When I began thinking about writing a piece about Father’s Day, I started from possibly the most obvious perspective that I could….from the place of being a daughter of a remarkable father.
My Dad’s name is Earl (That’s his picture below!)Scores of my best memories from childhood include my father. Every night for years he would tuck me in and make up bedtime stories about the little girl and the lion that were on my bedspread and window shade. We explored deep jungles and tall mountains, made friends with people who were different from me, and there was always a moral at the end of each story. I talk with my father almost every day and I do wonder what life is going to be like when I don’t have that ability. What will life be like when I no longer have my Dad to give me the moral end to my stories each day? Even though I work in the grief and loss field, the day I start that life is almost incomprehensible to me. Author Harlan Coben wrote, “This is the price you pay for having a great father. You get the wonder, the joy, the tender moments – and you get the tears at the end, too.”
Grief on Father’s Day is not always about the loss of a father. When a father experiences the death of a child, Father’s Day becomes a reminder of a role that has been forever changed. One father said, “When my infant son died, I thought of all that was lost. It wasn’t just the physical life of my son. My hopes and dreams for him were gone. When he was born I planned many Father’s Days of going to ball games and having BBQ’s. Part of me wants to avoid Father’s Day altogether but that feels like I am forgetting my son and that will never be something I could do. I am his father.”
Father’s Day is an excellent time to celebrate the fathers we love, cherish memories of fathers who have died, express gratitude to men who have been like fathers to us when our own fathers were unable to fulfill that role, and provide support to those who are trying to figure out how to be a father without their child. Fathers, whether good or not so good, make an indelible mark on our lives. Happy Father’s Day to all!