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The father he didn't have to be.

by Trisha Brandhorst 2 months ago in immediate family
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The story of my dad.

My daddy and I at my mom's birthday celebration 2 yrs ago.

I have never really had a father figure in my life for the most part. My real father was more of an abuser and just bad man. I was put into foster homes at age seven because of his abuse. I was molested when I was seven years old. I wasn't sure what was going to happen to me at that age, and I was terrified. After that, it became hard for me to trust most men and almost everyone else. I was still friendly, but standoffish. Every foster home I went into, only drew me that much further down the rabbit hole. My real father got visitation rights here or there up until I was ten, then he decided to sign his rights off. That left me, scared and alone....in the foster care system. As a ten you old you come to learn that the older you get, the chances of you actually getting adopted are pretty slim. All in all, I was in eight foster homes, all abusive except for three. My last two foster homes were a blessing, as I learned that there were actually people out there that DID care and could treat you well. When I lived in my second to last home, they found my biological mother and began the process of me being able to live with her. I was nervous, scared, anxious, confused. I had come to love the home that I was in, and I knew that they loved me as well. Everything worked out for my biological mother, and I moved to Texas to live with her. She was married then to a nice guy, but they later parted ways. After that, I met the man I now call my Dad. At first, I couldn't fathom the thought of him and my mother being together. I hated the whole world and I'm horrified to say that I didn't exactly treat him very well. In short, I was a brat and made him feel bad quite often. After three months, I started realizing that he wasn't going anywhere and I started to warm up to him. I was still a teenager and plenty of a handful. But, we got to know each other and eventually he and my mother got married. I remember while he and my mom were married, one year he rented out a whole skating rink for my birthday and only two people showed up. It was such a sweet gesture looking back now, but I was so upset that day. My dad and mom handled it very well and we became closer. Sadly, their marriage wasn't meant to be. They parted ways but stayed close friends. My mother moved us to Kansas to be near my grandmother. My dad went back to Texas. He would come visit and occasionally I would get to go visit him in Texas. I wound up going to Job Corps for schooling and he came to get me one summer for vacation. I remember going to Texas to stay with him and his new girlfriend. I really liked her. They had a house by lake Ft. Worth and we got to go out on a boat. Dad even let me drive!!! (I almost accidentally made him fall out of the boat when I took a turn too fast). So life went on, my dad and I stayed in contact and talked quite often after that. Eventually, I wound up marrying my first husband, didn't really tell anyone much about it. He was a military guy and we wound up staying married for five years. During that marriage, I had moved to Wisconsin and had a baby boy. We had our son in Kansas, then moved up to Wisconsin shortly after. My ex husbands family lived in Wisconsin and I was persuaded into moving there, even though I didn't really want to. After we split, I moved into my own townhome apartment with our son. He was still active duty, but got discharged shortly after our separation. We were divorced Aug 2006. I moved on with our son, he got to see him on weekends and we switched arranged schedules so both parents were involved. I didn't have my family near me here, and I was alone without much support. I worked and still managed to provide for my son and myself. Time passed, then I met my second husband. We dated for 6 years before finally marrying July 2010. We had a little house we wound up renting and my son lived with us. Again, sadly this marriage didn't last. I found out he was unfaithful (just like the first) and decided to move back home to Kansas. I wanted to be back around my family. During the time that this had all been going on, my dad had decided to move from Texas to Kansas. I decided that since my son was currently in school at the time, that I would let him stay with his grandparents in Wisconsin until school was out for the year. I would come back in a couple of moths, and bring him home then. Sadly, that never happened. I got moved back to Kansas, wound up staying a couple of months with my dad until I found a place with a friend of mine. I tried to contact my ex in laws to move my son to Kansas, but was thwarted and blocked at every try.

I decided to just keep working, try to send letters and birthday presents as much as I could. At one point I was notified he wasn't even receiving them. So, I worked and did what I could to keep a piece of mind. I wound up not staying in the apartment with my friend, and moved back home. My daddy bought me a two bedroom trailer and I finally owned my first home. I met a guy in the army national guard, and we dated for nine months. During that time tragedy hit our family pretty hard. We wound up losing my aunt and my uncle all within nine months of each other. Me and the guy split up because it was becoming a bad situation. This took a huge toll on me and put me into a bad depression. I felt like a failure with two failed marriages. My dad and I talked a lot throughout that process. He helped to remind myself that I am beautiful in his eyes as well as my mother's, that it was this guys loss; and clearly he didn't deserve me. He got me back on track with my faith and what I needed to be looking for in relationships in the future. So, I went on in my life, stronger....knowing my worth and what I deserved. I met a wonderful man about three-four months later. Turns out I knew him from high school. During the first month or so of us dating, we lost my grandmother. He was by my side. We talked constantly, and built a friendship. We got married July 7,2017, my dad is the one that married us. Fast forward to today. We have gone through a lot of trials and tribulations, but all of them have made us stronger. My dad has especially had some tough tribulations after losing a dear friend, and then having multiple surgeries which have left him pretty much in a situation to where he isn't as mobile as he used to be. His health is deteriorating rapidly. He can't walk without a walker, has a hard time grasping things. This is a man, that was born in 1942, was abused his whole life, a Vietnam veteran, still managed to become strong in his faith, become a preacher, and still have a tremendous amount of love in his heart. He has literally been through hell and back. He has taught me how to trust, how to love, how to look at myself and know my worth. He has taught me so much more than I could ever repay him for. Yes, we have our differences, but he is the only man that has stood up as a father figure in my life and decided to stay. Through all of the chaos, flunking school on purpose, the attitudes, the headaches and heartaches.....through the loss of family members....everything. He has stood strong and is still holding on. Nothing could explain in words the love and respect that I have for this man, the man that fought the world to become my father. I love you daddy!!!

immediate family

About the author

Trisha Brandhorst

I’m 41, happily married and have two boys& a step daughter. I love to write, spend time With family, travel & meet new people. I love animals. The beach is my favorite place in the world.

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  3. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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Comments (2)

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  • Arbab5 days ago

    Amazing one

  • Wow. Your story is not unlike my own. You really should pen a memoir! You have a great grasp of telling just the right amount of story, and not the parts that don't need to be shown to get the point where it's going. Your (step) dad was amazing and I loved this!

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