Moving Through the Sting of Father’s Day by Celebrating

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He was one of a kind.
His love was never questioned:
steady and strong; always present in our lives.

Today, I gaze at this photo. While the physical contrast is stark, Dad’s young and spry former self-being a far cry from the man who could barely move without support at the end of his life, it captures his endless love for my brother and me. A love he carried forward to the next generation to his grandchildren.

I attribute my recent obsession with the television show, This is Us to the character, Jack Pearson. Like my father, the character sported a mustache. Yes, my dad kept his mustache until he died; long after it was fashionable. Also like my father, Jack’s greatest joy and purpose in life was not his profession but his family. While, unlike Jack Pearson, my dad did not have the benefits of Hollywood writers to offer insights and guidance on life right when his children needed it, Dad did have a quiet, loving presence that was always there even when words of comfort were not. In fact, after a recent difficulty in my life, I cried for my father knowing that if he were here, his loving presence would be comforting enough. No words are necessary.

The character, Jack Pearson, from This is Us
The character, Jack Pearson, from This is Us

So, what will I do to ease the sting of this Father’s Day in addition to watching a few episodes of This Is Us?

I will celebrate.

I will celebrate his legacy and example of what it means to parent wholeheartedly.

I will celebrate the fathers in my life.

I will celebrate my 95-year-old grandfather who will spend the day with my mother.

I will celebrate my brother who is ambitious; a successful architect who devotes his free time to hiking, skiing, biking, and boating with his children. I think of my brother as his loving wife and children celebrate him as a father on the day he misses ours.

I will celebrate my partner, Stu, who devotes hours talking our children through the challenges of adolescence and training them to be successful in the sports they love.

I will celebrate the human my father enabled me to become.

When Dad was with us, I always struggled to find the Father’s Day card that captured him as a father. He did not fish or golf. His interest in sports was limited to the Yankees. None of the cards reflecting the models that society assigns to Dads fit. But last year, my first Father’s Day without him, I found the perfect card. It said simply: “Thank you for believing in me.” That is all any Father's Day card ever needed to say.

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