He left when I was twelve.
War, PTSD, and alcoholism left my father a broken man, unable to cope with the responsibilities of family. I visited him summers and weekends, but we never regained the daddy-daughter relationship that my heart yearned for.
I so wanted him to acknowledge me, listen to me, and show an interest in my life, but he was overwhelmed trying to survive his own.
Then I had my first child. Something about holding my baby and feeling a love so intense I couldn’t breathe caused me to question how my own father could resist loving me. After conversations with my older sister and a couple of visits to Al-Anon, I began to realize that I needed to let go of the expectation that he would be able to show me love in the way I desired.