I remember being a little girl, waiting at the front door of my house. I sat there happy as ever, waiting for my father to pull up on the curb with his silver Subaru hatchback. Minutes turned into hours and my smile grew smaller and smaller every second. I wish I would have known back then that daddy wasn’t coming to see me, but as a little kid we all have one big thing filling our hearts and minds — hope.
Growing up, it was always weird answering the question, “Where is your dad, Kayla?” Because in all honesty, I didn’t know where he was most of the time. I knew nothing about him. I don’t even know his favorite color, his favorite season, or his favorite sport. His job took him all across the country, and after getting divorced with my mom he disappeared off the face of the earth. I would see him periodically, a couple times when I was five, once when I was seven and 10. The last time I saw him I was 12 years old, in the recovery room because I just got my tonsils taken out. The anesthesia was working pretty well on me, as I barely recollect seeing him. Today, I wish I would have said something to him, because that was the last time I ever saw his smile and voice.
The day after my 13th birthday, my mother got a phone call from her fellow co-worker. “What’s Kayla’s last name again, Kathy?” she asked my mom, her voice laced with worry. My father’s obituary was plastered in the city newspaper. He had been dead for 7 days, and I would not have even known if it wasn’t for my mother’s friend. My mom told me with tears streaming down her face, and I stared at her with disbelief. My daddy was dead. I immediately reverted back to my 5-year old self, the little girl who was obsessed with her dad and was the true definition of a "daddy’s girl." It didn’t hit me until a few days later, where I sobbed uncontrollably in my room for hours. I couldn’t believe he was gone. The funeral was all a blur. I can remember everyone telling me how sorry they were for my loss, and how my father was such a great man. But I didn’t believe them. He wasn’t a good father at all, so how could he be a good man? He abandoned me.
As I got older, the loss of my father affected my mental health. I became depressed, extremely depressed. I felt like my father didn’t love me. He rejected me. Negative thoughts like these continued to spread throughout my brain. It became an endless cycle of negativity for me. But, then I made a breakthrough: My father’s mistakes should not change my self-worth. He didn’t know how to address the problem at hand, so he decided to ignore it. His wrongdoing had nothing to do with me though, it was completely his own lack of morality and principle. So, to anyone reading this who feels rejected because a parent isn’t/wasn’t in their life, I know how you feel. But, it all gets better. Their wrongdoings do NOT define who you are. Without them you will still rise, and use all of your potential for good in the world. YOU are important.