I have two pictures of who my dad is. It is a classic before and after kind of thing. My dad was my champion, my bedtime story reader, a compass with which to direct my life, and the person whose opinion I often sought first. I never thought of him as Superman because I always thought his flaws made him better than that. However, my relationship with him was mostly filtered through my mom especially after I moved away from home. But, then, on July 5th, 2015, my mom died and that filter was gone. My dad and I had to figure out who we were together without my mom.

I speak to him almost every day now. Not for long, but enough to get the weather report and make sure things are “still ticking along” as he is known to say. He is as great as I always thought he was but I now know why Mom was often perturbed by him. He can be so frustrating, and ornery, and such a “pie in the sky” dreamer. Figuring this out has been lovely because I know my dad for who he really is now and I love him all the more for it. It has been tough without my mom but I do not believe I would trade this experience for anything…not even having my mom back.

Father’s Day means different things to different people. I have always been able to celebrate having a great Dad. Lots of others have not been that lucky so maybe Father’s Day triggers feelings of what might have been. The day may trigger feelings of loss for those whose fathers have died or for those whose role as father is now gone. It’s not always going to be the picture of a Hallmark commercial holiday. That’s ok. The important thing is to spend the day doing what is right and healthy for you.

To all the men out there who are Dads by birth or by choice, I hope you have a great day spent celebrating you. And, to my dad, thanks for being the beautifully flawed, giving, and loving dreamer that you are. I would not ask for anything different.” ~ Betsy Kammerud, LCSW, MVP-CSW, ACHP-SW

Kammerud_BetsyBetsy is a bereavement counselor with our Full Circle Center for Grief and Loss.  If you need help to dealing with grief, please reach us at 912.303.9442