Can you miss a father you never knew? I always thought that I was weird because I miss having a dad, but I never actually had one. I’m one of those “fatherless daughters” who was raised by a single mother. I didn’t meet my dad until I went to Jerusalem when I was 29 years old.
You miss your dad, too. Not having a father is sad and lonely – especially if he was a dad you actually knew and loved. Maybe you feel lonely, scared, sad, and abandoned. Maybe you’re mad at your father because he rejected you. Maybe your dad died, or walked out on your family. No matter how you lost your dad or why you’re missing him, it hurts. And it’s not easy to heal from the pain of a missing father.
Different things help different people grieve and heal. What worked for me was writing about the pain of missing my dad. Well, first I had to realize the emptiness in my life and heart because I didn’t grow up with a dad! Meeting my father showed me what was missing from my life and heart. Then I grieved…and only then did I heal.
One of my first tips for daughters missing their dads is to talk or write about the pain. It took me a long time to talk about being an “illegitimate daughter” because I was embarrassed and ashamed. And, I was so mad at my parents! 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.
3 Tips for Daughters Who Miss Their Dads
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.
1. 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.
2. Allow 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.
3. Express the pain of missing your dad in creative ways
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.
What do you think? Feel free to share 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.
In peace and passion,