Yesterday was hard. Really hard. Life is so unfair and the universe doesn’t play favorites. I tried multiple times to write this blog because I thought writing would be therapeutic, but I gave up every time I started. I was too upset and honestly couldn’t even think clearly. Every year since my Dad died, I always get sad on the days leading up to the anniversary of his death, and the days leading up to Father’s Day and his birthday. I try to remain positive and think about all the wonderful memories, but sometimes the pain is just too much. The special holidays are always hard, but it’s also
However, this particular Father’s Day was a very different one for me. I felt so much more pain than usual. First of all, it was my first Father’s Day divorced, and my first Father’s Day not being around my children. You see, my children have always been a bright light for me when it comes to death. They were all so little when my Dad died, that as much as I wanted to run away and escape to grieve, I didn’t get to. I had a baby who was attached to me breastfeeding, and a 4 and 6 year old with so much pain themselves and countless questions. But, what I have realized over the last 4 years is that my daughters have given me more love, snuggles, flowers, pictures and comfort than I knew I needed. Until I didn’t have it yesterday on one of the days I needed it the most, I didn’t realize how much children can help with grief. They were of course with their Dad, but I selfishly wanted hugs from their little arms.
I realized yesterday morning when I woke up and was alone, that I felt more alone than I have in a very long time. I usually kept myself busy on Father’s Day, planning family outings, swimming, biking, and playing with my kids. This year, I didn’t have any plans until later in the day and I cried all morning and afternoon. I was in a very dark place and couldn’t quite snap out of it. I even tried to do my favorite things, things that I knew my Dad would love doing too. I tried going for a run, being outdoors and swimming in my pool. I even cleaned my entire apartment. But I still couldn’t escape the unbearable sadness and pain. It hurt so bad.
I looked through my box yesterday where I keep all sorts of special cards and pictures and things pertaining to my Dad. I found a copy of something I wrote down for a book my sister and I made for Dad on his last Father’s Day alive. We all wrote down our 5 favorite things that we loved about Pa:
My Sister and I use to always nominate our Dad in the local newspaper contest for “Father of the Year.” What I wrote when I was 11 years old, couldn’t be more true or accurate to the man he was as a Father and a Grandfather up until the day he died:
When I was finally able to somewhat compose myself yesterday, I did a lot of thinking. I hate being in such a dark, sad place when I have so much to be thankful and grateful for. While I will always be grieving my Father, I am also going to always be celebrating him. My Dad deserves to be treasured and celebrated in every possible way. My parents made me the person I am today and for that I will forever be grateful. Not only was my Dad the best man I’ve ever known, but he was my #1 fan and supporter. He believed in me with his whole heart and supported me in every single little thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. He never missed a thing and he was always there. It was the greatest gift he ever gave me. His time.
It might take me time, but I always try to see the good in a situation. My Dad always did. So, after over 24 hours of a lot of thought processing, here are my final thoughts surrounding Father’s Day 2021:
My children have an amazing Father and I couldn’t be more proud of my ex-husband as a Dad. I know that every time my girls are with him, they are getting love, attention and hands-on play time with Marcus. I’m so proud of the Dad he is and I know my Dad would be so proud too. Marcus has helped my daughters keep Pa’s legacy alive and I will always be so appreciative of that. I am so grateful for him always.
My Dad’s legacy lives on in so many people. My beautiful Mother and Sister, and all 4 of his granddaughters. I see parts of him every single day in all of them. But, it doesn’t just live on in his family. It lives on in everyone whose life he touched. My Dad touched so many different lives in so many different ways. I am still continuing to hear stories, and that is such a special gift.
The dictionary definition of a person’s legacy is: a gift or a bequest, that is handed down, endowed or conveyed from one person to another. It is something descendible one comes into possession of that is transmitted, inherited or received from a predecessor.
Almost a year ago, the universe graced me with the presence of a person who has now become an integral part of my every day life. It’s been an unexplainable realization, but I see parts of my Dad all the time in my boyfriend, Douglas. He’s told me before he can feel my Dad’s presence even though he never had the pleasure of knowing him. There have been so many similarities in characteristics, traits and little moments that I just know my Dad still has a hand in making magic happen when it comes to my happiness and my life.
I was truly happy that I was able to celebrate Douglas yesterday for Father’s Day. He’s one of the best Dads I know and it’s been incredible getting to see him in his role of a Father. He’s raised his own son who just graduated from High School last month, and he is a father figure and role model to so many other children in his life.
It’s been an absolute joy getting to see him interact with my daughters and do so many little things with them. While they may seem like ordinary, simple things, he makes them special and is so attentive every time he is around them. I’ve seen him read, draw, play football and soccer, take pictures with, swim, garden and give advice to all 3 of my daughters.
When it comes to divorce and co-parenting and having other adults in your children’s lives, all I can hope for is that they are positive, strong role models. Douglas has been exactly that for my children and it is an honor to celebrate him as a Dad not just on Father’s Day, but every day. The special people in your life should be celebrated every single day. Douglas has taught me to celebrate every day and to not take little, mundane moments for granted. They will end up being what people remember the most when you’re gone.
For the people who reached out yesterday to tell me they were thinking of me, praying for me and sending me love and strength, your messages and thoughts meant more than you will ever know. Thank you.
To anyone else struggling with loss and grief, just know that I am here for you and I understand. I saw this and it really spoke to me: