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A Father’s Day without Dad :: How I’m Dealing with the Loss of My Dad this Holiday

Most daddy´s girls are very familiar with that sudden urge we get to call our dad. You know, that random thought that just pops into your mind; the one you can’t ignore and, honestly, you don’t want to. We think of our dad and we can’t help but wonder what he’s up to. So despite the fact that maybe you just got home from work, or you might have a million other things to do, you call out:  “Hey Siri, call Dad!” For me, that’s when it hits: the unbearable pain that comes with the terrible realization that my dad can’t answer the phone; because my dad is no longer here.

father's day

Father’s Day is coming up and it will be just a day shy of the four-month anniversary of my dad’s passing. This holiday will be extremely difficult; there’s no pretending it won’t be, no being strong in the moment for me. I am already a big mess of tears, screams, shudders, and snot. Some days, I can’t even make it out of the car when I get home, because my daddy isn’t there and the reality of that comes crashing in all around me, hard. I won’t be able to wish him a happy Father’s Day. I won’t hear his voice. I won’t get the usual sarcastic text or his sweet, emotional Facebook comments. My dad won’t be here on Father’s Day.

Through this panic attack, I can hear the grief counselor in my head telling me that it’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to hurt, to be sad, to be jealous, or to even sometimes be okay. Everyone has a different reaction because grief is unique to every single person who experiences it, and it is constantly changing. Slowly, I take out my phone to look at his picture, to read the screenshots of Facebook posts and old text messages. I begin to calm down and truly think and process a bit. I realize that I can wish him a happy Father’s Day. I can buy him those St. Louis Cardinals sunglasses – I can wear them in his honor. And I can cherish the blessings and memories of having such a wonderful father-daughter relationship.

There’s a song that has been playing on the radio a lot lately by Rend Collective, and the lyrics say, “I am counting every blessing, counting every blessing, letting go, and trusting what I cannot see.” My dad would want me to count these memories I have of him as blessings, because they are so good. Usually, I am the strong friend, the strong sister who can handle it all, who finds the silver lining in everything. He would want me to continue being that person and to continue on with my life: goals, school, family, and friends. And because I know that, sometimes the grief does get pushed to the back of my mind.

So this Father’s Day, I am choosing not to cry as much. Instead, I am going to write about him. I’m going to look at his pictures. I’m going to wish him a happy Father’s Day, and I’m going to buy him a gift. I am choosing to keep his memories alive. I am choosing to smile and to be genuinely happy because of what I was gifted: an amazing relationship with my amazing dad.

I will still feel sad when I see something that reminds me of him. It will still be hard not hearing his voice this Father’s Day – or any other day for that matter. Our first Father’s Day without him will undoubtedly feel incomplete; however, I will choose to hold my children and reminisce about all the good that came from him, just the way I know he would want me to. 

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