I was reading over my post from last Father’s Day. It was the first Father’s Day without John Robert. To be honest I do not remember much of anything about that day. Still just weeks from the most devastating thing that can happen to a parent, we were in a fog, scrambling to find something solid, unable to escape the nightmare. A year later the pain is less intense, but just as present. We are so grateful for our daughter and her family. Grandchildren have a way of soothing over rough edges on our hearts.
And this year is the first Father’s Day without Harold. Although he was a “step-dad” he never treated us as anything but a ‘dad’. For twenty eight years he was a major presence in our lives. It was through his marriage to my mother that I gained sisters. No matter how much I miss him on this day, I know they miss him more. I know mom still has a big journey in front of her. So we all live with our own brand of grief, but it is very real for all of us.
Not that we’re alone. Restoring connections on FaceBook with old friends, I see the notations that there are dads who are missed everywhere. And there are parents who miss their children. If there is anything that helps (and I am not sure anything does), it is the knowledge that we do not have to bear this burden alone. There are many people who know just what we’re going through. A lot of people.
At the same time I rejoice with all of the sons and daughters who will speak with their dads this weekend. They will send cards and call, perhaps make a trip to visit, or find some way to express their love. My own feelings about our path does not diminish my appreciation for that joy.
Families are complicated. There are people who never knew their dads, and some who wish they had never known their fathers. There are the great dads who love their families beyond belief, and there are the deadbeat dads who couldn’t care less. There are dads who are separated from their children through no fault of their own, misunderstood and hurting. Most dads, I think, underestimate their own value and the power of their presence.
I’m also mindful of the spiritual dads in the churches … the men who encourage and love the younger people around them. The mentoring and life they share can be so important. Especially in a time when so many single mothers are in such a rough spot. A godly mentor can make a huge difference.
I don’t know what conclusions you’ll reach from this rambling… but I hope you have a great dad you can remember or call upon. If you don’t, I hope you know that there is a Father who loves you more than you can imagine.
Thanks for reading,