(Two of two parts of a Father’s Day. Part one is here.)
Whomever said “time heals all wounds” was full of crap.
Same person who said “God only gives you what you can handle.”
Words with no meaning. Not to me.
It’s the 14th Father’s Day without my dad.
It doesn’t get easier. I don’t miss him less.
The memories I want to recall are fading.
I close my eyes and I try to think back on Father’s Days of the past. I can’t remember any. I’m sure they were filled with homemade gifts. And food.
But when my eyes are shut I can only remember those last days. The incredibly difficult last family trip to Florida with a hastily planned one day cruise to the Bahamas. Sitting in the bleachers for his last over-40 baseball game during that sweet spot between one round of chemotherapy and the next. I see the last moment that we had together.
I sit here at the end of this Father’s Day. And I’m lonely. And angry.
He’s missed the things a father should have seen. My wedding. My brother’s wedding. My sister driving.
He’s missed the things a grandfather should have seen. Gerry’s first time pitching in his little league game. Howie’s elaborate Hot Wheels track creations. Lewis’ first laugh out loud joke. My nephew’s first birthday.
A few months ago, my uncle was in town. He’s my dad’s oldest brother. He asked to come out and visit SenseAbility Gym, the nonprofit sensory gym we started for kids with special needs. My uncle – all of my uncles – have been incredibly supportive since we had the idea. I went to them for advice, support, and help and they all came through, just like they have for the past 14 years.
I watched my uncle at the gym. He played with my boys, his grand-nephews. He asked questions and offered suggestions.
He said he was proud of me.
A few weeks ago, my mother came to work with me at the gym. A special educator herself, she jumped right in. I watched her play with the kids. Chat with the parents. She connected with them and offered support and advice.
She said she was proud of me.
I am so honored and lucky that they are there with me.
But as I watched them both my anger was bubbling up inside. Not at them, of course. But at what should have been.
My dad was supposed to be here to see this. This gym came about because of the values and skills that he taught me. Making the world a better place from the ground up. Connecting and communicating with and within the community. Standing up for what you believe in even when no one else has done it before. And all the while remaining present for your children, your spouse, and your family.
It was not supposed to be this way. This is not how the story goes.
In the last few minutes of this father’s day, I cry. I’m missing the conversations, the laughter. His voice.
Time is not healing these wounds. In fact, it’s making them hurt more.
It’s a tale of two Father’s Days for me.
The joy of watching my kids say “Happy Father’s Day!” to their dad.
The pain of not being able to say that to my own.
“Lying in my bed I hear the clock tick,
And think of you
Caught up in circles confusion -
Is nothing new
Flashback – warm nights -
Almost left behind
Suitcases of memories,
Time after -
Sometimes you picture me -
I’m walking too far ahead
You’re calling to me, I can’t hear
What you’ve said -
Then you say – go slow -
I fall behind -
The second hand unwinds
If you’re lost you can look – and you will find me
Time after time
If you fall I will catch you – I’ll be waiting
Time after time” – Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper