An Open Letter to my Absent Father


Dear Danny,


I’m 30. It’s been 30 years since you left. Reminder; I didn’t ask to be born.

As the child of an absent parent you wonder what you did wrong? If someone who is supposed to love you unconditionally won’t, who else could ever really love you?


I’ve spent a lot of my life angry at you, angry at someone I don’t know. It’s frustrating. Unanswered questions that I’ve come to accept will remain unanswered for the rest of my life.


I was 6 months old when you left. You said you couldn’t do ‘this’ and left. The flat you walked out of is still the flat we call our home. 30 birthdays and Christmases without so much as a card. Why?


This is proving very hard to write. I write through tears, and it’s not because I miss you, how could I? You can’t miss something you’ve never had. I’m angry that you had the freedom to walk out on a life that you created without a second thought and then some years later start another family. One where your kids know who you are.


When you left you took half of my identity with you. Cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents. I don’t even know who’s living, who knows I exist?


Well, I know Eamon does. Mum tells me my ‘Uncle Eamon' made some kind of effort when I was younger, although I have absolutely no memory of it. So thanks Eamon, but what did I do for that relationship to stop?


Eamon (your brother, I don’t even know if you two have a relationship?) has 2 daughters and a son, the daughters are very close to me in age, and from the pieces of information I’ve seen on social media (yes I’ve looked, wouldn’t you?) we are chalk and cheese. Maybe our relationship would’ve been like that of mine and Josie’s my 27 year old cousin who has been by my side since she was born and we remain close today.


Despite your absence I’ve never wanted for anything because My Mum Valerie Kiernan is my entire parentage. She didn’t have any more children, I often wonder if I was denied a sibling because my mum was scared she’d be left high and dry again with the bar you’d set.


My Mum. She did everything in her power to make sure I didn’t miss out as a child and continues to do so in my adult life. With the support of Nan and Auntie Sam, I had 3 incredible women raise me into becoming the headstrong, successful woman I am today.


I want you to really understand the sacrifices she made to ensure I had a good upbringing. She’s my biggest fan, cheerleader and companion. She made sure I had the same as all of the other kids. Even though financially she never had it, she made it work. I had clothes, a home, plenty of food, toys, gadgets, all of it. Even without a penny from you. My mum is my super hero. I’d say you’re the villain in my story, but that would be lying. You have no title.


Sadly my case isn’t a rarity, it’s brutal that single parent households are common, I can only hope that the other abandoned children have had more closure or contact within 30 years than I ever had, because it hurts. When you’re a kid in school making cards for Father’s day and wondering what the fuss is. Seeing your friends Dads pick them up from school or coach their mini-league team on a Sunday and you don’t have the same you wonder why. You don’t understand why, but you do wonder.


I’m quite a sporty person, I used to love football as a child and now play rugby. I’m sorry that you missed me excelling and enjoying sports, I feel like they’re proud Dad moments (stereotypically of course) that you missed out on. You could’ve been stood on the sidelines pointing me out and saying, ‘Oh that fly-half, yeah that’s my daughter, great boot on her’. Instead I look over to the side lines and see my mum, my best friend, time and time again. In my corner being the best parent a kid could ask for.


Despite your absence, I know what a good man is. The two main men in my life that taught me what a father does and what a dad is are no longer with us. Grandad and Uncle Reg. Two men with so much love to give that I had the best paternal presence, one that I doubt you’d ever be able to match up to. Of course they had their flaws, but they stuck around, even in the hardest of times and raised their children who ultimately raised me.


Oh by the way, I’m a massive gay. Yep. Funny that women play such a pivotal role in my life. I’m also what the kids would call a SJW (Social Justice Warrior) I feel strongly about the following: Black Lives Matter, LGBTQI+ rights, women’s rights, racial discrimination, and dismantling the patriarchy, essentially any discrimination towards minority groups. So if this ever lands in your lap and you raise an eyebrow here, I’m happy to educate you, or you know you can continue to stay away.


I work as a Talent Agent and love my job, I want to be the best at it. I want to make enough money doing a job I love, that mum never has to struggle like she did when I was younger. I’m still at the starting stage of what I hope will be a fruitful career, but who knows what’s around the corner?


You might be pleased to know I’m very proud of my Irish heritage, my half Kildare half Dublin heritage that is. Who knows with my father’s support I could’ve been that sporty kid or Daddy’s girl in a Tipperary shirt.


You should get it by now, I think you’re an absolute bell end, but should this letter ever reach you, I’d be willing to talk. To hear what you have to say for yourself. Nan still lives in the same place. If you want to contact me you should find a way to do so. I’m quite level headed, and fond of a pint or a coffee.

Overall I wish you and your family well, I’m tired really of the empty pit in my stomach that emerges when I think of you. But much like the death of a loved one I’ve learned to live with it, I can’t say I’ll ever get over it.

All I ask is one thing, please teach your son to be a good man, that if he has a family he sticks by them. Because no one should ever feel unwanted or unloved least of all by those who create them.


Sincerely,

Your forgotten daughter


Shauna




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