For the last nine years Father’s Day has been a bittersweet experience. I’m extremely fortunate to have an amazing dad and while I no longer view him as the infallible figure he appeared to be when I was child, my love for him hasn’t diminished.
I find myself in a strange predicament. I too am a father, yet my child is no longer alive. When parents talk about how they will do anything for their children, I can relate to their zeal. When they describe how proud they are of their children, I can appreciate their honesty. I also envy them. While I am a father, in practice I am not a dad. And while I like to imagine that my son is alive on another plane of existence, in our world he died nine years ago, without ever knowing the full extent of this world’s many marvels.
So Father’s Day is for me a time both of joy and relief that my father – the nearest to being a hero I will ever know- is still around.
It is also a time of sadness and grief for a life lost. There isn’t a day that passes when I don’t imagine how things might have been different. I imagine my nine year old son playing in the backyard or chasing after a dog or curled up with my cats and reading a book. Maybe he would have been a sporty type in love with baseball or soccer. I’ll never know.
Father’s Day then remains a bittersweet time for me, a time of love and a time of haunting. But I owe it to the living and to the memory of the dead to live and prosper and love with all my heart.
And I’m grateful for that opportunity.