Daddyless Daughter: An Open Letter to My Absent Dad

Daddyless Daughter: An Open Letter to My Absent Dad

By Shanti Ray

“When a father walks out on his daughter he takes a piece of her soul with him.” Iyanla Vanzant

Tears pooled in my eyes as I watched several women and daughters tell their stories in part one of a two part series: Daddyless Daughters. On so many different levels I could relate. Why, their story was my story…

My Daddyless Daughter journey came unexpectedly when my father passed away in 1991. At the age of twelve I had no idea of the effects that my dad’s his absence would play in my life. The day I said my final goodbye, the demons showed up. And before Sunday night I had no clue as to why… Why I traveled down a path of self-destruction, living a life of promiscuity and feeling unworthy of real love and true happiness.

When Iyanla asked the question, “Are you ready to heal?” A wave of emotions came rushing from the pit of my stomach ripping through my body with the force of a tornado traveling full speed, and ready to demolish anything in its path. It all made sense… Finally I understood the pain, guilt, loneliness, anger and resentment that I carried towards my father… Towards myself… I stood in the comforts of my bedroom and screamed, “I AM READY TO HEAL!”

And before I knew it, pen and journal in hand, l penned a letter to my father. 


Dear William,

My entire life I’ve craved for validation, a relationship not defined by sex, someone to love me without condition, and someone to call me beautiful with no strings attached. Someone to appreciate ME, the woman I am. Because of your absence I am angry, frustrated and I fear that any man that comes into my life will abandon me as you did.

For so long I hated and loved you both at the same time. Holidays, birthdays, graduations… you missed it all. I watched my friends and classmates with their fathers. I envied them. I longed for what they had. As an adult I searched for love in all the wrong places, suffered abuse, engaged in promiscuous behavior with men that didn’t love me. At twenty eight I ended up pregnant by a selfish man who ran away from his responsibilities. Had Sarai lived, my biggest fear is that she too would be a part of this Daddyless Daughter cycle.

What hurts the most is living your entire life not knowing if your father loved you. It hurts to the core… I’m ready. To heal… To let go of the pain, the hurt, the anger and this crap load of UN’s that have filled up this suitcase I’ve carried around for the past twenty two years. No more feeling UNWANTED, UNLOVED, UNLOVEABLE, UNACCEPTABLE, UNIMPORTANT, UNATTRACTIVE, and UNWORTHY!  This suitcase has weighed me down for far too long. So I’m willing to take the first step towards healing. Daddy I forgive you!


A Daddyless Daughter on a mission of healing

Shanti Ray is a writer, entrepreneur, and community service advocate who holds an MBA and is currently working on her first novel; on Twitter, @IamSimplyShanti or check out her latest work:

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