Meet the life
behind the posts, hear Norma's story, and see the 'why' she cares.
I was born to a married couple in the beautiful Island of Jamaica. I was the sixth of six children in our family. In the events of marital conflicts, my parents decided to be divorced. I learned that my parents were separated while I was still in my mother’s womb; thus, I was born into a home that was void of a father.
As I grew up and became aware of our misfortune of fatherlessness, I also discovered the scorn and deficiencies that accompanied this type of family dynamic. During the course of custodial disputes, our family was separated. We were now a family divided by parental disharmony and by geographic and cultural barriers.
When parents are not able to live in harmony, children suffer. Whatever their differences, it is of vital importance that parents consider the grave impact that their dissension will have on their children. There is much to be said about a family that is characterized by parents who are both present, responsible, and intentionally committed to the wellbeing of their children. Such a home is more likely admirable, secure, the family members are focused, they live purposeful lives, and they succeed.
Life was tough. Mother worked very hard to care for the children in her custody. There were many times when mom was deprived of having her personal needs met so that she could accommodate our needs, first. Mother walked miles many days to travel to and from work, because transportation was not always affordable. We’ve seen many empty cupboards and many lonely nights in our season of growing up without dad. We were the kids who never had enough or just never had it at all, but we were happy. Yes, we had each other. Until we traveled to Canada, we did not understand fully that we were deprived of a fundamental support system; the need to have both parents' undivided presence in our lives.
It had been our rude awakening that once it was discovered that a dad is not present in a child's life, that child will be treated differently. Some folks were not so kind anymore. Some were not too concerned about mistreating us. As if fatherlessness was not bad enough, we found that many times people would demean, belittle, and treat us in disparaging ways and so adding to our already misfortune of a broken home. Was it our fault that we were fatherless? Our truth was that people cared less when they understood that there was no dad to defend us. We found this to be true in religious as well as non-religious circles.
In my season of fatherlessness, I experienced bodily harassment, hostility, and the moving between homes. Because of these misfortunes, I lived with hate and silent frustrations during my childhood years and well into adulthood. I shared my grief with no one. Why would anyone believe a fatherless poor girl?
The time had finally come when mom decided it was time to give the children in her custody a seemingly better chance at life; it was time to release us to our dad in Canada. I was now fifteen years old. Life with dad was challenging and lasted less than a year. Was relationship with dad so difficult, or was it that our perceptions were misplaced? Whatever the reasons, we ran away from our dad’s home.
We grew up very quickly. We worked hard through high school and then college. When there is no parent to represent you, college suddenly becomes very expensive. It was tough, but we overcame. After some years, mom joined us in Canada. She wanted to be there for us still; she felt obligated because we were so deprived of a wholesome home.
My hunger to belong to a father figure took me down some dark roads in my early adult life. Disillusionment, betrayal, rejection, and loneliness were some of my companions as I pressed my way through a life that often seemed “too hard”. But thank God, I had 'hope', and this companion never left me.
Mom did not have much, but from our childhood she gave us a great legacy; she gave us the knowledge of Christ. This was my ticket to a life of forgiveness, reconciliation, restoration, and progression. Through the course of time my heart began to slowly heal.
Dad is no longer with us in this life. After the conclusion of his memorial ceremony, I experienced a gut-wrenching grief I never knew existed. As I departed the sanctuary following dad's pallbearers, I was suddenly overcome by a deep sorrow and sobbing that I did not understand at first. This anguish was questionable, since I did not have the relationship with dad that would merit such grief. But, as I proceeded to the exit portal of that hall, a crushing reality blanketed my soul; that is, “I was robbed of my dad. I was robbed of all that a father should be to his daughter, it was too late, it was over, and I lost out”. Yes, my grief was about my loss of a father’s care, and it might seem selfish, but it was my reality. There was no blame. I had simply crossed over the threshold of lost hope into what now was.
Life’s events do not always end the way we want them to. But I still believe our experiences embodies a greater purpose. My story propels me to be a source of encouragement and reclamation of better living for women and children.