Learning to forgive to move on

Debra Ige

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Courtney Renfro, 22, business administration and business law major, said she will finally give her father the college degree he always hoped for his daughter. Photo Credit: Debra Ige / Staff Reporter

Courtney Renfro, 22, has no regrets.

She said she wishes her and her father had reconciled before his death.

“I wasn’t ready to forgive him, but I wish I did,” Courtney Renfro

Reminiscing over the relationship with her father, Courtney comes to grips of her fathers death and finds peace within herself.

When you first meet Courtney she strikes you as a shy timid girl but once she breaks out of her exterior shell she blossoms into a very effusive talker.

Currently a fourth year business administration and business law major graduating in Summer 2011, Courtney will finally give her father the college degree he always hoped and wished for his daughter, she said

Courtney said she was the typical daddy’s girl.

Growing up was quite a struggle for Courtney, she said as the only child she had difficulty making friends and often shied away from people and kept to herself.

“My father was my only friend,” Renfro said “I trusted him, he was my hero.”

She describes her childhood as dysfunctional, as she pauses she takes a breath and looks down, she said.

“My parents argued constantly so after a while I thought it was just normal.”

Courtney said her parents are complete opposites. She paints her mother as a very over-protecting, stern, dominating strong woman. Whereas, her father was more down to earth an easy going.

“My mother believes in God, education and work and everything comes after that,” she said

Courtney said she was the black sheep of the family. Having a mixed cultural background of Polynesian descent from her mother and her father being African American she struggled to find her true identity, she said.

Her dad became her only outlet to express how she really felt, she said

“I have always been able to talk to my father, our communication was great.” Renfro said.

At the age of 14 things took a drastic turn for the worse for Courtney.

“My father left me and my mother in the middle of night and never came back, I felt as if I wasn’t good enough,” Renfro said.

Dealing with the separation of her parents Renfro hit a low point in her life, she said.

Fortunately for her strong moral upbringing Renfro did not lash out to drugs or hit the common rebellious stage that most go through, she said. However, she did become more shelter and guarded of whom she let in her life.

Without her father she felt a sense of loneliness.

“I always struggled making friends but it never bothered me because I always had my dad.”

At the age of 17, Renfro was hit with more devastating news. Her father was diagnosed with cancer and died 4 months later.

Being estranged from her father for more than 3 years their relationship seemed tarnished, she said

Renfro was unable to mend ties between her and her father before he died, but she dedicates her degree to the memory of her father, she said

“I know he would have wanted me to finish school.”

Although Courtney never voiced her forgiveness personally to her father she said she has moved on and has forgiving him.

“Nobody is perfect and we all make mistakes,” Renfro said.