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"My father refuses to be a part of my life, and it's like I died inside"
We received a heart-felt letter from a 41-year-old mother who explains the detrimental effect her father's cold manner towards her has had on her.
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"Here is my story about my father.

When I was growing up, I didn't know him. I was brought up by my great-grandmother. At school when we were taught about the Bible and the fact that Mary was impregnated by the Holy Spirit, I said to myself that is what must have happened to my mother because I had never seen a father figure in my life.

When I was about 10 years old, my mother came to fetch me from my great-gran to attend her dad's funeral. In town, travelling to my mom's home, I heard her calling out to a certain man; he stopped and we went to him. My mom had my stepsister, who was a few months old, on her back. They communicated using English and I thought, "Oh, they don't want me to hear what they're saying."

I didn't hear their whole conversation but I heard my mom saying, "The child doesn't have school shoes," and I asked myself which child would that be? I put two and two together. Mom called that man by his name, so I decided to keep that name in my mind as that 10 year old. The man gave my mom some money, so I said to myself it must be for the shoes. 


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When I was about 15 years old and starting high school, one of my aunts (my mom's sister) wanted to take care of my schooling. She took me to my mom's home, because my mom had married and my aunt was staying with her mom and other family members in that house. My great-gran used to love me very much, and even though I was no longer staying with her, she used to send transport money for me to my aunt. One day I was with my gran, and I decided to ask her my father's surname. Mind you, I had kept that other name since I was 10, and you must know I never verified that name with anyone. My gran told me his surname, and I kept that too on my mind as a 15-year-old. 

"You look exactly like him!"

When I was 16, I'd met new friends in class and we were so close to each other. We used to write byshort (notes on a small piece of paper) to each other. So this one day I wrote a note and at the end, I wrote my name and both surnames: my mom's and my father's. My friend screamed and said, "I know this surname, how come you wrote it?" and I told her that it's my father's. She screamed, "I know them, they are rich people!" She asked me who my father was, I told her that name I'd kept since I was a 10-year-old, and she said, "I know him and I know where he stays." She said, "Oh my God, you look exactly like him."

After this discovery, me and my friends decided that he had to be part of my life, he had to take care of his responsibilities as a father and he had to pay for me as he was well off. So we decided to write a letter and gave him a time, date and a place to meet. We left the letter with the nanny – later on that nanny told me that she saw that I was his kid because I look exactly like him. She gave him the letter in private, not in front of the wife.

That day came and we were waiting for him, so my friends knew him and his car, they told me, "There he is." We didn't speak for very long, I told him that I needed him in my life and he should pay for my schooling, especially at tertiary level. I requested money for an upcoming tour in the letter, so he gave it to me. He also told me to fetch pocket money monthly at one of his shops in town, he gave me the name of a person I had to talk to when fetching it.

He was not a very warm person, I remember he didn't even hug me that day. I thought my father would want to make up for all the 16 years that he had lost, not being in my life. Boy!!!! I was so wrong.

I visited my great-gran and I told her that I'd met my father, and she told me straight away that she didn't want me to have a relationship with him. She didn't tell me why but she told me to stay away from him.

Meeting the rest of my family

I was due for my pocket money so I went to my father's store to fetch it, and the lady was so happy to see me, she was so welcoming and she was amazed about how much I looked like him. She decided to take me to my father's sisters, who happened to own a salon. They were also excited to see me and took me to see their mom (my other grandmother) at home. They told me that every month I should come to the salon to do my hair for free as I was their brother's child.

My grandmother was so happy to see me and she gave me warmth and love. I spent time there just sitting and chatting, she told the helper to dish up for me as they used to cook their supper early. I was so happy and I felt love. My aunts took me back to town and I went home.

I told my grandmother on my mom's side where I'd come from and she was happy for me. I told my mother that I had met my father and she got the shock of her life as she had never told me who my father was. She asked me how I knew and I told her.


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My father is not a loving person at all, he wanted me to do a one-year course and find a job and then live my life without worrying him, but it didn't happen like that. I finished that one-year course, but I couldn't find a job. I needed to learn more. I pleaded with him so I could do another three-year course, but he refused. He wanted me to go and study at the institution chosen by him, and I refused. I tried and tried and eventually he agreed to pay for my three-year diploma. He was not such an easy person, but I'm very persistent, I kept on pushing until he would say yes.

The money wasn't enough, I wanted a dad

He started showing his true colours. There was a day I visited his house because stepmom said I could visit and take care of my half-siblings as they were going away. When fetching me from the bus stop, he told me not to call him father as I would confuse his kids. I didn't understand how a father could ask a daughter not to call him father.

One day I was calling him to wish him happy Father's Day and he told me not to wish him one. He has hurt me so much. When his mom was alive, she would ask him that she wanted to see me, but he would refuse.

When his mom died in 2012, he didn't even greet me and he wouldn't even talk to me. He felt bad when he saw his kids holding my 6-month-old baby and she slept in their arms. He doesn't even have a relationship with my child.

I will not lie, he did help me here and there in life, but the way he treats me hurts.

At times I send him SMSs asking why he treats me this way, and I ask him what it is that I ever did to him, but most of the times he doesn't respond. Currently he doesn't want to take my calls, we don't see each other, we don't talk.

I'm unemployed and I'm asking him not for money, but for help since he's got influences, but he won't budge. I'm just asking for him to be a father to me and be in my life, my hubby and my daughter's, but he is not interested. I'm 41 years old now and I have been looking for acknowledgement and love since I was 16 years old.

I wrote this story just to show you that the absence of fathers in their children's lives destroy them big time, we die inside. I'm hurt inside by the way he treats me. I won't lie, there are a lot of great fathers out there, I applaud them. My husband is also such a great father. I thank God for my hubby and daughter.

I wish it was easy for me to just erase him and pretend he doesn't exist, I try to do that but it's very difficult to do. I pray to God to be with me and heal me.

* Letter lightly edited for length and clarity.

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