If you know my story then you know that I am the youngest of 4 girls raised by our divorced Mom. My parents were married for approximately 11 years before it ended in divorce. Prior to that, they agreed to raise our foster sister & brother totaling 6 children that my Mom had to raise alone. My Dad was Robert Lee Christie Jr and he recently passed away which was a huge surprise to the entire family.
My Dad was absent from all of his responsibilities concerning his children. This is fact. There is no way to make it pretty nor sugar coat it. It is what it is. Growing up I was first hurt then the hurt turned to anger as well as a complete mistrust to men. I felt that if my own flesh and blood Daddy didn’t stay and love me then why would anyone else? As frustrated and angry as I was with my Dad ~ I loved him.
Once I made the decision (with God’s help) to forgive him and accept him for who he was, that pain began to subside. I wasn’t able to get there though until I married and had a child of my own. Although I still didn’t get it ~ I allowed myself to settle on a numb state concerning my Dad. The few times we saw my him growing up when we did see him it was as if not a moment had passed. He would grab us up in his arms and love & hug on us which soothed that yearning we longed for – no matter how short lived it was.
NOTE: This blog isn’t about my magnificent Mom but I have to add this advice to single Mom’s out here. Do NOT think you are punishing the ex by keeping your kids away from him nor his family. It really softens the blow from the child’s perspective when Dad is absent but you have “his” family”. She made sure that we had the tremendous gift of our Grandma & Grandpa Christie a long with our HUGE family of aunts, uncles & cousins.
I only have a few memories with my Dad growing up; however I have many memories of our summer stays at our Grandparents home in Michigan along with our cousins from all over the country. It was therapeutic for me to have my aunties & uncles love on me. Internally I told myself this was an extension of my absent Dad. As frustrated and angry as I was with my absent Dad ~ I loved him.
When I received the message from my Auntie to call her. It never dawned on me that it had to do with my Dad but I figured it was pretty important. When she told me that Daddy had been rushed to the hospital the only thing I felt was numbness. I began to pray for him and let my sister’s know what was going on. As we got the word from my cousin that we needed to get there, I still felt numb. As we walked into the hospital room after he had passed it hit me like a ton of bricks. That hope is gone. He would never have the chance to get it totally right with his girls. As angry and frustrated as I was with him – I held onto the inkling of “hope.” As long as he had breath in his body – there was hope. Now here he lies…… The numbness turned into tears of sadness, of hopelessness, of pain yet love. No anger anymore. My Daddy was lying there.
When we went to his home, which we had never been to, my niece and I were a little spooked and felt very uncomfortable. As we began to explore where he lived, we found ourselves in his room. As soon as the door was open and light turned on we saw EVERY aspect of our lives revealed in pictures on his wall and in approximately 10 picture books full to capacity. My heart smiled because he did care. He did love us. We mattered. We had worth. Daddy had pictures of instances in our lives where he wasn’t present. It still remains a mystery to us how he got them. This healed a lot of things for me. Over the next couple of days, I cleaned the very bed my Dad fell ill in and comforted his wife. How was I able to do that? I know our Mom was praying for us. One of the things she told us when we got the news was “Honor you Dad.”
God gave me the strength that I didn’t even know that I possessed. In Daddy’s death, I found complete forgiveness therefore I am healed. Robert Lee Christie Jr may not have been a present Dad but I rejoice in what he was good at. What he was good at was picking a MAGNIFICENT woman to raise his children. And God placed us in one of the greatest families one could only dream of. So ~ the loss of an absent Dad STILL hurts and is very hard. Why? Because I always loved him.