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You Will Always Have a Father – A Reminder for Those Who Are Grieving on Father’s Day

How do you feel when you walk through a store with all those Father’s Day cards on display or when you watch TV commercials suggesting what to buy your dad this year? If your dad is still in your life as a living, breathing person, you probably don’t give them much thought. However, if you’re like me and your father has died, it can be hard to look at that stuff or even walk by it.

The other night, Dear Hubby and I were watching TV, and an ad about Father’s Day came on.

“What are you getting me for Father’s Day?” he asked. (This was an inside joke as we don’t give each other gifts on Father’s Day or Mother’s Day.)

“Nothing. I don’t have a father anymore,” I snapped. Clearly, I was feeling sorry for myself. (I’m allowed now and then, so are you.)

“That’s a terrible thing to say. Of course, you still have a father,” he said. “You will always have a father.”

Of course, he was/is right. I know my relationship with my dad is not over just because he is not here in the physical sense anymore. I know that. I knew it the other night too.

But damn it, I want my dad here. 

Sometimes I feel like I have no right to complain or wish for such a thing. I mean, there’s that hierarchy in grief too. My dad was almost 90 when he died. He was part of my life for a very long time. I am lucky and I know it. Some have been missing their dads for years, decades even. Dear Hubby is one of those people. His father died over 25 years ago.

But damn it, I want my dad here. 

The hole left in my life after my dad’s death is huge. As it is for my siblings, my kids and other family members as well. It always will be. There is no getting over such a loss. Not for me. There is adjusting and adapting, but there is no getting over it.

In the nearly two years since my dad’s death, there are so many things about him I miss. Every single day. Not just on Father’s Day. Some days I still feel quite lost. But this post isn’t about that feeling or those things I miss.

This post is a reminder for me and possibly for you too. Though my relationship with my dad is no longer what I want it to be, I still have one.

I will always have a father.

And you will too.

(But damn it, I still want my dad here.)

I miss you, Dad. Love you forever.

Now, tell me about you dad – or any other man who had an impact on your life.

And yes, I also invite you to share if your relationship with your dad is/was not a good one. Because as you know, I very much believe in keeping it real.

Happy Father’s Day to all the men (fathers or not) out there who love and nurture children!

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Describe your dad in three words. 


A Reminder for Those Who Are Grieving on Father's Day






Thursday 14th of June 2018

Hi Nancy,

Thanks so much for sharing this, it’s so comforting to get a reminder that we are never alone in our grief. I lost my dad to cancer four years ago in March. He was only 74. I thought I would have him for so much longer. I was shocked, so angry and utterly heartbroken. I am tearing up now as I write this. The grief is still so rA for me, so visceral. Sometimes I wonder if it’s normal to hurt this much. My father was my keystone. He was the most loving, passionate and dedicated father anyone could hope for. I was so very, very lucky to have him. I will miss him and mourn him every day of my life.


Thursday 14th of June 2018

Mim, That's why I share. It does help knowing others understand, doesn't it? I think it's completely normal to hurt after four years. Love and grief are interwoven, so it makes perfect sense. I'll miss and mourn my dad every day of my life too. Thank you for sharing. Now, you've helped me. So thank YOU. :)

Sandy H

Wednesday 13th of June 2018

My dad died in November of 1986 at the age of 83. I was 35 years old. My mother had died 3 years previously, at 61. I got the call from my sister at work (not unexpectedly), and when my husband and I came home, I took our dogs outside in the yard and just stood there for awhile. It was cold, windy, and rainy, and I felt an actual physical sensation of a hole being ripped from my heart area. I was now 35, with no living parents, and it felt so strange. All of my grandparents had died before I was born, so it was just me, my younger sister, and her 2 kids.

I grieved for him for at least a year. I remember walking around saying to myself (when my husband wasn't home): "My mother is dead. My father is dead. Both of my parents are dead." It felt unreal for many, many months.

What I loved about my dad was his unconventional approach to life. A naturalized German-American, he loved this country, yet recognized its shortcomings as well as those of his homeland. He didn't care what others' opinions were; he thought for himself and never followed the crowd. He preferred nature and solitude to casual socializing with people who didn't "get" him, and I am the same way.

The words that describe him are: animal-lover, kayaker, reader/thinker. Oddly enough, the same words describe me. I once read somewhere that 15% of women take their father as their mentor and role-model. I'm one of them. He was sometimes too strict, and sometimes even harsh, but I dearly love and respect his memory.


Thursday 14th of June 2018

Sandy, I felt a similar physical sensation upon hearing the news about my mother's dad. Eerie. I think it's a very odd and lonely feeling when it hits you that both your parents are dead, so I totally relate to your words. Sometimes I still can't believe it. Have you read the book, "The Orphaned Adult"? or the one I mentioned in my recent post, "It's OK That You're Not OK? Both are good reads. It's interesting that the words you chose to describe your dad are the ones you'd also use to describe yourself. I think that's lovely. Thank you for sharing about him and the the special relationship you clearly had with him.

Beth Gainer

Wednesday 13th of June 2018

Hi Nancy,

As you know, I lost my dad in March. There will be a lot of firsts without him, such as the first Father's Day. Three words/phrases to describe my dad are: generous, accomplished ballroom dancer, survivor.


Thursday 14th of June 2018

Beth, Your loss is so fresh. I'm so sorry. Yes, all the firsts are hard. But so are the seconds, I'm finding. I'm not sure things ever get easier, but my memories always comfort me. I hope yours do the same for you. You'll be in my thoughts on Sunday and beyond. Thank you for sharing three phrases/words about your wonderful dad, Beth. xo


Wednesday 13th of June 2018

Thanks Nancy for this - I just lost my precious father on June 1 and have been struggling with upcoming Fathers Day. I know I need to celebrate my childrens father, but I think it will all be just too much to take. My dad was a steady, quiet, godly man who loved my mother and his 4 children. I don't recall a harsh word between them the 66 years they enjoyed together. But he leaves such a huge hole for those who knew and loved him. My mother is lost without him and I am joining her in staying busy sorting thru all the usual "death paperwork".


Thursday 14th of June 2018

Kathy, Oh my goodness, your father's death is so very recent. I am so sorry. Of course, you are struggling with the upcoming Father's Day. How could you not be? Be kind to yourself - I'm sure everyone will understand if you don't feel like celebrating at all. Your dad sounds like a wonderful man. What an adjustment for your mother, for you, for all of you. I'll be thinking about you on Sunday. My sincere condolences. Thank you for sharing.

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