Tomorrow is Father’s Day and I wanted to get this off of my mind before the actual day. Over the last couple of weeks this thought has been creeping into my psyche a little more often every day. Until these last few days, when it has downright bugged me, bothered me, and otherwise haunted me. I asked my wife yesterday, “What am I supposed to do on Father’s Day, with no father, for the first time in my life?”
I suppose I still don’t know the answer. But I know that I miss my Dad an awful lot.
See these last few years, he was damaged. His brain had taken hit after hit. Aging takes its own toll, then, there were strokes, seizures, migraines, TIA’s, and just more stuff than we even were aware of. So, that meant increased loss of memory, challenges keeping up with the words necessary to keep timely conversation, and difficulty managing gross and fine motor skills, among many other things. I tell you these things because it also made life harder for everyone around him. It was nearly impossible for my Mom to be his sole caretaker towards the end of his life. I struggled at times to make the time to be the ride, the steady hand, and the firm voice needed day in and day out. Getting the best care we knew how to get was tough to execute, and my Mom, my siblings, my wife and I, along with other friends and family all felt the weight. Then, on April 14th, 2016, God called Dad home. Suddenly the urgency in getting this ramp done, or that railing in, or moving furniture here, or moving things over there, it all ended. I mean we talked about a special van, a different living arrangement, better wheelchair, more care in the home to lighten the load for Mom. There were plans being made for all kinds of things, including being available for the handling of the unpredictable. And then it was done. All done. I would also dare say, that any, and all of us, would gladly carry this load again, if it meant Dad was here with us. But I try not to argue with God’s timeline, and I trust in Him.
I miss you Dad.
I share some of the weight here in words because it was true. It was real. It weighed on us physically, mentally, spiritually, and urgency was always at its highest. It kept me up at night. And even then, I maintained that I would rather be the help than be the available one with no one to help. How would I want this to look, if the tables were reversed?
So, tomorrow is Father’s Day, and my Dad is in heaven. He has been gone for more than 9 weeks now. I know there are millions of men who have lost their Dad before I ever experienced the loss myself. I hope that writing these words and being ‘real’ helps someone somewhere, even it if only helps me I guess.
I have a full day planned tomorrow, Father’s Day 2016, and none of those plans include a visit to my Dad. That might sound harsh or even like a bad idea. But, Dad is not here. He is not in a grave in some cemetery overlooking an orchard, with a piece of granite marked by his name. He is in heaven with his Dad, and many family members and friends who have gone before him. So, this is the way I know how to get closest to my Dad on this special weekend for Dad’s. To write. To remember. To listen to the music we listened to together. To sit and just let my mind drift to the heights necessary to see past the pain and to see Dad, over the many years, the many memories, and the countless laughs.
So, I won’t see my Dad tomorrow. I will hear him in my mind’s audio bank. I will remember him. I will laugh at words he once said. I will miss spending some moments with him. But truthfully, if I am being 100% honest, what I will miss the most will be seeing his smile, and even more difficult to miss, will be the look in his eyes. Selfishly, maybe, even if there was nothing tangible that I brought to the table on any visit, even on Father’s Day, I always could see the gleam that was present in his eyes as he looked upon his oldest son. Maybe I always noticed it, but didn’t fully understand it until I had kids of my own. But there is, there was, no mistaking the look, the gleam. Yes, I will miss the reflection in my Dad’s eyes, figuratively and literally. I hope my kids see it in my eyes, because I know that I certainly feel it in every fiber of my body as I look upon them.
Dad, I know you are probably having the time of your eternal life up there in heaven with our Lord and Saviour, and so many phenomenal people from your generation and beyond. And I know that you always prayed for us, prayed with us, loved us, and were interested in all the goings on regarding your kids, and I know that tomorrow would be no different. I miss you Dad, and I look forward to being my kids’ father tomorrow as much as you always did being mine. I know you’re not here Dad, but I am so glad I had you as my father, and I am so very blessed to be a father myself. Thank you for everything Dad. I will miss seeing the Father’s Day gleam, but hope that mine is present and sparkling.