It’s a little tongue-in-cheek, how people say “dad went out for a quart of milk and never came back,” a story that doesn’t belong to anyone in particular but must have come from somewhere.

It comes from reality, unfortunately, and these 13 families lived it – whether they’re the ones who left or the ones who were left behind, here’s how they attempted to move on with their lives.

13. She never said.

My grandma did this twice. When she was 18 she got married and had a baby and got on a bus without a word and left her 1 year old baby and husband and never spoke to either of them again.

We only know my half aunt exists because of Facebook. She found my dad and reached out a few years back. She looks exactly like my grandma.

Then when my dad was 25 my grandma got a bus on again and left without a word. Everyone thought she was dead or missing. My grandpa filed for divorce by missing person after several years.

10 or so years later my uncle hired a private investigator who located my grandma and found out she was in a different state married to another man. Eventually her and her new husband moved back to where my extended family lived.

I met her for the first time when I was 12 and we all started spending holidays together. Her, my dad and his siblings, my grandpa, and her new husband. It was super bizarre and she never told us why she left. I’m 33 now and she’s in her late 80ties and we still don’t know what happened.

12. A different reality.

When I was around 3, my dad left for work and never came back. This was in the early 90’s and he managed to pull this disapperance act off by cutting all the phone lines in my family home before walking out the door.

He managed to stay in hiding for a few years. Without child support or his income my mother simply lost the house after trying to stay afloat for years.

My father “moved on” by simply refusing to admit that any of this happened.

11. When Mom tells lies.

I found out a couple years ago that the man I knew as my father wasn’t actually my father. When confronted with this, my mother (who had already disowned me over other reasons) denied everything, called me a liar and refused to even acknowledge the DNA proof.

I decided to keep digging and found out who my biological father was. Turns out it was a guy she worked with. When I found out I told my sisters who it was and they were like “THAT Guy? Mom dated him for YEARS. At one point they even talked about marriage”. Turns out, I had met the guy at least once so I am absolutely positive that my mom knew, and based on what I have found I am pretty sure that he knew as well and never made an attempt to reach out to me. By the time I found out he had already passed and the 7 kids he already had won’t really respond to me so I have given up on making any kind of connection to that family.

Still, my entire world was completely shook and rocked and with the revelation that my mom knew and lied to me my entire life has forced me to re-evaluate my entire childhood and everything is now in a different light.

10. The other side of the story.

Kind of the opposite, my dad was abusive so one day when he went out to get the paper, my mum, sisters, and I left and never went back.

Edit: I replied this to someone below, but we didn’t move on with our lives very successfully.

It’s been thirty years since we left, but my entire childhood was very traumatic. After we left we kept having to move and change our names because he kept finding us, and at the time I believed he would kill us. I lived in fear for the first 18 years of my life (until I could get a passport and move overseas), and that really fucks up a child’s brain.

I have C-PTSD, and despite always being medicated and in therapy, I’m always anxious, exhausted, and in pain and can’t work anymore without constant panic attacks.

9. A happy ending.

I had gotten out of the military and my wife and I had moved to a place where we had no friends or family. We had 2 little kids and in no way was I interested in being a family man.

In all reality, I was looking for a way out and PTSD was in full effect. So, one day I just packed a bag while my wife was at school and pawned some things to get some cash, so I wouldn’t leave her with nothing.

When she got home we were actually really civil with each other and we were talking about the future, but I had made up my mind. I told her I had to run to the store, and she said okay and I said okay, and then my daughter ran up to me said “Daddy! Get me a surprise!” I tried not to cry right there on spot, but I grabbed my coat and walked out the door. I went to the store and sat in the parking lot for a good 20 minutes crying. I then took off. I ended up going to Walmart, got my kids some toys, and my wife some Hostess snowballs.

When I walked back into my house, the kids were so happy and my wife was looking at me weird, but never said anything. From then on I just fought against myself to always be there and this year my wife and I celebrated our 20 year anniversary.

8. That will break your heart.

Biological dad did this. He had an argument with my mom that we all heard. He didn’t think we did, but we did. He then came to us and said “I’m going to the store”

I knew exactly what that meant.

I ran after his car as he drove away, I was screaming “please come back, I’m sorry”. As a child I thought we had done something as children to drive him away. Still to this day, it’s the saddest memory I have.

That will mess you up and it did for a long time. Years of therapy later all the kids are doing just fine without him.

7. Not my dad.

Father left when I was a baby. I’m the youngest of four. Were from Ireland my father is Scottish, my mum drove us over on the ferry to see him once from what I remember, then no contact until I was 18. Still don’t know why he left.

I’m now 30, my sister and brother keep contact, but he just isn’t my father, my stepfather raised me, and even though he isn’t with my mum anymore and we don’t keep contact, I will always be thankful to that man for providing for us and raising us, he’s a good man and set a good example for me.

6. This is all terrible.

my dad “disappeared” out of nowhere at age 8 and I didn’t see him until almost 10 years later when I was already a man

my mother always told me she had no idea where he was, what he was doing, or why he disappeared. This messed with me heavily growing up, without a father, fathers day always sucked, ended up clinically depressed, etc. not knowing why or where really fucked with my brain

fast forward 9 years my mother comes out and tells me my dad is on the phone, calling. its really surreal, i cant believe it. hes actually on the phone, i talk to him, i am in total shock, emotions dont even come, im just in total shock, i dont even remember what we said.

Turns out my dad was wanted for a white collar crime, and owed my mom money in child support. she got pissed at him one day when I was 8, and told the cops where to find him. He was arrested and put in jail for the white collar crime, and that was why he disappeared.

When he got released, he called me that day 9 years later, and my mother never told me the whole story or why he was gone until after that phone call.

5. Why would he be surprised?

I know of a man who did that (not literally the milk part but just disappeared one day without an announcement). He ended up going to another continent and just starting a new life. Then after over 20 years he thought it would be interesting to reach out to his old family and was really hurt by how harshly they reacted…

However from what I know he didn’t want a kid and was resentful to his wife for having one, he thought he was too young to have such a tied down life (he was mid 20ies) and went on to a place where no one knew him.

4. How could a parent do that?

I don’t know with my bio Dad, him and my mother pretty much split up when I was around 3 years old. He would always pick me up for visits during long weekends and school holidays, but this stopped after I was 12. He never came to pick me up for another holiday, or even call or message me. He just vanished.

Fast forward twelve years later I finally manage to make contact with my paternal sisters (they never lived with either and lived with their mother), who I have always adored to bits on Facebook and they tell me has cancer and is dying.

I decide I want to speak to him, I never had a bad experience with him or anything like that, it would have just been nice to say hi, and goodbye and just catch up I guess. I called, I told him who I was and he put the phone down on me and blocked me.

A few months later his wife then invites me to his funeral. I basically went to see and comfort my sisters. His wife was super nice as well.

3. A nightmare.

I’d been married to my then EX Wife 8 years, were together a total of 11 years though. 4 Years into our marriage she got pregnant.

i was excited as anyone else would be to have a child. someone i can love and pass on everything i know.

skip forward 4 years later my “son” is 4 years old. the love of my life who i would give my life for and do anything i can to make him happy.

one morning wife is in the shower she gets a text so i just casually look at her phone she left on the bed next to me and i read something along the lines of when are you gonna leave him.

my heart sank further then the Mariana trench,

i open her phone ( know her password) we dont keep anything from each other. or so i thought.

turns out she was talking with her sister i read all the texts between them . about me and how she found out a year ago i wasnt actually the dad and she cheated on me four years ago with an old EX,

and how she was going to eventually leave me for him and is just getting everything ready. now me being a male ( no sexism here, truly. just being honest on the justice system) knew full well i had no legal claims to that child. it was her birth child and some other guy i was just there to be there.

i loved my son, and even now still call him that because he truly ment everything to me and still does.

i put her phone back on the bed and pretend everything is going as normal, however the next couple of days i slowly move everything around behind the scene, put my notice in at work albeit it was less then 2 weeks but my boss understood the circumstances.

i come home from work and everything is ready to go. i applied and got a new apartment across the country. found a new job as well. I tell her i am going out to get some stuff for the house and give my son a kiss on his forehead before i leave and start to tear up. she see’s it and asks if everything is okay and i said yes with the fakest smile i could muster as my heart was broken beyond repair.

so i get up and leave the house, leave everything i had to her and the boy, they’ll need it and its something i can leave behind for him. not her.

so i drive in my car ( most of my clothes were already in the trunk by then except a few. she was too oblivious to notice anything. )

skip forward 14 or so years later, i started a new family told my now beautiful and understanding wife everything when we first started dating. no secrets. she was understanding and companionate.

my son was then 18 so legally i was allowed to do whatever the hell i wanted. so i found him on facebook , told him everything, and lo and behold, he believed me. he remembered me and everything we did since he was a little kid.

the first thing he said after was that was i dont blame you. i never did and never will. later i found out from him that his mom and dad divorced 2 years into the marriage because her now ex husband cheated on her and got another chick pregnant and left her for her.

What a heck of a life.

2. That’s called karma.

My mom’s dad liked his ladies young. When they aged out he moved on and started a new family. ‘Setting up franchises’ as Tyler Durden said. He died after ‘falling down some stairs’. Roll credits.

1. No love lost.

Mine started an internet business, made millions, had a pretty nice life while my mom fought to keep our heads above water.

Flash forward 22 years and I meet him for the first time since I was 4. He thought I was still a teenager and had the audacity to call his company his “baby”.

2 years later he sends me a check for 10k and now I don’t have to reply to his yearly “I’m pretty sure you were born around this date so here’s $500 to Amazon” emails anymore.

The next communication I want from him is the letter telling me he finally got wiped off this planet like the scum he is.

These are some wild stories; be thankful for the people who stay in your lives.

If you want to share the story of your own childhood in the comments, ours are open.