4 Father’s Day holidays without my Dad.
I understand why holidays can be a difficult time, more difficult than most other days. Celebrations marked by time spent with loved ones become a painful reminder that the loved one is no longer there. Shopping for cards, one must do their best to avoid certain sections or else risk falling apart in the aisle. Looking at social media feeds, one must ignore the unavoidable pangs of grief, and yes sometimes jealousy, from the posts of others who have not experienced the same loss.
This Father’s Day I will celebrate my husband, a wonderful father to our girls. But I will also miss my dad, and the loss that has numbed over time will feel fresh; a re-opened wound, the pain sharp again. Over the last few years as holidays, birthdays, and special moments come and go without my dad, I’ve learned that there is a salve to ease the wound when it becomes too painful.
At my dad’s funeral, one of the best gifts I ever could have been given were the stories people shared about him. From the touching to the hilarious, the memories people shared about my dad were like sandbags of grace, shoring up the flood of grief threatening to spill over and wash me away.
So to honor my dad, and to ease the ache I’m feeling right now, on the eve of another Father’s Day without him, I’m going to share a story.
My dad was the kind of guy who never did anything half-way. If he developed an interest in something, he was invested 110%. One of his lifelong passions was astronomy. He was fascinated by the moon and planets and the endless possibilities of space. When I was very little, my dad decided he wanted a telescope. So does the man flip through a Sears catalog and order himself one? No. He decides he’ll build his own. A Journeyman Tool&Die maker, my dad was good with his hands, and quite good at designing stuff. So over time, piece by piece, his created and built his own telescope.
Later, when I was a teenager, my dad revived his hobby. This time, just building a telescope wasn’t enough. This time he decided to build an entire freaking planetarium in our back yard.
I miss my dad. At his funeral, I too shared some stories. Among them was how my dad taught me how to find constellations in the night sky. It’s been years and years since he first showed me how to spot the line of Orion’s belt, or the zig-zag shape of Cassiopeia, but when I look up at the night sky and study the vast expanse above me, I am that little girl again, laying on the picnic bench (that my dad built) and studying the stars… listening to his voice… hearing his stories.