I don’t have a dad.
Well, I did. But he died.
This will be the fourth year that my dad isn’t alive and despite what the greeting cards and strangers tell me, no it does not get better.
It still fucking hurts.
As cliche as it may sound, every Father’s Day since his death has been like a jabbing pain to my heart; a reminder that I can’t bring him back to have one last phone call to catch him up on meaningless events in my life or to even tell him about his Grandsons– who he never had a chance to meet.
Being without a dad on Father’s Day is feeling like a little kid again left abandoned on the school playground. Alone. I was too young for my dad to die, I still needed him; I felt like the world gave me two giant middle fingers and then tossed me into the waters of survival. Fuck you, learn how to swim on your own.
And then it stings. When Father’s Day approaches and I remember his last one alive. I didn’t call. I didn’t visit. Shit…I didn’t even send a crappy two ninety-nine greeting card with some corny phrase of a dog with a top-hat and cigar. Nothing.
Trust me. I would give so much to relive that day. To do better. Say something. Even an I love you. I took him for granted and for that, I’m forever guilty of never expressing how much I really did love him.
So don’t be like me. Please, don’t be like me. One day you will be in my position and wish that you would have called sooner, visited more, and forgiven quicker. One day, you will be in the position of not having your dad here and then you’ll be counting on your fingers and toes how many times you could’ve made it all better with one damn phone call. Don’t let your foolish pride get in the way…one day, you will wish you did it sooner.
Now…..I still struggle. I can’t say that the time or the years of healing actually heal anything. I still cry on his birthday, the day he died, and yes, on Father’s Day. Every year. And it may be that way for the rest of my life or I may get to a point where I silently weep for the dad I didn’t get to have a little longer; whatever it may be, I will still talk about him and remember the kick-ass times we had. Fishing. Kicking the soccer ball around. Driving his old Ford pickup down country roads. Hearing him drone on about solid life advice while I internally rolled my eyes. I miss it all. I’m glad I remember it.
So you. Kid with the gritty attitude. Girl with the smart-ass remarks. Boy that’s too cool for anyone but his friends. Sit down with your old man this Father’s Day and listen to that cheesy joke and talk to him about your life. He cares. He’ll be glad you did it.
And if nothing else, call him. Someday, you’ll be glad you did it.