Leigh Ann


How did you get connected with The Fatherless Daughter Project?
I was doing some personal researching on the topic of fatherlessness and came across the website.

Can you tell us in a few sentences about your personal story of father loss?
My father died when I was 3 years old. I never knew him. I have no personal memories of him so for me it is more about a void than a loss. He was diagnosed with leukemia in 1966. I was born in 1968 while his cancer was in remission. In January 1971 his cancer came back. He died in March 1971.

What has been the biggest challenge being fatherless?
The only man I have ever needed left while I still needed him. I was 5 when a woman told me that my father was needed in heaven, that’s why God took him. Impossible, I thought. There is no way God needs him more than me. At 8, I graduated to long beseeching prayers to bring him back to me. Asking to trade years of my life for just one with him. Feeling it became too much and I just shut down. What I didn’t realize was emotions aren’t compartmentalized that way. If I shut out grief, joy would be shut out too. My biggest challenge was coaxing my spirit back out and learning to really feel and be connected to my emotions.


What has helped you to survive?
I’ll be honest, about 50% of the things I used to survive the grief as a child ended up making me sick as an adult (detachment, avoidance, numbing). If I wanted to really live a beautifully connected life, I would have to learn to be present in the moment, feel my grief, stop running, tell the truth and love myself. Tall order. Exchanging my old coping skills for more healthy behaviors has been a process. A process for which I will be forever grateful. Now I thrive.

Is there a special person(s) in your life that has helped you find healing?
The women in my life have healed me. My mother has been my constant and I surrounded myself with insightful, loving, and wise women.

Where do you shine?
I shine when I’m sharing my journey with someone who needs to hear it. That gives my journey purpose and deep meaning.

What would you tell your younger self?
You are enough.

If you could have a theme song, what would it be?
“Orange Sky” Alexi Murdoch would be my theme song. It’s a haunting song about an emotional journey guided by inspiration. While the journey is internal and deeply personal, the road is lined with “brothers and sisters” also searching for healing/freedom. The sun is setting, the pain is leaving, the sky is orange. Salvation is here. A new day symbolizing a new beginning.

How do you hope to make a difference in the world?
Ultimately, I would like to create a program to help fatherless daughters heal. I’m not sure what that is at the moment but I hold the intention in my heart and pray for a strength to execute it.

Fill in the blank: “The most amazing thing about my life is _______________.”
that I feel comfortable in my skin despite the grief. It’s all I ever wanted.


Thank you, Leigh Ann. We are blessed to have you in our sisterhood!

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