Ghosts of Father’s Day at Our Little House
Sunday is Father’s Day, a day to celebrate our dads and thank them for being a part of our lives.
For the better part of my life, 30 years on July 21, Father’s Day has always been a constant reminder that my dad was no longer able to be a part of mine.
The years have passed and of course, that raw and constant heart stabbing grief moves to a dull ache in the background ready to sneak up on me at different times.
I posted on my Facebook page on June 10 that I had been feeling rather low that week and when I looked at the calendar I realized that day would have been my dad’s 88th birthday. Of course, then I remembered that this year would also mark the 30th anniversary of his death.
I’ve tried to imagine him an old man, as he was only 58 when he died suddenly of a heart attack.
And a million times, I’ve tried to imagine what it would have been like to have him at my high school graduation, walking me down the aisle at my wedding, bantering with our two girls. What he would have said to me when I was the first in our family to graduate from college and the Sunday BBQs we missed.
Dale was also close to my father and when he has started a difficult project at home, he’s often wondered what it would have been like to have Dad around to help.
When I posted on Facebook about the sudden realization that connected my sadness with my dad’s birthday, there were more than 20 comments, all from women who also missed their fathers terribly, no matter how long it had been since they lost them.
Two of our Living Large community posted comments that really hit home.
Rhonda Mock wrote, “A man should never, ever, underestimate the emotional power he has over his daughter.”
Kathleen Winn, who lost her father 5 years ago, wrote about her husband’s experience of losing his father when he was just 14. “I miss the father I had, David misses the father he didn’t have.”
Several years before she died, my mother started a tradition on Mother’s Day, giving me a card and small gift for being her daughter.
So, this Father’s Day, I’m giving myself the gift here at Our Little House of trying not to miss the father I didn’t have all of these years while still celebrating the emotional impact my dad has had on my life and will always have in my heart.
I look around Our Little House and see reminders that although I didn’t have his physical presence, he is still with us – Our Little House itself wouldn’t be if it weren’t for the seed money from the home my dad worked for all of his life.
I still see the splatters of green paint on a concrete yard ornament from when Dad painted the Little Bungalow from gray to green nearly 4 decades ago. A lamp he bought for my mother on one of their many Sunday antique auction excursions lights a path over all of the dogs until we can get settled into bed at night.
And a portrait of a beautiful feather spirit ascending to the sky, painted by a Native American artist who was a friend of the family, and given to my mother in memory of my dad, watches over me while I work in The Belle Writer’s Studio
Even when Dale worked on the Baby Blazer last weekend, he said it was some sort of a wench device that belonged to my father that helped him get it apart so he can put new fenders on it. “I finally had him helping me with a project,” he proclaimed.
In no other place I’ve lived in my adult life have I ever felt the presence of my dad so strongly as I do here at Our Little House. Another way we are certainly Living Large.
Happy Father’s Day to all of our community who are dads, but to also to all of our community who can only celebrate the memories of our fathers.
Is your father still with you physically or do you rely on the memories of his spirit?