In the year of firsts, today was another one. The first Father’s Day without my dad.
I was not expecting to be passing this first so soon. In fact the last time I wrote about grief, I was talking about losing my mom only a few months before. But my dad, never fully bounced back after mom died, and he died as much from a broken heart as he did from his heart giving out only a few months ago, and only four and a half months after mom.
I still have not decided what the worst part of losing them both so close together is. Is it that the grief calendar got set back to zero and we have to process the sharp sense of loss from the beginning again? Is it the fact that all of the work to say goodbye and settle someone’s affairs is doubled? For real, calling everyone again to tell them I’ve lost another parent just plain sucks.
Is it the brutal sense of permanency? I lost my mom but I still had my dad, I could still call and visit and share a meal at their table, visit their favourite haunts with him. Losing both means it was all over, like turning a page and the rest old chapter is done.
But, here we are and you do what you have to. And today was my first Father’s Day without my dad, and I spent it at The cemetery visiting a grave so new the headstone isn’t there yet. How quickly the world changed.
I miss my dad, his presence, his kindness, his sweet tooth. I miss seeing him in his back yard puttering around, driving his four wheeler full of wood, and otherwise just doing the things he loved. I never saw him down, he seldom complained and I could count on one hand the number of times I’d seen him angry. And after he passed, every single person I ran into told me how much they genuinely liked him.
I’m grateful for those words and affirmations. It’s a rich man who leaves behind a legacy like that.
So tonight as I process my day, I’m less sad about his absence and more thankful for the dad he was to me. I wish I could have just one more day, one more drive, one more ice cream cone, but that’s the way it goes and wishing doesn’t change anything.