I’m pretty sure Cake never intended for the song “Never There” to be related to a Father/Daughter relationship but that is what it has always symbolized for me. The song starts out with, “I need your arms around me. I need to feel your touch. I need your understanding. I need your love so much.”
Sitting in my window as young child I would look to the stars with the same thoughts. The song continues on, “You tell me that you love me so, You tell me that you care, But when I need you
baby (Insert Daddy), You’re never there.”
According to those in the know my first encounter with domestic violence was before I was old enough to form lifelong memories. Over the years the story has become a he said she said of half truths but one thing is for certain and both sides agree on it. My Mother and Father’s relationship was toxic. Depending on who you ask the toxicity levels differ so I assume they were both eligible players in their little game.
When I was two my brother was born and shortly after that my Mom packed our bags and headed back home. Leaving my Dad who was active duty in the military at the time. I understand that she left with no warning, in her mind an escape from the horror that was my Father.
I don’t know what really happened or when and why he decided my Brother and I weren’t worth his time. I do have memories of him in my early childhood but they are fleeting and few and far in between. There were no Birthday or Christmas cards in between long visits. No phone calls to remind us that he cared. He was just gone and then he wouldn’t be. The periods in between grew further and further apart until there were no more visits.
As an adult I was told by Father that he had to be institutionalized because of the mind games my Mother played on him. It was too hard for him to see his children when it meant having to interact with her. As I an adult who knows my Mother I can sympathize but the inner child in me takes no comfort in the fact that I wasn’t worth it to him to bare with her instabilities long enough to see me once in a blue moon. After all I had to suffer through her madness for 17 years, a few visits here and there from him would have only exposed him to miniscule amounts of her malarkey.
When I was a teenager I spent some time on the internet tracking down my Dad. I believe I found an uncle or cousin, I forget now, who would know how to reach my Dad. At first I was told it would be impossible, that there was no way this person would contact my Dad for me. I forget the specifics but it seemed like it would disturb my Dad deeply to be contacted by me. Who knows but in the end I was connected to my Dad.
Now I can’t recall all the logistics but it was disappointing to say the least. I wanted answers, I wanted love, I wanted to force a relationship that he wasn’t offering. We would play this cat and mouse game for a few years where he would push me away because I made him uncomfortable with my insufferable demands for answers and a Father/Daughter relationship that he obviously didn’t know how to give me.
Eventually he learn of my atheism and used it as a justifiable excuse to disown me, how convenient. At this point I threw in the towel, I thought to myself why was I chasing a man who so obviously didn’t want me. So I quit chasing. There was a certain calm this time. I knew more about who I was and I no longer needed him to confirm this for me. It’s not to say that I didn’t long for that Father/Daughter relationship as I’m still envious of those who have one, I’ve just accepted that I do not.
Being abandoned by my Dad is one of the most pivotal points in my story. I lack the words to adequately express the hole in my heart that it left. In my heart and in my mind I knew him. I loved him. It didn’t matter that we’d separated when I was a toddler. The attachment and feelings I had for him still existed. The foundation had been set and then ripped away from me. The lack memories did not create a lack of emotional attachment. I knew that for those first few years he loved me dearly. When I look back at pictures there’s a twinkle in his eye that a Father only has for his Daugher. So I mourn the dimming of that twinkle. I had it and lost it which seems worse than never having it at all.
Update: My Dad and I are back on speaking terms. While writing these stories I was inspired to reach out to him again. I will post an updated story along with the series of my stories during Domestic Violence Awareness month.
If you are in need of help there are resources available. Please reach out and call the National Domestic Violence Hotline Support, resources and advice for your safety 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) Available: 24/7, 365 days a year. Bilingual advocates on hand. Resources: thehotline.org