Saturday, June 14, 2014

Fatherless Father's Day


      I have passed the rows of Father's Day cards when shopping for weeks now. It's like a knife to my heart every time. I even stopped and read a few last week, seeing what it would do to me to read words I'll never get to say again. The grief is different now, seven months after your death. It is a copper basin, deep and somber. It echoes when the teardrops fall, and they do fall still. It is fresh and old all at once, this grief. It has become a part of me.  The Father's Day ads are everywhere, a constant reminder. Each reminder lances that grief, sometimes deeply and others merely scratch the surface.  I envy the happy celebrants: the fathers, the sons and daughters who rush to buy one of those cards or will be grilling out for their dad this Sunday.
     I envy them, these daughters and sons whose fathers are still a part of their lives. They have a chance to fix mistakes, to show appreciation for the tough lessons, and still have the chance to sit down on the couch together and eat a bowl of ice cream. I have none of those; my chance to say thank you ended long before I knew how grateful I would truly be.  So instead I turn inward, memorializing through internal joy and personal sorrow. I pull out memories like photos in an album, trying to remember the moments as the details seem to fade more and more every day.  So, this year, I will hold those memories close to my heart and shut out the rest of the world on Father's Day

     Loss and pain have no set format, no five step list to be "OK." Grief ebbs and flows like an unpredictable tide, and is never far from the shore of happiness. Joy and pain for me are part of the same memories, joined together as an inseparable part of my life.  This Sunday I will laugh and celebrate the man that taught me to be strong and courageous. I will remember the man who taught me to throw a baseball properly. Though Sunday is an empty Father's Day for me, it holds a legacy full of love, laughter, and a rare strength forged through pain.  And I will realize that it is not a fatherless Father's Day for he is still with me, in my heart.

The feelings are mine the words are Michelle Hanson's