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'Is it worth getting closure from my dad who left?'

By BṺM TENORIO JR., The Philippine STAR Published Jun 19, 2022 11:18 am

Each week, PhilSTAR L!fe addresses a reader's concern about relationships, career, and anything they want to talk about through its advice column: Asking for a Friend.

Dear L!fe friend,

I never saw my father ever since, and my mother and I do not talk about it. When I was younger, I was firm with my decision not to look for him, out of pride and maybe grudge. However, these past few years, it feels like loneliness and emptiness are getting closer and closer to my face. As much as I want to just shrug it off, it's just getting back. Although I don't believe that my father will fill everything that I felt lacking in me, I'm thinking that knowing the side of his story about me might help put some pieces of this puzzle I am working on.

I just want to ask if you would advise me to still look for him to talk about things, or should I stick to my belief that "If he left and never tried to reach me when I was young, then why would I?"

I'm afraid I'll benefit nothing from reaching out to him, and I'll be left without that pride I've held onto since I was younger. 

Sorry for this. I just felt that I don't want to talk about this with my friends because I just might get another cliche response that knowing my father would complete my identity and personality. 

Thank you.

—Lonely Child

Dear Lonely Child,

Many times, our thoughts hold the answers to our questions. “Loneliness and emptiness” are emotions that you have been confronted with lately. No one wants to be lonely and empty. Fill the void. Look for your father. 

Even if I tell you to have no expectations when you go through the process of looking for your absentee father, even if I tell you not to have expectations when you finally find him, truth is the heart always expects. Look for your father still. 

Your missing father will not complete you because, to begin with, you are already complete. Finding your father will not complete you. And not finding him, if the odds are not in your favor, is not an odd reality and shouldn’t also be taken that you will live an incomplete life.

You’ve sailed away with life this long without your father helping you turn your rudder. You’ve steered fine. Until the skipper in you felt that “loneliness and emptiness.” Those are valid emotions that need to be addressed. And only you—not the sea, not the waters, not the wind of life—can help you with that. 

Should you consider how your mother would feel about you finding your father? Yes. Find your father still. At the very most, inform your mother about your action. 

Go, find him! To hell with pride. Your pride will sabotage further your emotion. And if you find him and you’re given nonchalance, deal with it. That’s why I said earlier to prepare for it. (Though in reality, we’re really not prepared for anything. But process it beforehand just the same.) 

Go, find your father. 

It is true that your father will never complete you as a person, but he can give you the possibilities that you have put in a bottle for years.

I hope you don’t mind I reached out to a dear friend Kristoffer Tina to shed light on your concern about finding your father. Kristoffer was my former student in my Sunday Writing Class. Even if he himself is now a professor at a university, he still attends my class. 

In our many sessions in our class, Kristoffer would always write about his absentee father. And the topic emerged every time Father’s Day came—just like today is Father’s Day. 

Kristoffer wants to tell you this:

“When I was also young, I was firm with my decision not to look for my absent father. I told myself that an absent father does not make my life incomplete. An incomplete family is never a broken family. This is the truth that I have chosen to live in for many years. I also promised myself not to reach out to someone who left and never reached out to us. I decided to fortify myself with walls of pride and even grudge. But here's the tricky part: in erecting mighty walls to surround myself, my perspective gets limited and my space gets suffocating and small. In building these walls, I can no longer see the other side. My comfort zone has become my prison for myself. Until I feel the uncertainty of what is behind those walls I built. Is it safe? Is it beautiful? The only way to see is to build a window."

“Yes, do not immediately tear your walls. Start with making a peephole, then a window, and once you are ready, a door, and a bridge."

“Also, it is true that your father will never complete you as a person, but he can give you the possibilities that you have put in a bottle for years.” 

I hope Kristoffer and I were able to help you. Don’t stay lonely for a long time, Lonely Child.


Your L!fe friend,


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