Reflections on Father’s Day without my Dad

I spent an entire day trying not to focus on the reality that it was Father’s Day. At Church, I focused on my sermon and the work I needed to do. At home, I took a nap and then went fishing and refused to spend any time alone. Late in the evening I sat up and watched TV and took a little sign of relief as the clock hit midnight as if I had passed some deadline for destruction. The whole time I was trying to ignore the day, there was a voice in the back of my head saying, “You know it’s Father’s Day, right?”

When dad left us six months ago, I knew certain days would be hard to handle. My birthday, his birthday, his anniversary and Christmas would be hard, but I knew Father’s Day would be the worst. Now that the day is over and I have had time to think I share a few simple thoughts of reflection.

1. I openly welcome the pain. I have realized that the reason losing my dad hurt so much was because we had a special relationship. Our close bond made his death that much more painful. Now when I stop to think about him, it hurts me, but I am glad it hurts. I am delighted I have memories of times together. I am happy that I have memories that are buried deep in my soul. Honestly, I would gladly do it all again. I am glad I had the relationship with my father that leaves me hurting and I hope that someday my children will miss me. I would never want to be an afterthought in the mind of the people who surround me. I am thankful for my relationship with my dad.

2. I am part of a whole new group of people. Yesterday I went onto Facebook for about 30 minutes. There I saw post after post of individuals who had lost their father too. They shared the pain they were feeling and the fond memories of their dad. Until this year I never knew what they were talking about when they posted those things. Old age is real, death is inevitable, and I knew the day was coming when dad would be gone. Even though the facts were clear the final departing was painful, and now I understand what other people are going through. The loss of my father has made me far more sympathetic toward others.

3. My relationship with my children has changed. This thought came home almost dramatically for me yesterday. For the last two years of dad’s life, he struggled to shave very well. He tried his best with an electric razor, but he still missed areas. As a result, every time I went home to visit I gave him a good shave. He bought expensive shaving cream and a nice razor so I could do a good job. Then yesterday for Father’s Day my children gave me a gift from the store “The Art of Shaving.” It seemed like a symbolic way of passing the torch. I took care of dad’s beard, and now my children will help me with mine. With the passing of a patriarch comes a new family leader and that leader is me. My life is shifting from parent with kids at home to an empty nest. In four years all four of my children will be out of the house. One question came to mind, “What am I doing now that my future grandchildren will be thankful for?” The baton has passed, and I need to reevaluate the focus of my life.

I am absolutely certain that I am over thinking this day. It is hard not to. It was front and center at every event, store and on social media. Instead of being sad, I tried reflecting on the day. I am thankful for what I had, for what I have and what I hope will one day be.

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