Another Bittersweet Father’s Day

Sunday marks my third Father’s Day without my dad, and I’m here to tell you it doesn’t get any easier. Time doesn’t heal all wounds.

My dad passed quietly on the very last day of the year in 2008 after a three-year battle with cancer.

His doctor said he smoked too much, though he’d quit decades before; drank too much, though he’d quit that, too, years before his diagnosis and the start of chemo and radiation.

Other “experts” would say Daddy didn’t eat right (he had a sweet tooth, okay, but nobody should have to die for that!), and he didn’t exercise enough (though he practically lived on the tennis courts when we kids were growing up).

But yes, he passed too soon.

He never got the opportunity to see his last grandchild (my son) graduate from high school; never got to see his other grand-kids graduate from college; never got to see his wife re-learn to drive or handle the finances; never got to see the new landscaping around the house.

Daddy and Mama on their Wedding Day

He left before I could soak up his knowledge of running a business and apply it to my own. Before I could ask him to beta-read my novel and see if it’s publication-worthy. Before I could ask his advice about so many things.

I won’t be picking out a Father’s Day card for him this year nor will I plan a special outing. I won’t be grilling or fishing or playing board games or a thousand and one other things Daddy would have enjoyed doing.

But neither will I sit around mourning. Daddy wouldn’t have wanted it.

He loved to laugh and tell jokes and stories; he loved to see his family happy and healthy and active.

He didn’t particularly like tears, especially on the faces of his wife and daughters.

So while a big part of me weeps, the greater part of me rejoices. Daddy no longer lives here; he’s been “promoted” to a new and better place.

A place where there’s no more sadness. No more tears. No more pain. No more heartache.

I’m confident I’ll see him again, too. And this time, I won’t roll my eyes and say I’ve “heard that story before.” I’ll listen to his soft Southern drawl, savoring every word, every moment, and I’ll look into his blue eyes and remind him how proud I am of him and how very much I love him.

Love you and miss you, Daddy.

8 thoughts on “Another Bittersweet Father’s Day

  1. Oh, Debbie, my tears flowed as you eloquently spoke of missing your Dad on Father’s Day.I love the loving glimpse of him that you gave. As you know this is my very first one without my sweet Dad and I can relate to everything you have said. It is so true, focusing on all the many positives and how blessed we have been does ease the pain. I miss my Dad’s quiet strength, his voice of reason, his chuckles but I know he is in a better place,too, where there is no pain or suffering. And I also know that he does not want us to weep as this saying on his memory card reminds us :”Grieve not..nor speak of me with tears…but laugh and talk of me…as though I were beside you. I loved you so…twas Heaven here with you.”

    Thank you for sharing Debbie and for allowing me to do the same.

    Blessings and Hugs,

    • Kathy, you have my empathy on this being your first Father’s Day without your dear dad. All the hoopla (electronics and tools sales, grilling commercials, and even people asking if you have special plans for the day) only add to the emptiness. But chin up — our dads are no longer suffering and they’re probably celebrating in Heaven!

  2. Okay, you two. Group hug.
    This is my Dad’s third also. Debbie, my dad died about 6 months before yours. I have adapted to our loss, although when I stop running around like a bat out of you know where, and something hits me, like this post, or listening to Rainbow by Jia Peng Fang, and I’m toast. Kathy, I know your pain is especially raw, and I am sorry.
    At least we have each other.

    • Friends and family ARE such a comfort, Lynne! Thanks for the lovely video — now where’s that Kleenex box?? You’ve got me all bleary-eyed again!

  3. I don’t have a tissue – and I need one. I’m sorry for your loss, which is ever-so-present on a day like Father’s Day. My dad is still with us, but I worry about him because he has emphysema and still smokes cigarettes.

    Your last paragraph was especially sad because I think we often take things for granted (like dad’s stories) and don’t appreciate them until they are no longer there. Hang in there…

    • Thanks, Janna. Hey, I don’t want to add to your worries, but my dad had esophageal cancer (caused, in part, the doctors say, by cigarette smoking). So if you can convince your dad to quit, maybe you can keep him around longer, okay? Daddy quit cold turkey a long time ago, but I guess the damage was already done. Give your dad a big hug for those of us who can’t hug our dads!

  4. For sure dying and grief sucks…no way around but I bet you can still hear that Southern drawl in your mind, and I bet the moments when you see your dad in his last grandchild take your breath away. In the end it seems like it comes down to the memories, the stories, the moments and I am so glad you have wonderful one’s!

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