To the Fatherless Daughter,

You’re not alone, my dear. Every young woman is born with a strong and sacred love for her father. From birth we have an unexplainable desire to trust him, lean on him and believe the best in him.

The role of a father in the life of his daughter is a sacred one. There is no doubt of the importance of this relationship dynamic. Truth is, every daughter desires to have a special bond with their father; regrettably, not every girl has the chance.

Whether or not your father is absent voluntarily or involuntarily, similar struggles can often present themselves as you move forward and learn to navigate life without him.

Sixteen years ago, I lost my father. As I write this letter, I have lived the majority of my life without him. I was eleven years old when he passed and I was completely unaware of the unique set of challenges that it would create for me over time because of such a heartbreaking and confusing loss.

I, too, have felt the impact of being a fatherless daughter and have seen the ripples of it in my closest relationships, greatest successes and most difficult seasons.

You may not know it now, but one day you will come to realize that this heartbreaking experience will become yet another beautiful and brilliant part of who you are.

My story has created in me a passion for helping other women navigate this shift. I am writing you this letter with the sheer hope that a few of the life lessons I’ve learned along the way will guide you in navigating your own unique journey.

Learn to forgive your father. Learn to forgive yourself.

Do this by remembering the small and perfect moments you spent together. If you were not able to create these memories with your father, I encourage you to write down the lessons that you learned from his legacy instead.

If at all possible, seek out ways to honor your father.

Dedicate one day a year when you meditate on him, spending more of your energy thinking about the things he did right. This can be Father’s Day, or another date that holds significant meaning. You can donate your time to helping other young men and women with similar experiences, write an encouraging letter to your father (even if it’s one you never send) or recreate a sentimental moment that you both shared (like building a bird house or visiting a park).

You may not know it now, but one day you will come to realize that this heartbreaking experience will become yet another beautiful and brilliant part of who you are.

Try to avoid using sarcasm as a shield or a defense mechanism for dealing with the pain.

Instead, speak truth into your life and circumstances. Always seek out the beauty in life and in others. Watch as this begins to chip away at the walls around your heart and lead to greater joy and happiness.

Truth is, the world needs you! The real you. Make the choice today and every day to do the hard work of digging deep and being vulnerable with yourself and with others who seek to understand more you. Learn to identify your feelings and emotions. Call them out. Learn how you feel sadness, anger, loneliness, joy, happiness, contentment and love. Seek out a mentor or counselor who can help you work through these emotions. I did and it made all the difference!

Your vulnerability is what will draw people to you. It’s what makes us all human.

You are lovely. You are simply magnificent. And your scars are a small part of the beautiful mosaic that makes you who you are.

Each day, choose to live a life that will make you happy, a life that a true father would deeply desire his beloved daughter to live. I know it’s hard. Have courage and take heart. Never for one moment be ashamed of your story. Own it. Lean into it. You have the power to change your narrative and transform your story into a force for good that will encourage and inspire others.

I believe with every fiber of my being that we can choose to allow our greatest challenges to hold us back in fear or propel us ever forward in love.

Choose forward. Choose love.

What other words of encouragement would you like to share for those who have lost a loved one?

Images via Tess Comrie

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12 comments

  1. There were so many thoughts that came to mind while reading what many should do to keep a positive outlook on how your life turned out as it relates to a healthy Father/ Daughter relationship and how to not stay stuck or not in the past when things may have or have not went well.Moving from hurt, forgiveness, pain & disappointments truly frees you & your life becomes a happy life if you choose to free your mind. Things I remembered and don’t always share or say to others are stored in my heart ? and sometimes I’ve kept a secret but now after reading your expressions made me happy and I think it’s time I share.Thank You I’m writing a book titled “I Love You Dad & Here’s Why”

  2. There were so many thoughts that came to mind while reading what many should do as it relates to a healthy Father/ Daughter relationship or not.Moving from hurt, forgiveness, pain & disappointments truly free you & your life becomes a happy life if you choose to free your mind Things I remembered and don’t always share or say to others are stored in my heart ? and sometimes I’ve kept a secret but now after reading your expressions made me happy and I think it’s time I share.Thank You I’m writing a book titled “I Love You Dad & Here’s Why”

  3. Beautiful but some of us are better off without our fathers. I would gladly have never been born to spare my mother the pain my father put her through,

  4. I know you meant well but you really generalized. Statements like this “Every young woman is born with a strong and sacred love for her father.” leave out the fact that kids born into single parent households or families with two moms are actually not necessarily missing a father figure. Maybe just include some awareness of the fact that there are many forms of growing up and being complete in all types of families. I appreciate your sharing your personal experience but it actually is not reflective of every girl and woman on the planet.

  5. Anastasia,

    This is so thoughtfully and beautifully written. Thank you for sharing your story, a piece of your soul and bringing to light the loss of an invaluable relationship in a women’s life. Father’s Day certainly means a variety of things in different peoples lives. So many of your experiences and perspective resonate with me personally. I lost my father at the age of 14 and now have surpassed my years of life without him then in his presence. I’ve always felt blessed to call him my father, however short, it’s formed in great part the women I’ve become. I’ve learned to have a stronger voice in my grief, to share and walk beside others in their suffering. I’ve learned to love deeper. Love always endures.

    Thank you.

  6. Yes. So good to talk about these days. I lost my Dad at 18, and find myself trying to recreate the experiences I had with him, but extend the thoughts into my life phases. Twenties… what would he have said about that? Moving to another state – his thoughts? Thirties? Getting married? I’ve changed so much, but his memory hasn’t.

    I have a tendency to think in glossy terms too – making the memories softer than they were in real life. We fought, we smiled, we did not fit like perfect puzzle pieces. I’ve learned over time that that’s okay. I can parent myself now.

  7. Father’s Day leaves me feeling confused, sad, and wanting to just detach. All day my heart has been on those who are having a difficult time celebrating Father’s Day, and reading this really gave me peace. Thank you for being the voice to speak healing into our hearts.

    1. What a beautiful and transparent comment! I can’t tell you how deeply I appreciate your sharing your story with me too! Sending all the love your way!

    1. That makes my heart so happy to hear Kim! Thank you for sharing this letter with others who share similar experiences. We are truly in this together!

      Love,

    1. Thank you Charmaine! I so appreciate your comment and am so happy that you found peace and beauty in these words. It was definitely a vulnerable piece to write, but I pushed through it in the hopes that other women (and men) with similar experiences, and perhaps similar pain would find peace, joy and love once again on such a special day. My prayers go out to your son and to you as well!

      Sincerely,

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