I’m really not the biggest fan of Father’s Day. It’s actually one of my least favorite holidays that we observe.
Why? Because my dad died 10 years ago, and it was the hardest thing that I ever had to go through.
Before I go on, this isn’t easy to write. This is super tough. I have so many emotions connected to my dad, both good and bad. But authenticity matters. And processing things, for me, comes in the form of writing.
I described losing my dad yesterday morning as something more like losing a limb than having a scar. A scar heals from a cut and life can still (usually) go on as planned. Not so with losing a limb. You have to reprogram everything: your movements, your routines, your everyday patterns. Nothing stays the same.
My dad was a big dude, at least what I remember of him. In reality, he was a little taller than average, and was a large guy. He was firm and unwavering. But he was gentle at times. He had a soft side.
He had bad epilepsy, and was on heavy medicine that slowed down everything he did so that he wouldn’t have a seizure. So, he drank coffee, and a lot of it. When I say “a lot,” I mean at least 3 carafes on one of his off days.
I learned a lot from my dad, both good and bad. As you can tell from the picture above, he had facial hair so I clearly continued that legacy. He taught me the first thing I ever played on guitar. He taught me how to get mad. He taught me how to hit. He taught me how to drink black coffee, and actually enjoy it.
Our relationship was like any other relationship between a parent and an 11-year-old middle schooler. The last few months of his life, he and I were like oil and water. We fought, and hard. For no reason. The last conversation that we had on January 4th, 2005, which was a fight, was him telling me to make coffee for him when I was already running 10 minutes late for school, where I told him no and he got infuriated. So we fought for 10 minutes, longer than it took to make coffee. And I stormed out of the house, uttering the three worst words a parent wants to hear: “I hate you.”
And that’s the last thing I ever said to him. Four hours later, I found out he had had a heart attack in the bathroom, hit his head on the sink, and died.
That’s why Father’s Day is hard. Losing your dad is hard stuff, but the situation in which I lost my dad makes it that much harder.
I don’t know what your relationship with your dad is like. Maybe it is absolutely terrible and you can’t stand even thinking about him.
I don’t care. Get over it. Grow up, and man or woman up and repair that relationship. His days are numbered, just like yours. Don’t live with the same regrets I live with now.
What’s your favorite memory that you have of you and your dad?