Last Friday marked five months since I lost my dad. I spent a good part of the weekend wondering what I would be doing this weekend if dad were still here. A barbecue, perhaps hanging out at home, or trying to force dad to eat some random dessert I made. Or maybe I’d be asking him for help finding a house or fixing the dent in my car.
I came to the stunning realization not too long ago that I’ll never get to hug him again. You may think this is coming a bit late, considering I knew I wouldn’t get to hug him again the moment I knew he was gone, but you’d be wrong. My memories and realizations are coming in waves. Some more drastic than others. Sometimes without warning, and sometimes they pile up until I feel like I can’t take it any more.
Watching TV, which is usually an escape, can trigger emotions I don’t want to deal with. Watching a commercial about a grandfather reading to his grandson makes me realize my future children will never get to hear my dad’s voice, sit on his lap, or hear his funny stories. I use to dream about my dad babysitting my future children, playing with them and spoiling them rotten, and it hurts to know that I’m wrong about that part of my future.
On Friday, the five month mark, I bought a Father’s Day card my dad will never get to open, exactly what I would’ve bought him if he were still here. I’ve written a message to him very similar to this one, about how much I miss him and wish I could talk to him again, even though I know he can’t answer me.
I want to ask my dad how I fix a broken garbage disposal, what type of home loan to get, how to look for a house to buy, what size wrench I need to fix my table, and all these other questions I would usually ask him. Sometimes I find myself reaching for the phone, about to dial my parent’s home phone number and stop, knowing he can’t answer the phone. I still have his work phone and cell phone numbers listed in my phone. I don’t have the heart to delete them. They’re a reminder to myself that maybe, just maybe, I could talk to him again if I really wanted to.
But I know that’s not true.
I wish he knew how much I love my new job, how great my new coworkers are,how much I adore my sister and mom, and how awesome the friends are I’ve met through blogging. I wish he could see how great Joe and I are together, I wish he could attend my brother’s wedding and I wish he could meet my sister’ boyfriend. I wish he knew how much I missed him.
I don’t know what I was trying to accomplish by writing this. Maybe I’m afraid I’m going to forget him, although I know that not true. I think I just wanted to talk about how much I miss him and how awesome he really was.
This Father’s Day, I’m celebrating the things I remember most about him: his laugh, his devotion to family, his sense of humor, his hugs and his awesome personality.
Dad was the kind of man who you were just in awe of. He had the worst situations thrown at him, even as a young child, and any other person would’ve faltered under the pressure of the situation. But not my dad. He took the bad parts of his life and turned them into something good, even if it took him a while to do so.
He loved to make me, my sister and my brother laugh. He had his voices that he’d do, or he’d cock his head, look at me and say, “that’s what you’re wearing?” in a monotone, deadpan voice. I’d freak out and change, while my sister laughed, knowing dad was just doing it to annoy me.
I inherited his laugh. When he thought something was really, really funny, he’d howl, stomp his feet or clap his hands. Watching TV with him was very hard if you wanted to be able to hear the show. I don’t stomp my feet, but I laugh just like he does, and if I’m too loud, Joe will call me “Bill” to get me to calm down.
I remember how he had house shoes, house shirts and house pants. He also had work shoes, work shirts and work pants. They all had to be polished, pressed and folded PRECISELY, no matter if he was going to wear them to mow the lawn or go to work. He insisted on looking his best for the bugs that would attack him. Sometimes he’d throw on a hot pink baseball cap just because it was funny.
There are experiences I’ve had with my dad that my siblings won’t get, and sometimes it makes me feel guilty. He walked me down the aisle at my wedding, got to dance with me and celebrate that day with me. And here I am, less than a week away from my brother’s wedding, realizing that dad won’t be there. And it kills me that my brother doesn’t get that experience.
But, as my sister will remind me, she and my brother had experiences with dad that I’ll never have. So we each have our own set of memories with dad.
When you’re celebrating with your dad this weekend, give him an extra hug, just for me, because that’s one thing I miss the most.