For those of us who have lost our dad, Father’s Day stirs many emotions. The holiday makes us think of happy times, sad times, scary times, and peaceful times. It brings to mind the way we feel when we catch a whiff of tobacco smoke mixed with English Leather or we hear a Judy Garland song. It calls up memories of a day at ballpark or driving across country or a simple excursion to the beach. No matter what memory or emotion Father’s Day invokes, it brings to mind “the man.” The guy who taught you stuff, told you stories, and perhaps set the entire tone for your childhood.
To help commemorate the day when we say thank you to fathers everywhere, we found several articles that are both heartwarming and heartbreaking. We think now is a good time to share these articles again. If your dad is no longer with you, then you will no doubt identify with the authors. If you are lucky enough to still have your dad, they will remind you to make the most of the time you have together.
We invite you to share your own Father’s Day memory in the comments. And if you are a dad, Happy Father’s Day!
Dad said when you’re gone, you’re gone. He was wrong. by Rex Huppe
My father was never what you’d call a people person.
He preferred being on his own, puttering around his workshop or relaxing in the recliner, pondering the world’s mysteries and searching for ideas no one else had considered.
When I went home to visit, we would spend time together, but he would eventually drift off to be alone with his thoughts. I didn’t take it personally. It was just Dad being Dad.
As I sat in a hospital room in Braselton, Ga., last week, holding his hand and knowing he was slipping away, I had a thought that made me laugh: Dad wasn’t so much dying as he was committing the ultimate act of reclusiveness.
When your father dies, these words come to mind. by Mary Schmich
When your father dies.
Let the phrase settle for a moment. What words do you hear next?
For anyone whose father has died, finishing the sentence is apt to be easier than reciting the alphabet.
“When your father dies” is the opening phrase of one of my favorite poems, “Shifting the Sun,” and it came to mind recently after a colleague’s father died, just before Father’s Day. It begins:
When your father dies, say the Irish
You lose your umbrella against bad weather.
In the next few verses, the poem, by Diana Der-Hovanessian, recounts how different cultures frame what’s lost when your father’s gone for good.
My parents are gone — but together — on Christmas Eve anniversary. by Mitch Albom
Today is Christmas Eve. I need to make a phone call.
I have been doing it my entire adult life. The message is always the same: “Happy Anniversary. I love you both.”
Sixty-seven years ago today, my mother and father got married in a Brooklyn restaurant. Christmas Eve was the only night they could afford. The owner gave them a deal.
And they sealed their own.
Christmas Eve. I need to make a phone call.
But I can’t.
What No One Tells You About Losing Your Father. by Cristy Dougherty
The first thing that someone texted me when my father died was, “welcome to the club, it is the worst club to be in.” I sat down and really attempting to figure the motivations behind that message, other than the fact that we both had lost a family member.
I didn’t think, wow, they must really know what I am going through, or I really feel like there is solidarity between us. In a culture that teaches us that texts, words of affirmation, gift cards, money and flowers are appropriate responses to death, I really should have felt grateful, but I felt angry that one would assume that anyone would feel the same way I was feeling in that very moment.