This Sunday will be the second Father’s Day since my dad died. Thus begging the tricky question of what to do on Father’s Day when you no longer have a father.
For some, I imagine that Father’s Day without a father is a reminder of the giant gaping hole in your life. The display of Hallmark cards, the inundation of emails entitled “Give Dad What He Really Wants!” and the heartrending TV ads of dads as our first loves and our heroes all feel like salt on wounds that have not healed, but have just been bandaged over.
For some, it is a day to just get through in one piece. For others, it is a day awash in jealousy as social media is flooded with grainy photographs and sentimental memories shared by friends. For others still, it is a day of quiet reflection punctuated by a surge of memories that come without provocation.
Although we put artificial timelines on grief, there is no magic wand that erases the sense of loneliness that washes over you when the person who knows you the best is gone. Grief, after all, is just a measure of the vastness of our love. Grief never really ends because love never ends.
As much as I thought I understood the eventuality of losing my dad — as much as I believed I knew how it would feel — I utterly failed to appreciate the enormity of losing a parent. It doesn’t matter whether it was sudden or expected, whether you are old or young, or how many years you had together — you are never prepared to be fatherless. Especially on a day devoted to fathers.
I suppose I could feel sorry for myself on Father’s Day. But instead, I’m going to celebrate the shit out of it…
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