Sarah’s father disappeared from her life after her mother’s death and left her with her grandmother. He returned years later and revealed a truth she never imagined.
Sarah’s childhood had been blissful. Her mother and father were completely in love, and they showered her with affection. But everything changed when she was five years old and her mother passed away. Her world turned upside down.
Her father didn’t have much time for her as he worked as a police officer, so Sarah was often left at her grandmother’s house. She could tell that something was up with her dad when he picked her up at night.
When she was ten years old, Sarah had to stay permanently at her grandmother’s house. “Honey, your dad is going on a long business trip, so you’re going to stay with me for some time. Is that ok?” Grandma asked.
“When will he return?” Sarah asked.
“We don’t know yet, but hopefully, sooner rather than later,” Grandma answered.
“Did he go with Mommy?” she asked.
No! Your mom can’t ever return, but your dad should be here soon,” Grandma reassured her. She was glad about that, but time went by quickly. Weeks turned into months and months into years. Eventually, she understood her father had abandoned them.
Her grandmother wouldn’t tell her the truth, though. “Where is my father?” she demanded after thinking about her father all day.
“Honey, you know he’s on a trip right now,” Grandma replied.
A business trip doesn’t last years, Grandma. Please, I’m old enough to know if my father abandoned me,” Sarah continued.
“Your father would never do that. I did not raise that kind of son. Right now, he’s doing something important and can’t return. But he will be back soon!” her grandmother added more sternly.
“I don’t believe you. You’ve been lying to me for a long time! I understand that you had to do that when I was younger, but I’m not that little girl anymore,” she said.
Sarah, please drop the subject. I’m getting a headache. I’m telling you the truth,” Grandma explained, tired of this discussion. She understood that Sarah had many questions, but there was no proper way to answered them right now.
“Fine!” Sarah yelled and stormed to her room.
She started looking through old photographs of her family. Her grandmother had made her a nice little album of her mother so that she would never forget her mother. But there were also pictures of just her and her father too.
Sarah was so mad at the world that she yanked all the pictures featuring her dad. “I’m going out!” she yelled as she stormed out of the house. She walked a few minutes and finally reached the local dumpster, where she threw all the pictures of her dad.
She only needed to remember her mother who didn’t abandon her on purpose. That was out of her hands, but her father was another story. She turned around to leave but couldn’t walk away. No matter how angry she was, Sarah loved her father. So she retrieved the pictures and hid them in her pockets.
“Where have you been?” Grandma asked when she returned.
“I threw away my father’s pictures in the dumpster! I don’t want to remember a man who left me!” she cried and ran to her room, where she hid the pictures under her bed. Her grandmother knocked on her door, but Sarah wouldn’t let her in.
“Sarah, your father didn’t abandon you! Go back for those pictures! You will regret it!” Grandma shouted through the door.
“Go away!” Sarah yelled back and went to sleep crying that night.
A few days later, Sarah returned from school and saw a man sitting on her couch. It had been years, but she would recognize that face anywhere. “Sarah!” the man smiled and stood up.
“No! What is he doing here?” she yelled at her grandmother.
“Honey, please sit down. Let us explain,” Grandma said calmly.
“I don’t want to see him, Grandma. He abandoned me! No! Go away! I don’t have a father anymore!” Sarah cried and left the house. When she returned, her grandmother was quiet for a change, and her father was gone.
The next day, there was a special assembly at school. Everyone gathered and sat on the bleachers at the gym. The principal approached a podium and started speaking. “Hello, students and faculty. Today, we have a special guest, Lieutenant Roger Griffin,” he started.
Sarah couldn’t believe it. Why was her dad a guest at a school assembly? Before she could do anything, the principal kept speaking, “Roger went to school right here and grew up in this town. For the past five years, he has been deployed in Iraq, serving our country bravely.”
“He is now a decorated hero because he managed to save 25 of his fellow soldiers when their Humvee broke down in the middle of the desert. His father worked as a mechanic all his life and taught him everything he knew. So he managed to fix the truck and get everyone to safety before tragedy struck. Everyone, please welcome him!”
Everyone in school cheered, while Sarah started crying silently. Her father was in the army? She was told he was a police officer. Why did no one tell her the truth?
Her father took the microphone from the principal and started speaking. “Thank you for this warm welcome. It’s great to be back, but before I explain how the war changed my life, I have to speak to my daughter.”
Sarah, I’m so sorry. We didn’t tell you that I was a soldier because there was a huge chance I wouldn’t return from Iraq. I didn’t want you to suffer after losing your mother, and I had to serve my country. I hope you can forgive me with time,” her father continued.
Sarah stood up and rushed to the podium to hug her father while tears streamed her face. Everyone applauded that moment. After a few minutes, her father went back and spoke to everyone about how hard the army can be and how everything changes.
“But I have learned what truly matters in life, and I have been officially discharged. I will never leave my family again. I promise you that, Sarah,” he added. Sarah smiled, and Mr. Griffin kept his promise.
He opened a new mechanic shop, where he worked for the rest of his life. Meanwhile, Sarah’s grandmother managed to find the pictures hidden under Sarah’s bed. She returned them to the photo album, and they lived as happily as they could.