It’s only when you grow up and step back from him―or leave him for your own home―it’s only
then that you can measure his greatness and fully appreciate it. – Margaret Truman
Happy Father’s Day!
Whether your kids are human or furry, enjoy your special day!
Father’s Day can be a bittersweet day for those of us whose fathers are no longer with us. Depending on how fresh your loss is, even seeing Father’s Day card pop up in stores, and getting countless emails with Father’s Day gift suggestions, may bring sadness and even tears.
My father died ten years ago. While our relationship was complicated at times, I always knew that he loved me, and I have lots of wonderful memories of him. His life was shaped to a great extent by his experiences during World War II in Germany, and as a result of experiencing so much loss at such a young age, he held those he loved close to him – at times, too close for a daughter who wanted to spread her wings and fly from the nest.
My dad was not a cat lover. He liked animals, but he never made a real connection with them. I think he was a little puzzled by my love of and obsession with cats. I often wish that he could have known how the love of a small cat can transform a life – maybe it would have made his early life experiences a little more bearable.
Rather than focusing on the sadness that my dad is no longer a part of my life, I try to mark the holiday in ways that help me remember who he was. For me, that means spending time in nature. My favorite memories of my dad involve long walks we took together in the woods near our home. He knew the name of every tree, flower and animal we came across on those walks. Even today, I find myself walking through my neighborhood thinking “Dad would know the name of this flower” – and in those moments, it feels like he’s right there with me.
There are other ways you can honor your father’s memory:
- Write a Father’s Day card to him and list all the things you loved and appreciated about him.
- Cook your father’s favorite foods for your family or friends.
- Donate to a charity your father supported
- Go through old pictures to relive some of your good memories
This Father’s Day, I’ll be taking a long walk somewhere in nature, and then I’ll be spending time with Allegra and Ruby, who always make me feel better, no matter how sad I may be about not having my dad in my life anymore. My dad had a long, sometimes difficult, but ultimately good life, and while I’ll always miss his physical presence in my life, I also know that his spirit is never far from me.
If you still have your father, tell him that you love him today. If you are a father, enjoy your special day!
Photo by Maggie Osterberg, Flickr Creative Commons