The Absence of my Father

By: Ashley Arroyo

46 Votes

The Absence of my Father - Ashley Arroyo

University of Massachusetts Amherst


Up until I was around nine years old, I believed we lived in a perfect world. Everyone who smiled was happy, and everyone enjoyed the life they made for themselves. It wasn’t until I became accustomed to packing my clothes in a suitcase, shifting from one life to another and back twice a week, that reality crept in.

After a while, I became familiar with splitting my time up between my caring mom, and my inconsiderate father. As time went on, I began to see my father less and less, which turned into once every two weeks, which would eventually turn into never. I have not seen my father in almost two years.

Right after the divorce, my father would pick my sister and me up on Friday’s, and drop us back off on Sunday. We would spend the whole weekend at his house. My dad never really knew what to do with us, so we would do the same things every weekend. We would go fishing, and then have ice cream afterwards. At first, this seemed like a perfect way to spend time with my dad. After a while it became routine. We were going fishing and having ice cream for the sake of having something to do. Since we didn’t spend time together, those activities were his half-hearted attempt at mending our relationship. I soon realized that fixing our relationship required more than the silence of fishing and ice cream every weekend.

Once we outgrew that stage, I remember going to dinner with my dad every other Saturday night, as an attempt to have a relationship with him. He would pick my sister and me up at our house, and take us to a restaurant. Car rides were always uncomfortable because nobody spoke. I thought seeing him every two weeks was better than not seeing him at all, but I was wrong. It wasn’t the same. It was awkward; he would ask me about school, sports, and friends, but it was obvious that he wasn’t asking because he cared. He was just trying to make conversation. I knew he wasn’t even listening because he would ask me questions I already answered over and over again.

Eventually, I let him go. Doing this brought me relief, which I needed in order to move on with my life. It was clear to me that my father did not care enough to want to have a relationship with me, so why should I want to have one with him? He never made an effort to come to my soccer games, track meets, or other activities. He didn’t call me on Christmas, Thanksgiving, or even my birthday. Actually, he texted me the day after my birthday, “Happy Birthday.”

The self-inflicted loss of my father has varied impacts on me. I feel insecure. What did I ever do to make my own father not want to be involved in my life? After he demonstrated his indifference to our relationship, it made me think that no one wanted to be around me, or care about me. I find it extremely difficult to trust other people because I am afraid that they are going to give up on me, the same way my father did.

However, this arrangement brings positivity to me as it ultimately makes me a stronger person. In today’s society, most children are accustomed to seeing both of their parents, every day. This concept of going years without seeing my father can be hard to fathom, because it is somewhat uncommon. Personally, the absence of my father from my life gives me resilience in handling life’s tough situations, as living through losing someone who was once such a large part of your life is not easy. This sense of resilience, once forced, is now a natural part of myself and now contributes to form a large aspect of my essence.