trust him without thought or intention, because he is my Daddy.

But then he was gone. He didn't die; he decided to live a life that excluded my sisters and me. He made choices that hurtled him down a dark and dank path filled with drug addiction and prison sentences. While his body was often there -- when he needed a place to live, when the guilt of leaving was too much for him to bear, when his paranoia made him believe our home was the only place "they" couldn't find him -- his mind and (more importantly) his heart were always somewhere else.

You can't fake love. Not when your child looks into your eyes. Not when your daughter reaches for you and you move out of her grasp. What I knew then, what I shut my heart off from as a child, was etched in concrete when I was old enough to say out loud: "You don't love us, not the way a father should." And his eyelids flickered as he said, "You're right. I wish it were different, but there's just too much distance."

A hot knife. The sharpest razor. A heart wrenched straight from your chest. A cavernous hole where love should live. That's a fatherless child. That's a woman carrying anger and hurt where her pride and esteem should be. That's a woman burning her way through the world without worry about who gets hurt because one person isn't strong enough for that burden.

This is a woman who put it down. This is the fatherless child who chose a new path for herself and decided to love and protect herself rather than wait for someone else to,. This is the woman who pours strength and devotion into her children's eyes, and never misses a moment to show them she loves them. This is the broken heart pieced back together with faith and determination and courage.

This is a healed heart, and it is the strongest of them all.


This post was written for Girl Talk Thursdays. Anyone can participate, so go join up if it speaks to you!


  • thepsychobabble

    You're wonderfully strong.excuse me, I need to go hug the kiddos now,

  • Moore Minutes

    This is an excellent post. The writing is so real and rich and instantly pulled my emotions in. Wow, truly heartbreaking. :( You are incredibly strong and my heart has you in it today. <3

  • NeuroClassyMommy

    Wow. As I read this, I thought so much of my mother. Her father chose to leave emotionally and physically, too. Recently, as he is approaching death, she has spoken with him and it has been heart-wrenching. Very conflicting feelings. It's been hard for me to watch, too. My mother, too, chose to be a better parent for her children. And I am so thankful for that - and thankful for my Daddy.

  • Kelly Miller

    Good dads are heroes. I mean, I know that all good parents are heroes, but a man who is fully present in his children's lives and who loves them with his whole heart is an amazing thing. I am forever grateful that my children will always have that.

  • Severine

    Oh God, I'm with Psychobabble, I'm gonna go hug my kids now!!!!! So powerful. Your writing truly is profound... My turn to give a hug to the little girl who had to endure this!

  • Cheryl

    *applause* I respect and admire both your strength and your devotion. An amazing post. TFS.

  • Kelly Miller

    @Severine - I have a feeling every little girl on this planet needs a hug for one reason or the other. I'm proud to accept yours.

    @Cheryl - Thank you!

  • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

    Beautiful. Heart-breaking. Inspiring. Your heart, healed and sturdy, is palpable in these exquisite words.

    What an introduction to your blog. I will be back for more. Hope you'll have me.

  • The Ranting Mommy

    Hey! I remember well your lovely comments on my post about my dad. And, though I am sad to hear the story of your dad, I am glad that you are able to speak so eloquently of your road to dealing with it on your terms. A healed heart is a beautiful thing. I honor you and your heart.

  • Kelly Miller

    @Aiden - Thank you, and of course I'd have you.

    @TRM - It helps to have an outlet to work through your feelings without faces and baggage in the way. I know you know what I mean. And thank you.

  • Della

    The last one I read, and the first (only) one that made me cry. It is so unfair, so utterly wrong, that you should have lived this. It makes me angry. I'm glad you are healed, but my heart is screaming for justice, too late. I'm sorry.

  • Ellie

    Wow, thank you for posting that. Your story makes me think of my (hate-filled) relationship with my father. You must be a very strong person. Growing up, my father was almost the same as yours(just with alcohol). Most of my childhood was terrifying and I've never been able to forgive him.

    I wish could be healed like you. I at least know I will never treat my children the way he treated me and my siblings.

    P.S.: What an great GGT topic this week. It's amazing what we all have lived through and learned from!

  • Jack Steiner

    That was very well put. I am sorry that you have missed out on having a father. As the father of a daughter I can think of no greater pleasure than spending time with her.

    At least when she is not screaming at me because she is over tired, but on the whole. :)

  • Jen

    Kelly. I can feel the hurt, the disbelief. And I can feel the strength. The recovery. The love you have for your own children.

  • becca

    Wow Kelly, what a powerful post. I felt your pain and your strength through your words. I am unable to empathize with how you must feel but what i can absolutely see is that you've chosen the right path and the mistakes you encountered as a child you are more than making up for with your family.

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