It’s the third Sunday in June, which means it’s Father’s Day. My head tells me it’s just another day on the calendar, but my heart reminds me that it isn’t- that no matter what I tell myself- today is different. Father’s Day is irrevocably different when your father is dead, and especially when you didn’t know your dad all that well. For me, Father’s Day isn’t merely a reminder of my dad’s absence; it’s a reminder of all the could have’s, of all the memories that should have been made. I can try to tell people how much my dad’s absence impacts me all I want, but I can never adequately explain to them what it feels like. More than anything, Father’s Day serves as a subtle reminder for me of all the memories that could have been made, of all the times that my dad should have been there, but wasn’t. I don’t have very many regrets in life, but I can say without a doubt that my biggest regret is the fact that I never got the chance to know my dad more, to be a more active part of his life. And Father’s Day is a reminder of that. It’s a reminder of my dad, yes. But it’s also a reminder of all the seemingly small aspects of my life that have been impacted because of one man’s absence. An example of this? I can no longer even go to the park without being reminded of my dad. I see kids and their dad’s enjoying nature and wonder why that can’t be me. It seems like a small thing, sure. But in my heart, it isn’t. In my heart, I see kids and their dads, and silently long for what they have- a dad.
I think it’s safe to say Father’s Day isn’t just another day for me. And chances are if you’ve lost a dad, it isn’t for you either.
Father’s Day without a dad can be hard, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be meaningful.
On this Father’s Day, I’m choosing to reflect on the good times, on the good memories I have of my dad.
This piece’s picture was the last picture I ever took with my dad, the last time I saw him alive.
I’m unsure of what was said then, but I’m confident that one of the last things I said to him was “I love you.”
And so I’ll end this piece with one of the last things I uttered to my dad.
“I love you.”