This will be my first Father’s Day without a father. As I sat down to write this post, I really had no idea what I was going to say, much less how to say it. I felt at a loss for words. What was I supposed to write about as this day, my first Father’s Day without a father approached?
What could I possibly say to help someone else who is missing her/his dad not just today, but every day?
At first I wasn’t going to even attempt a Father’s Day post at all. Not this year. It felt too hard. Undoable even. At the same time, I had to write one. How could I not acknowledge this day, this year, this loss, this grief?
Grief is hard. Writing is hard. So it only makes sense that writing about grief is hard, too.
Yes, Father’s Day this year will be hard, but then again, it won’t be, or rather it won’t be much harder than the Saturday before it or the Monday that comes after it. In a way, every day is Father’s Day now, a day to remember the dad I had and the dad I now miss.
When you’re limping along through grief, there aren’t necessarily stand-out days of grief, at least not so much for me.
More often, it’s the ordinary moments and days that are hardest.
It’s the little things, the big things and the in-between things. It’s all of it.
Sometimes I think it would be easier to not have had such a wonderful dad for as many years as I did. Sometimes I think fewer memories would make grieving easier now.
When I start having thoughts like this, the next one that generally follows is something like, Nancy what a completely ridiculous thing to think, much less say or write.
My dad died early in the morning on a stormy Saturday in late July. (He was alone, a fact that saddens me, though I’m pretty sure it was what he preferred. At some point, I will share about that).
Now any rainy Saturday morning is, in a sense, a grief anniversary. A reminder.
In fact, any ordinary happening on any ordinary day often is as well. Every memory about my dad is a reminder.
Every reminder brings with it another visit to loss and pain.
But every reminder is also a visit to love. And love is always worth the pain that often comes with it.
This Father’s Day, I will remember my dad, but I do that every single day on the calendar. As others have said, grief is the calendar. You might think this is a very sad thing to say, and in a way, I suppose it is. But not to me. For me, this truth is lovely and comforting, because tremendous grief means there was also tremendous love.
If you are missing your father (or someone else) this Father’s Day, whether it’s your first Father’s Day without him or your umpteenth, please know you are not alone.
And perhaps more importantly, when you are missing your dear one on the Monday after, or on any ordinary moment on any day of the week for some mundane reason, you’re not alone then either. I hope knowing this helps you just a bit.
Grief is part of what unites us all. And love. Grief and love.
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads and all the men, dads or not, who love and nurture children.
Miss you, Dad.
Love you forever.