Well, here it is again – the 40th Father’s Day without you. As I write this, it feels like I am talking about someone else. You died when I was 21. I remember the first many Father’s Days without you, and they were horrible. The day was spent getting stoned or drunk, trying hard not to feel the agony that ran through every cell of my body. Seeing all the ads for Father’s Day was so agonizing.
For a few years, I just felt sorry for myself. You were my everything. We could sit in a restaurant for hours and talk about nothing. How was it possible that I would never get to do that again? I still needed my Daddy. I was so young and ill-equipped to deal with life without you. You always said I was daddy’s little girl, and suddenly that was gone.
Anger eventually set in. I was mad at you for smoking and not taking better care of yourself. You were buried on your 52nd birthday, weeks before Father’s Day. I was pissed because I didn’t know how to deal with Mom now that you were gone. She couldn’t handle the loss, and now I was somehow expected to be the adult. I was 21; how fair was that?
We didn’t have the perfect relationship… far from it. For years I made myself believe we did because sometimes reality hurt too much. My little fantasy world became very painful when Father’s Day rolled around, and you weren’t there. It felt like everyone raved about having the perfect dad, finding the perfect card, and spending the day together. I wouldn’t get to do any of that ever again. Never is a long time.
As I have gotten older, I’ve noticed that my reaction leading up to and on Father’s Day reflects my spiritual condition. There are times I envy those that still have their dads. There are people older than me that have had 60+ years of making memories and buying cards. Why did you have to die so young? Why couldn’t we have had a few more years together?
Sometimes I tell myself that everyone has the perfect dad and is so blessed to have someone to buy a card for. Every once in awhile I remember that there is no such thing as the perfect dad. The truth is that Facebook has made this day even harder for me. All those pictures posted remind me of what I don’t and never will have. I don’t even have old pictures to post.
Regardless of my feelings, the years (and lots of therapy) have taught me a lot. Most important, that you did the best you could. We all bring to our relationships things we were taught. You had been through so much and lost your dad at a young age, as well. My gratitude is that I know you loved me. Happy Father’s Day in heaven, Daddy.
Your little girl