How did you get connected with The Fatherless Daughter Project?
My husband’s cousin is Dr. Karin, and I have known her for many years. Dr. Karin is a beautiful person, inside and out, and I have always admired her. When I found out that she was co-writing The Fatherless Daughter Project, I was more than intrigued to get a chance to read it. I read it cover to cover in just a few days. It felt as if it was God’s timing because it came exactly when I needed it in my life.
Can you tell us in a few sentences about your personal story of father loss?
I am typing this on the 25th anniversary date of my dad’s death.
I was 11 years old. My family was planning to celebrate the 4th of July weekend by watching fireworks together. I went to the grocery store with my mom and brother and when we returned, my dad had passed away of a massive heart attack. At the age of 42, he was lying across the floor with a cigarette that had burned out into a full ash on the kitchen floor. My dad was a hard worker, but also a hard “player.” He smoked at least two packs a day, drank heavily and ate a high inflammatory diet and did not exercise. He had a high stress job and used all types of unhealthy ways to try to escape his stress. He was on high cholesterol and high blood pressure medication and was instructed by his doctor to, (in my dad’s words), “Not eat anything that tastes good,” which was not followed. My father’s lifestyle choices and selfish tendencies were toxic in our household, and ultimately, it left his four children fatherless.
What has been the biggest challenge being fatherless?
I tend to feel like I am not only missing out on a relationship with my dad, but also that he never got a chance to know me. I was young when he passed, and 25 years later, it hurts me to think of all that has happened that he hasn’t been a part of since the day he died. He missed all my athletic and academic accomplishments, my graduations, my wedding, the births of my children as well as countless birthdays, holidays, and special events.
I struggled to know what a “normal” father and a “normal” marriage looked like, because of the addictive behavior and aggressive nature my dad displayed during the 11 years I had with him. Alcoholism was part of the picture, and even though I knew I was loved, I often wondered why my dad acted the way he did, especially when he was full of anger and rage. I was scared, even terrified, of making my dad angry because of what I had seen and heard while he was under the influence. I vividly remember feeling a sense of relief when I knew he was gone, and then I spent many years feeling extremely guilty that I had those feelings.
What has helped you to survive?
God, my twin sister, sports/athletics, my husband-kids and extended family and friends! Faith in God has carried me through many tough times in my life, before and after my dad passed away. My twin sister experienced all of it with me, and it is such a blessing to have someone who really gets it. She is and has always been “my person.” We used sports and athletics as a way to cope and to fit in, which also blessed us with college scholarships. Later in my life, meeting and marrying my husband, having my children, being accepted by my unbelievably loving in-laws and extended family, making friends and find a church have all helped me not only survive, but thrive.
Is there a special person(s) in your life that has helped you find healing?
My husband, Brian, and I have been married for almost 13 years, and he is the best man I have ever met in my life. I thank my in-laws for raising such a wonderful person to share my life with. He has been a constant supporter, a loyal companion, an amazing father, a man of faith, a best friend and a loving husband. He may never truly understand how thankful I am to be his wife and how much gratitude I have to God that He brought us together.
Where do you shine?
I hope and pray I shine in many areas of my life. I love being an active mom with my three children. I love all things health/wellness and exercise/fitness. I want to be the healthiest and best version of myself I can be in order to be with my family for a long time and set a good example for them to grow. I want to shine as a wife and a mother to allow my children to have an example of what a healthy, strong, loving Christian woman looks like. I believe I shine in the grocery store, kitchen, yoga studio & fitness/workout gym and in the quiet moments with my kids, family or friends.
What would you tell your younger self?
I cried the other day while I was folding laundry for my husband and three beautiful children in my wonderful home, and I looked around and thought, “I wish I could go back in time and tell my 11-year-old self that 25 years later this is what my life will be like.” I’d tell her that, “It is all going to be OK, and you have it in you to break the cycle of brokenness and heartache.” I would tell my younger self that it is OK to feel and be vulnerable, but to fight to be the best version of yourself, because you are amazing! And I would remind her that she is never alone.
If you could have a theme song, what would it be?
Defying Gravity from the musical, Wicked and/or Titanium by David Guetta, because I refuse to be held down or limited by my past or circumstances that have happened in my life. I choose to look at the glass as not only half full, but refillable and expandable!
How do you hope to make a difference in the world?
To allow God’s light to shine through myself and my family and to allow my children to soar to their highest potential as people in this world. I want my children to never question how very cherished and loved they are and to share that light of love with others. I want my legacy to be one of peace, hope, grace and mercy and most importantly the salvation of Jesus Christ.
Fill in the blank: “The most amazing thing about my life is _______________.”
no matter what happens, I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
Thanks, Darcie. We are stronger with you in our sisterhood!