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Sunday, 16 June 2013

Father's Day -- The Time We Have is Limited

Dad holding me a couple of days after I was born.

Today is Father's Day. It's the day we take our fathers and grandfathers (as well as the men we think of as dad) out for the day, out for dinner and give them a set of new tools or a gift card for their favourite store. But what happens if you can no longer celebrate Father's Day?

My father passed away on July 30th, 2009. I was there when he went and upon seeing everyone else in the room (all seven of them) crying, decided I had to be the strong one and kept my tears at bay. I kept them at bay as I read the eulogy at his funeral a week later and they remained at bay until Christmas when it hit me that I would spending it without him. Everyone told me that the first Christmas without him would be hard, but no one ever told me about the first Father's Day without him.

Father's Day 2010 my mother and I went to Swiss Chalet for dinner before going to our legion for an evening of karaoke. While we were sitting there eating, I watched family after family come in, every one of them taking a father out for dinner. Some of those fathers were in their 70s, others were in their early 30s with young children and I knew the fathers were paying for their own meal. I suddenly felt extremely out of place sitting there with a parent missing. It was strange being out on Father's Day without my father. It still is.

Well, it's no longer strange, but every year I am reminded of what I have lost. My dad was the build a snowman and have a snowball fight with dad, the act silly with dad, the make up lyrics to songs with dad. But he was also the dad who would bail you out, even if it meant picking you up downtown at 3am because you were out at a club too late. (He didn’t complain either. He was more concerned with my wellbeing than how late I was out.) That was the dad I was blessed to have for 21 years. He was 66 when he passed and 29 days shy of celebrating his 28th wedding anniversary with my mother.

The father-daughter dance at weddings are difficult for me to watch because I know I will never get to do that when I get married. I won’t have a father to walk me down the aisle. My future husband won’t have a father-in-law or someone to ask if he can ask me to marry him. My children won’t have a grandfather and in this case, history will repeat itself. I never had a grandfather either. It’s a domino effect.

Fathers are very special people and deserve all of the love you can possibly give them. Mine was taken from me far too young – for him and me. 66 is too young an age to pass away at and 21 is too young an age to lose a parent at, but cancer knows nothing of age nor does it care.

Give your fathers tight hugs, new power tools, gift cards to their favourite stores, but most of all give them your time and your thanks. The time we have with them is limited and one day it may be too late to simply say, "Thanks for being my dad."