Growing up without a dad — how it changed me

I want to be raw with y’all. I want y’all to know me, not just the good, the things I love or my now life but really know me. I want all of you to realize where I’ve come from, how I was raised and what shaped me into the person I am today. I grew up without a dad from the young age of 6 after a tragic industrial accident took his life! 

I remember the day like it was yesterday. I can still hear him telling me on the hotel phone the night before he left this earth how he “loved me more than air” I remember playing all day at an amusement park as he was on a job out of state and having the time of my life. I remember watching a group of friends circle around my mom as we left the park and watching from the distance as my mom fell to the ground. I remember asking my mom as she approached the car “who’s going to be my daddy now” I remember the car ride home sobbing in the car with my mom, sister and dear friends. I remember the beautiful rainbow in the sky when there was no rain/clouds to be seen. I remember all the calls, friends stopping by, the stuffed animals, the gifts, the flowers…I remember it all.

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Losing a parent as such a young child is something you wish no one ever had to experience. I had to and it was the worst experience of my life, but God had a plan and I know that. His plan is always greater and His timing is perfect. Dads are important, we all know that and I was a daddy’s girl to the max! He was my main guy and I was his girl! We literally did everything together, if he was grilling in the front yard shirtless–so was I! If he was watching sports and vegging out–you could find me there! I am blessed in the fact that I have a daughter and get to watch their relationship grow just as mine did with my dad. I see the way Greleigh looks at Matt and I remember looking at my dad the same way, with the admiration that he could do no wrong, that he was the strongest man in the world and that he loved his baby girl with all his heart!

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I remember growing up there were so many Father’s Day’s, birthdays, holidays etc that I longed for him. I wanted so bad to hear how proud of me he was when I did things, I wanted that father/daughter dance at our wedding, I wanted my babies to have a Pop Pop to spoil them rotten. I didn’t get any of those things but what I did get was a mom who has more grace & strength than any person in this world! She never let my dad’s death shake her faith or lose her drive to raise her two daughters to the best of her ability! If you know my mom, you know she is the sweetest soul and she’s truly my hero! I can never thank her enough for all she did for my sister and I, she was so selfless!

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She taught my sister and I how to love, to be loved, how to be independent, but not too independent in a marriage. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people reference girls who don’t grow up with a dad as a girl with “daddy issues” and I am so thankful my mom is the woman she is to prove those stereotypes wrong of raising girls as a widow. I am who I am because of my circumstances and sure I would change it in a heartbeat if I could but my sister and I have been strong, faithful, loving girls through it all because of her. We has such a strong bond as a family and I am truly grateful for both of them! I have memories here and there that stick out in my head with my dad but remembering anything from 0-6 years old is hard. I watched a lot of home videos as a child, just to hear his voice (as he was usually behind the camera) and am thankful for the pictures I have to fill those gaps of  memories!

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I wish so bad I could change it all. I wish that he could be here to see all the things I’ve done in life, to kiss my babies and to do life with my mom! I find peace knowing I will see him again someday and for now I will cherish the life I have here with the people I love the most. So hug your loved ones, tell them how much they mean to you because you never know when it could be the last time!

Have any of you suffered the loss of a parent at a young age? How did you cope? If there are any young widows reading this I want you to know you are loved, God loves you & He will hold you close during this walk of life!

                Find out more about me here

Bailey

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