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Father’s Day for the Fatherless

fatherlessThe last time I celebrated Father’s Day, I was 10 years old. You could argue that I have recently celebrated it with my father-in-law and my husband. The reality is it’s not the same, no matter what anyone says. Society puts a lot of weight on Mother’s Day and people who have lost their mothers, but for those of us who are fatherless, we just grin and bear the day.

Even though many years have passed since my dad died, it honestly it doesn’t get easier. This year will be my 29th Father’s Day without him. I decided to write him the letter I wish I could personally read him.

Dear Papa, 

There’s isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of you. When I wake up every morning and see your face on the wall, your handsome smile wishes me hello. One of my earliest memories is drinking coffee with you. As my coffee brews, the smell is like a warm hug from you. You were one of the hardest working people I knew. Your dedication instilled in me to have great pride in my work.

My husband has components of you, including your gregarious nature and love of playing lotto. While I regret you not being able to dance with me at my wedding or knowing my husband, my saddest moments were when my boys were born. My oldest has your glorious thick hair and social graces. My youngest has your trickster personality and a stubborn streak that only you could beat. 

I do my best to keep your memory alive by telling my boys stories about you, good and bad. (They love hearing how you were a naughty boy who stole a pair of shoes, but that ended up backfiring because you ended up with two different shoes). We read The Invisible String and talk about tugging on the string when we feel lonely or sad because we can’t hug you in real life. Since they were born, my children have visited you at the cemetery, and I’ve done my best to make it an experience full of love.  They know you are their guardian angel and protect them, as you protect me. 

You were the first man I ever loved. Through our relationship, though it was short, I learned how to enjoy life, no matter what it throws at me. I will always treasure our special father-daughter times, especially our trip to Italy to visit family. The doll you brought me on the final day is still in my basement. It has moved with me more times than I can count.  You also bought me my first pair of glasses. I remember how you let me pick any pair I wanted…and I remember how mad mom was when she saw the bill! While we never had a lot of money, you always spoiled me and made me feel safe. 

I would give anything to hug you again and tell you I love you once more. On days when life is too much, and I miss you more than my heart can take, I pull on my invisible string, hug my boys a little tighter and buy a scratch-off ticket in your honor. (Winning tickets are your hug back; I just know it).

Love you to the moon and back dad.

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