AN OPEN LETTER TO MY IRRESPONSIBLE AND ABSENTEE FATHER!

Dear father,

12 years ago, you came back home after a week away on a business trip with a young lady in tow whom I presumed to be your secretary. You stormed into the house and in your terrifying voice demanded that we pack and leave. Just like that mom, my sister and I forced to leave what had known as our home for the last 10 years. Your reason was that mom had become ‘too much’ hence you needed to ‘teacher her a lesson’. We only left with the clothes on our backs leaving all that you and mom had worked so hard together to amass.

The next few months were very tough on us. We moved into a smaller house, enrolled into an ill-equipped public school and eating out on Sunday afternoons became a luxury we couldn’t afford. When I asked mom why you didn’t love us anymore all she did was cry. She would cry every night till her eyes were puffy. I could see the pain in her eyes even when she smiled.

Just how heartless are you to live comfortably all these years oblivious of how we faired, if we had enough to eat, went to school and never visited my elder sister when she was down with tuberculosis? I understand married couples get divorced every now and then but what surprises me most is how you never made the slightest effort to reach out to your own kids. Just how callous are you to abandon and completely cut off communication with your own flesh and blood?

Mother worked tirelessly, went back to college and acquired an MBA while at the same time raising 2 kids single-handedly. In a few years, she scaled up the corporate ladder and landed a managerial position in her organization. When I was in form three she met a guy whom she fell in love with and remarried 3 years later. Stan* our step-dad doesn’t get involved in our lives at all. I don’t blame him; he is only here for mom. Apparently, he has never bought us anything, it’s mom who still provides us with everything we need. She manages to make our lives so comfortable that our college mates think we live with both parents who are so caring. Yeah, I haven’t told them about how irresponsible you are.

I always hated when other kids talked fondly about their fathers while I hardly had any memory of you except the day you threw us out in the cold. Even when we were still living together I hardly saw you. How I wished you would spend just one day a week at home, help me with my homework, go to the parent-teachers meetings back in school or even teach me how to ride a bicycle. That never happened because you were too busy growing your numerous investments and when you had time off you would spend it all out drinking with your buddies.

You thought being a great father was just about paying all bills in time when in reality all I wanted was to spend time with my father. I wouldn’t mind if you were poor but was there to help me steer through the murky waters of puberty. You were emotionally absent and the truth is buying us fancy toys and taking us to exotic places never effectively substituted your much-needed presence in our lives.

The pain of growing up without a father figure pushed me to seek solace in drugs and alcohol. I over-indulged to numb the loneliness and pain but the ‘high’ only lasted a few hours soon enough I would be sober. I went down on the path of self-destruction for close to 2 years. One day it hit me, my resentment towards you was turning me to a selfish man just like you. You shattered mom’s heart into irreparable pieces and now losing her only son to drugs was too much for her to bear. So I got sober, promised her to always be there for her and protect her even if it meant losing my life in the process.

When I went home for December holidays I noticed my sister would be uneasy whenever step-dad was around the house. After insistently prodding, she revealed to me that she had witnessed our step-dad cheating on mom on several occasions but never said a word because she wanted her to be happy. What totally pissed me off was his misconception that sister never told mom because she was sexually attracted to him. The pig had even tried to sexually molest my blood sister! I’m so full of rage, he has been away for 3 months now but when he comes back I will deal with him appropriately.

Your daughter has suffered most growing without you. It pains her that you don’t even know her favorite color or dish. You denied her the chance of being the ‘daddy’s little girl’ like her friends. You ought to have been the first man to love her unconditionally and tell her how beautiful she is every day. You were never around when she needed you to read bed time stories or stick by her side when she differed with mom. She wishes you were there to protect her from the sex-pest she has for a step-dad, chase away the boys after her and claim none of them was good enough for your amazing daughter.

Your absence greatly affected her self-esteem. She doesn’t trust men. I’ve heard her claim wont to get married, maybe it’s because she is worried you won’t be there to walk her down the aisle. I’m worried she might get into destructive relationships and date older men (a father figure) in order to fill the gap you left in her life. Anyway, mother is doing a great job nurturing her to become a strong, confident and successful young woman.

Now that we are both about to graduate from college and our career prospects are looking good you are trying to maneuver back into our lives. Last week, you asked me whether I will take care of you when you get old?  When I asked why I should when you deserted me more than a decade ago you claimed to have taken good care of me till I got to class 6! After class 6 was I suppose to feed on wild fruits and live in the forest like Tarzan?  Growing without you toughened me and I have become my own man so I don’t need you anymore.

Father, the main purpose for writing this letter is to inform you that I have enlisted the help of a lawyer to officially drop my surname and instead adopt my mother’s maiden name. The truth is I no longer hate you, I have accepted my fate all I can do is to take care of my mother and sister and work towards becoming a great husband and dad to my future wife and kids.

Yours faithfully

Rashid

My sincere gratitude goes out to Rashid for his courage evident in sharing his heart-wrenching life story in the form of a letter so I would publish it for the world to read. He hopes that all absentee fathers would read it, realize the kind of pain they are subjecting their children to and transform to being responsible dads.

Please share this letter as widely as possible!

By Mark Maina    

68 Comments

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  1. 3
    james

    how did changing ur surname to your mum’s help u?? though its a nice story, i would enjoy most when the other side of the letter is present….

  2. 10
    Bryan

    Thank you for posting…I feel as if I know what Rashid is going through but I couldn’t possibly imagine the pain and torment!
    my father has always been there for me financially and ‘disciplinarily’ but never there psychologically or emotionally and that has affected me negatively as well, drugs…alcohol etc…and my mother has indirectly blamed me for her circumstance as being unhappy career wise and living with a man she doesn’t love anymore for the children…(3 of us, 2 ladies)
    I am finally taking charge…because its never too late, I can direct my path to the destination of my dreams!
    so all I can say is thanks for sharing!!

    • 11
      Mark Maina

      Hi Bryan! you are now on the right path, you may not change how your mom feels or how your dad acts but you have full control of your life. Drugs and alcohol dependency is difficult to surmount but with a strong will power its very possible.

      My advice, take charge of your life, get better so that you can end up a better husband and father than your old man!

      • 12
        Eunice

        am impressed by what hav just read,,wondering whether absentee dads are reading this….’financial support is not all we need..’spending time with the children is what thiz men shld learn,,

  3. 15
    olivia

    thanks a lot for that….its a complete reflection of my entire life…..my dad left wen I was young ….growing up without a father figure really hurts…wishing yu had something to talk to about your dad to your friends is even worse….and worst is that he doesn’t even care wherever he is….I hope to make my mom proud though someday…. shiz been our pillar… shiz stood by us all this yrs,even wen it seemed like we wouldn’t leave to see a tomorrow… I salute her…shiz so similar to yo mum except she didn’t try to find love…bt I really wish that she wud find a man who really deserves her especially now that we about to leave our home to start our own lives… thanks a lot for that….it really is an encouragement for me to work even harder, prove my dad wrong n make my mum proud

  4. 17
    Peninah

    i really understand what you are going through,it hurts very bad and just thinking of him makes me upset,he remarried twice after divorcing my mum and he never really bothered what we ate or how our fee got paid,along the way i found myself looking for love and attention from older men ,no one could really understand y i was with them and i got tired explaining to them.i really don’t like thinking of marriage because i don’t want to end up like them but the only thing i wish is that my mum can try finding love again.

  5. 18
    Bree

    I have a vague idea of what you have been going through. I also had an absentee father. He left us to work abroad when I was nine months old and then forced my mother to make the hardest decision of leaving us to follow him. We suffered different types of abuses from our relatives until the time my mother decided to come back to Kenya. I had not seen him for 14 years and when he finally returned, he stirred trouble for us. We finally realised that we were better off without him. He even have the audacity to create a new family behind my mother’s back. I don’t hate him at all but I can say that am better off without him

  6. 20
    vicky

    I never met my dad but my step dad tried his best not to isolate me. Unfortunately, he didn’t live long enough to let me love him back. However, by God’s grace, I have managed to proudly raise my half brothers and sisters with no resentment. Yes , there were times when I was treated differently and yes, I longed to be a dad’s girl but not anymore. I have realized that all I need to make it through is Jesus. I would rather depend on Christ because humans are prone to mistakes including abandoning their own children without feelings of guilt. If there is anything I want my children to know, it is the fact that God is dependable and as long as you have him, parents, relatives friends etc are all a bonus. I have been through hell after both my mum and step dad past on but I didn’t stay there neither am I taking hell anywhere with me. If I met my dad today, I would hug him and say thanks for bringing me to the world, but I wouldn’t waste time looking for a relationship with him. I found love in the most unlikely places and more so in the eyes of my children and I am not ruining that by hating someone who failed to love himself enough to raise me. Thanks Rashid for picking up the pieces. Roses are beautiful regardless of the thorns. Love your life regardless of who walked out. Do it for those who stay.

    • 21
      Simple

      Your name means you are victorious! And it resonates with your admirable attitude. It is not about the storm but about the Lord of it, the one who calms the storms of life!
      I was raised by my grandma and even though my mom always worked hard to provide, and my biological dad was not in the picture, I grew up knowing love and acceptance from my extended family. That didn’t take away the longing to have my mother and father by my side, raising me and bonding with me. But as I embraced those around me, the love of Jesus filled my longing. It took a while, but it happened.
      I urge those of use who grew up with absent dads or moms to embrace the love around us in healthy ways, and focus on the Lord who is greater and always perfect. Those whom we should depend on may and most likely will fail us at some point. Our inner strength and hope is found in the one who can never and has never failed us.
      Thanks for sharing the story!

  7. 23
    Roy

    I hv never met my real dad, dont know if he dead or a live, i past through a lot growing up. living with relatives who sometimes dint give me the attention a child needs while growing up, seeing my mum trying getting married to a man who physically a bused her for a long time but she never left all because she wanted me to have a home and a surname. Thanks to God she achieved.

  8. 26
    Tim

    Wow. Great you overcame the drugs and resolved to be there for your sister and mother. That’s being a man.
    I challenge you to now rise above your dad, and show him you are the bigger man: that although he couldn’t be there for you, you can be there for him.
    True manhood is not just about being bigger than your adversary, but also being bigger to your former self. Let him look you in the eye, and see a man he can never be, a man he could never raise, a man he wishes he were but above all, a man he knows your sister and mother are proud to have by their side.

    • 27
      Caroline kariuki

      That is so mature and right.. Peace within oneself helps you overcome all.. And forgiveness, you can’t move on without forgiveness.. Be blessed

  9. 28
    wachira

    Remember to honour your father if you want a long untroubled life. A friend was in the same predicament as you are in.He did dishonor the dad as you are about to. He was buried the same day as the dad.
    Honour your father, seek his blessings and forgive him.
    Before doing anything carry out research on similar cases

  10. 29
    judy

    i love the part ”Last week, you asked me whether I will take care of you when you get old? When I asked why I should when you deserted me more than a decade ago you claimed to have taken good care of me till I got to class 6! After class 6 was I suppose to feed on wild fruits and live in the forest like Tarzan? ”

  11. 31
    The Malawian

    I just wonder how the absent father could have felt, had his family forgiven him and shown him the love he failed to give. Not take him back in, just forgive and love. That would be the perfect vengeance.

  12. 34
    Joe Black

    A saddening letter. What a poor father. However Rashid has forgotten he owes his existence to that man however irresponsible he is. He should not take away his name just as much as he cannot wipe away his DNA. The good book says “honor your father & mother that it may go well with you & you may live long in the land”

  13. 35
    Mburu

    What a touching message.
    Remember there is One father who never ever leave…. Our Heavenly father will never ever leave you..
    Just find heart to Forgive your father and blessings shall follow you

  14. 36
    Steve Njenga

    Great stuff Mark, i resonate with the story. While my story is a bit different, the bitterness is the same, but i have learnt to forgive and learn from the past. An absentee dad makes one a strong character, you realize you have a dignity and a future to protect. I purposed within me to give what i lacked in my upbringing, thats the only way to make the world a better place..May God bless you bro, and everyone else going through a similar or different struggle.

  15. 37
    tseleng

    Sad, but true how these fathers traumatize their children. I am a mother to 3 boys in a similar situation. I hope their father gets to read this letter. All the best to Rashid and his family. God bless them.

  16. 38
    Shiru Muigai

    What a great read…… Very touching for me …. I never got to know the man whose DNA I carry but I am lucky and blessed to have been raised by a great man …my step father is my hero I proudly carry his name from the age of 11 ……..there are good step parents out there so sad some are rotten ….. Absentee fathers deny their kids too much…they take too much from their lives…..

    • 39
      Barbs

      It’s great that we all know about children honouring their parents… I thank God however that it doesn’t end there… Ephesians 6:1-4 (verse 4 says “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
      Let us pray for all fathers… young and old to seek God’s counsel on matters fatherhood.

  17. 40
    Wanjiro

    Amazing truth, JUST DONT CREAP BACK INTO OUR LIVES.. painful and true story of hurting children ….Fathers and mothers when you teach each other lessons, please dont involve the children.the greatest love you can give your children is your time not even your MONEY

  18. 41
    Kagoro Purity

    I like the piece,it is inspiring and an experience that many have undergone.It is time to change.parents learn to take responsibilitiesAll in all learn to forgive.

  19. 48
    Willie

    Mark, Thank you for the effort to come out of the condition. But be prepared to overcome the many handles you will come across. I am not ignorant of your circumstances, but I must tell you to be a little more bold and forget your absent father. They are many. You must not feel sorry for your self and face whatever come across your. You will be successful regardless. I am an old man who had an absent father, lackly I never thought too much about him. That did not stop me from being focused. I am Now OK. Cheers

  20. 55
    willy

    A solemnly detailed story. I wud hv been interested to knw the other side of the story from your dad’s mouth, coz am sure u don’t also knw it. One thing for sure, it calls two to tango. Your mum or your dad is guilty, or both. It’s good to love your mum and support her. Bt try to reach out to your dad and get to know his side of the story. U might b surprised by wht he might tell ( esp if it’s your mum who caused the separation). Don’t blame your dad for nt supporting u en ur sis. (Hw sure r u tht he’s your biological father). So stop making assumptions en delve into details well. According to ur story, u seem to be either late teens or early twenties, theas so much to learn. The more u listen to ur mum abt Hw bad ur dad is, the less u will b interested in marrying. Get the facts right, otherwise, u might find ur marriage failing terribly than ur dad’s.

    • 56
      Loise

      You Know what Willy, its doesn’t matter who caused who to leave, the kids are not at fault, they didn’t ask to be born, so when two grown adults decide they are done with each other, spare the kids the drama and be responsible, do your part. Man up, Do your fatherly/motherly duties and let them be, keep them out of your issues. Coz they do not deserve it.

  21. 57
    willy

    A solemnly detailed story. I wud hv been interested to knw the other side of the story from your dad’s mouth, coz am sure u don’t also knw it. One thing for sure, it calls two to tango. Your mum or your dad is guilty, or both. It’s good to love your mum and support her. Bt try to reach out to your dad and get to know his side of the story. U might b surprised by wht he might tell ( esp if it’s your mum who caused the separation). Most marriages fail entirely coz of women, then they live the rest of their lives trying hard to justify their innocence, to everyone who wud lend them an ear. In so doing they distort their kids perception of life, spoiling their future. Men will rarely complain or go out telling their side of the story. They reconcile their loses en move on. The world around u has numerous examples. No right thinking man wud just walk out on their families without a credible reason, thought out for very long. We never u see men in pubs late at night, neva try to think tht they Don love their kids en Don like spending time wit them. They r pushed out by their wives, naggings and whinings (The holy writ says, ‘it’s better to live in a corner of a house, than live with a nagging wife’), these men in pubs late at night, they r on their way out of their marriages. Most r jus buying time to see whether things will sober up. This wea the issue of ‘sponsors’ cme in. Don’t blame your dad for nt supporting u en ur sis. (Hw sure r u tht he’s your biological father). So stop making assumptions en delve into details well. According to ur story, u seem to be either late teens or early twenties, theas so much to learn. The more u listen to ur mum abt Hw bad ur dad is, the less u will b interested in marrying. Get the facts right, otherwise, u might find ur marriage failing terribly than ur dad’s.

  22. 59
    nancy

    So painfull..i understand the whole story coz i go through that with my absent husband for 14years.im worried about my three sons..

  23. 60
    rahab

    It seems most of us have passed through a similar situation. I accepted my fate when I realised it’s only western dads who read bed time stories to their little girls. In Africa daddy cares about money only.

  24. 61
    martin

    After class 6 was I suppose to feed on wild fruits and live in the forest like Tarzan? that one cracked me up! anyway, i happen to have my mother name and for some reason it raises eyebrows whenever i introduce myself at some functions, the society still views it as strange while leaving kids has become somehow acceptable,we’re full of double standards.

  25. 62
    Liz

    I wonder how a Parent can leave their own children and not care how they are doing forever.I know Mothers who are worse than monsters. … .fathers too.
    I am the mother my children can’t do without. Loving them unconditionally and praying for them.Correcting them in Love and I don’t discuss them with anyone but God their creator.

    We need to pray for families.They are targeted by the devil.he knows if they won’t last the nation won’t be strong neither the church.
    I like this letter that is truthful and hope absentee parents are reading it and changing.
    God will reward you for taking care of your family.Be present in yours

  26. 64
    jackie nyambura

    Mark I ve the same kind of story only that my absentee father has been away for twenty years my mother brought b up alone n never remarried…….he want me t take care of him in his old age….. .I forgave him but about taking care of him.. ……………he doesn’t know the price of an exercise Bk leave alone Skul fees ………..am stronger through my mothers sacrifice married fr five years God knows our destiny.

  27. 65
    Abed

    The issue is not physical absence! May be absent due to some reasons like job comitments etc. Irresponsible is the big problem….. You can have money but always live in crisis. Fathers, the message is well spoken. What kind of a Father are you?
    Thanks #Marks.

  28. 67
    Naishorua

    This just makes me gratefull that although my own biological Dad abandoned us. God gave me a foster family and Dad loved me like his own. R.I.P Dad and thank you for being present. Rashid Forgiveness is freedom. Strive to be that man you wanted your Dad to be. Blessings!

  29. 68
    Nimo

    Fathers are overrated. I grew up not knowing who my father was. When I got to college, I got this strong desire to know him, if only to stop thinking, “maybe that is my dad”, every time I saw an elderly man. I found my way to my birth district one day and finally met him. I was underwhelmed. Looking at him, I could tell my life would not have been any different if he had not asked us to leave. Maybe it would have been worse because the children who replaced us didn’t go to college. After that I’ve never had any interest in him. He has tried to cultivate a relationship but we remain strangers. Fathers are overrated.

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