Father’s Day or not – life is no good when you’re missing your dad or growing up without a father, is it? I know, because I’m one of those fatherless daughters who was raised by a single mother. I didn’t even think I was missing my dad because I never knew him! I didn’t meet him until I was 29 years old, when I went to Jerusalem, Israel and introduced myself to my father for the first time.
You miss your dad, and I know it’s not easy. You may feel lonely, scared, sad, and abandoned. Maybe you’re mad at him because he rejected you, or maybe he died or walked out on your family. Maybe you’re labelled as one of those “fatherless daughters” like I am, and you don’t even know your dad. What happened to your dad, and what’s it like growing up without a father? Tell me in the comments section below. I was always ashamed and embarrassed to talk about growing up without a father — until I learned that the more I wrote and talked about it, the better I felt.
I was so mad at my mom and dad when I was younger! All my friends had financial, emotional, social, and psychological support from their parents — even if their parents were divorced or dysfunctional. As a fatherless daughter, I felt completely abandoned and alone. I actually found it harder to be an adult daughter without a father than a kid growing up without a dad.
But I discovered ways to not only handle life with an absent father, but to Blossom into the woman God created me to be. Take heart, fatherless daughters, for you are not alone. You found this article by admitting that you’re missing your dad, but you’ll leave knowing you can find hope and help you need.
Handling Life When You’re Missing Your Dad
In my article on dealing with controlling parents, a daughter asked for advice about her dad. She’s almost 30 years old and her father – who left when she was a baby – wants to meet her. Her mom never remarried, and doesn’t want her to have any interaction at all with her dad. My reader wants to make her mom happy, but she also thinks she’ll find healing if she can meet her dad. She doesn’t want to be one of those fatherless daughters who has no idea what her dad is like even though she had the chance to meet him.
What advice would you give her? Sometimes it’s helpful to offer help and hope to other fatherless daughters, because it helps heal your own wounds.
Talk to other daughters who understand how it feels to be fatherless
The only person who truly understands what it’s like to grieve a father’s death or grow up without a dad is another fatherless daughter.
And, the best way to find comfort and healing is to be honest about your struggles, fears, and feelings. Can you talk with somebody in person about what it’s like to miss your dad? Find someone you trust, and pour your heart about. Share what it feels like to want your father in your life, and how painful it is to have to deal with the loss.
If you keep your feelings buried, they’ll get darker and stronger. And that darkness will leak out of you in surprising and unexpected ways! That’s why it’s important to talk or write about how you feel, so you can work through the grief and pain of growing up without a father. And, remember that even if you’re 35 or 45 years old, you’re still a fatherless daughter! You’re still growing up without a dad.
Accept that you’ll always feel the sadness of being a fatherless daughter
This is the most surprising thing to me about growing up without a father: even now, I feel a twinge of sadness and sorrow when I see a little girl in her daddy’s arms, being carried and loved by him. I’m 47 years old, and I still feel sad and lonely when I see a father carrying his daughter! I’ll never know what it’s like to be held by a daddy who loves me, wants to protect me, and cares about what happens in my life.
You’re missing your dad now, and the truth is that you may always feel a shadow of that grief and loss. The pain of growing up without a father never fully goes away, and is never completely healed – no matter how healthy you are. The grief of losing your dad to illness or death will always be with you, no matter how old you get.
If you’re missing your dad because of a fight, read Handling Father’s Day When You’re Not Getting Along With Dad.
Find creative ways to heal the pain of missing your dad
The following story is one of my favorite ways to grieve the loss of someone you love. It’s not specifically for fatherless daughters, but it’s definitely a creative way to let go of a loved one.
In Life After Loss: Conquering Grief and Finding Hope, a widow called Margie signed up for a sculpture class at a local community college and decided to make a life-sized bust — a realistic head-and-shoulders clay sculpture — of her deceased husband. She knew nothing about art and had never worked with clay before, but she wanted to create a realistic replica of him. The teacher told her busts are very difficult to sculpt; he encouraged her to make a small bowl instead. She refused, and instead “availed herself freely of Mr. McClendon’s time and patience.” Margie not only completed her husband’s bust, she made several more in subsequent sculpting classes.
At the end of the last semester, Margie threw a celebration party at her house for the teacher and students. They were surprised to see the sculptures of her deceased husband all over her home. The art teacher — concerned about her mental health — questioned her. “I was lonesome for my husband,” she told him. “I thought a sculpture of him in our house would kind of bring him back into my life. It didn’t, but I liked the sculpture there at the living room window. It looked like he was watching television.”
Would it be weird for you to sculpt busts of your father, and place them in different windows of your house? Probably. Would it help you heal the pain of missing your dad and growing up without a father? Yes! Because it would cast a different light — a creative, healing, lighter light — on the grief of being a fatherless daughter.
Receive and rest in the love of your Heavenly Father
Fatherless daughters, we may not have an earthly dad to console, comfort, or cherish us…but we do have an ultimate source of love, hope, joy, and freedom! I used to struggle so much with the pain and grief of missing my dad (even though I never even knew him), until I really felt the love of Jesus. The day I learned how He sees me — how He really sees me and how much He loves me — was the day I found hope and healing even though I was still a fatherless daughter. The fact that I don’t have a dad here on earth doesn’t matter anymore.
How have you felt God’s love for you? Maybe you feel an unexpected sense of comfort and healing when you were sad about missing your dad. Maybe you felt like you weren’t alone, or that someone was watching out for you. Maybe you’re being taken care of in ways you didn’t expect or plan for…and you know it’s God loving you in His way.
What do you think? I’d love to hear how you feel about missing your dad, or being a fatherless daughter. Remember that sharing your story can help you work through the grief and sadness of not having a dad in your life.
And, know that you are truly loved by God, who created you for a specific purpose. You are here for a reason, and He is always watching over you with gentle, kind, and loving eyes. Turn to Him, and He will rescue you.