When I was a teenager I remember watching an episode of Oprah about a fatherless daughter. In that episode Oprah said ‘little girls have a hole in their hearts in the shape of their fathers.’ I remember hearing this and thinking, calm down Oprah, that’s a bit extreme. But I get it now.
Growing up I had the most amazing dad, I called him Pookie and he was my best friend. He was the hardest working man I knew, up and out before the sun, home to then work on projects in the shed til late, always up a ladder fixing something and always the life of the party! We had talked about skydiving together for his 50th birthday and I always knew that at my wedding we’d dance to Horses by Daryl Braithwaith for our Father/Daughter dance.
He was my biggest supporter, always at the side of the netball court and would spend hours defending me while I practiced shooting goals on a night.
When I was 16ish (my memory is really bad!) my dad took a job working away. He would go on a Monday morning and come home on a Friday. Time went on and he would come home on a Saturday morning and leave Sunday night, then he’d start coming straight to netball on Saturdays, til eventually sometimes he wouldn’t come home at all.
I finished high school, met Greig and started out in life and then my Dad come home one weekend and dropped the bomb that he was leaving for good that day. I was so side swiped, looking back maybe there were signs but at the time I was so caught up in life that I didn’t see any.
My parents divorce got messy really quick, no one was speaking, accusation were being thrown around and no one was picking up the reins to be the adult.
Initially I think my dad tried to come see us on the weekends, he would take me out in Bella my little red Ford laser and give me a driving lesson or appear in the jewellery store I worked at or come to netball. As a kid you don’t always know the full story but these visits quickly become infrequent and then stopped.
I had met Greig the Summer before this all happened and we had been talking about me coming back to England with him and making a go of it. My home life was in turmoil, no matter where I looked there was confrontation and I’m not a confrontational kind of person, it was an easy decision to jump on a plane and go half way around the world. I would contact my dad but he was a completely different person. He was no longer the fun jokester I loved and his girlfriend would be in the back ground yelling at me, the phone calls always ended in tears. The last time I saw him was when I went home for my 21st birthday, I’m now 31.
When we got engaged I thought I best call my dad because I didn’t want him hearing through a family member who found out on Facebook! I rung and told him we were getting married and his response was ‘I thought you were already f***king married.’ It was that day I realised all my dreams of having my dad with me for my wedding and dancing to Horses for our Father/Daughter dance were gone. And the day I realised Oprah was right.
I haven’t spoken to my dad since that day, he never called on my wedding day or come to see me while we were home on our Honeymoon.
I often think about how much he would love to be involved in our life. He loved Greig and come to watch him play cricket. He would love the renovations we’ve done and I always wish he could come over and help out with odd bits and bobs around the house. Most of all I think he’d love my business. He worked really hard jobs for years trying to make ends meet and put food on the table but I honestly think he could have made a real go of having his own business just through sheer enthusiasm and hard work he would have succeeded.
So on Father’s Day I’m sad for the moments I can’t get back, the dreams I have that won’t come to life and the man that used to be my hero.