I woke and heard the sound of her tears. It was Tuesday morning and she had received an email from her father. Everyone’s investments were losing money and he told her to leave it be until after the coronavirus pandemic had passed.
Except she could not do that. She relies on that money to pay her rent as she goes to college. And that money was disappearing.
This scenario sounds like a loving father, giving wise advice to his child. Unfortunately, the way it sounds and its reality are two different things.
You see, my daughter continues to be ravished by the grief and rejection of her father. She doesn’t know this for certain, but it appears that he blames her for the loss of his family. And that simply isn’t true.
On Father’s Day, 2017, my sweet girl posted a photo of she and her dad on instagram. Later that day, a friend from the area reached out and sent her screenshots of her father on Grindr, a gay “hook-up” app. In a moment of time, my daughter’s world collapsed. And she didn’t have time to process it. She was leaving the next day to do mission work and then work at a summer camp…without regular access to phones and computers.
Fast forward to the whirlwind of August 2017. The beginning of her senior year of high school. Two weeks later, the destruction of Hurricane Harvey hitting our city. A family of 5, plus their fur-babies moving in with us for 2 months. Her father’s loss of a job. Her life was overwhelming. On the outside she continued to smile and laugh and pretend as if she had never heard that shocking information back in June.
Pretend would be the key word. Behind all of her smiles and laughter, she was investigating and searching for the truth. And she found it…and held onto it for several months.
(Oh, my word. My heart aches as I write this.)
Fast forward to February 4, 2018. Her father had been out of work for just over 3 months. I had been cooking for people to have some cash coming into the home. One of her older brothers had just moved back home. And she had just completed her very last high school musical.
Combined with the weariness of working nonstop for weeks on the musical and a verbal attack from her father, emotionally she collapsed. She could not keep his secret any longer. She decided to curl up into my arms and tell me what she had learned.
While I have vivid memories of that evening, I honestly do not know what she felt after telling me. I can only hope that she felt a small bit of relief, because our nightmare was just beginning. Neither she, nor I, had any idea of the information that would change the course of our lives forever.
Let me go back in time and tell you about her relationship with her dad. Some of her first words were, “I’m Daddy’s Princess.” Early in her life, he openly favored her. He would spend time brushing her hair. He would take her on Daddy-Daughter dates. They had a saying, “Daddy-Daughter Power-DDP.” My friends thought that he had an unnatural fixation on her. I thought it was cute and didn’t listen to them. I have no idea how to decipher all of that now?
After she told me what her friend had shared, I began to question and grieve as more and more knowledge about my husband’s secret life came to life.
And then, one fateful day, a “knowing” shook my core. When I pushed for clarity and received it, the information was far worse that I could have ever imagined. The natural protective nature of a mother for her child kicked in, and I could only think about protecting my daughter. If only I could spare her from learning this…
I couldn’t. I tried. If she learned of this, I did not know if she would survive it. I honestly did not know what this would do to her. I even attempted to save just a tiny part of the relationship with her dad, by encouraging him to speak to her. Unfortunately, his shame was so great that he could not face her.
Regrettably, it was taken out of my hands, and I could not protect her from it. Someone from school found out and told her that her father had had relations with her very best friend. A young man that she trusted more than she trusted her brothers. A young man that had been her friend since she was 11 years old. A young man that had been in our home.
Our family had been destroyed. But now, her whole world was destroyed.
Father’s Day is awful for my children. It is a terrible reminder of abuse and indifference.
Please pray for my children today. Their hearts hurt.