When you lose a parent, everything becomes a series of first with absence. First Wedding Anniversary, first Birthday and first Father’s Day.
This is the first Father’s Day without ours, it’s been an interesting year without him too. It’s an adjustment, trying to get used to that empty space at the table.
However, with the build up to Father’s Day, it’s a constant reminder of celebrating the men in our lives, when the most important man in mine has gone.
When we lost Dad, we all deliberately put more focus on mum, since this was her first year as a widow. In combination, for her wedding anniversary, birthday and Mother’s Day. We took her for dinner at the Ritz (Courtesy of a Time Out offer), went to a relaxing caravan for a weekend, which had a hot tub. Then last week took her to see Les Miz.
Out of all the members of my family, I am the only one to have read the book, by Victor Hugo. Something I regret since I was a bit jaded after finishing it and then felt worse about it after seeing the film. The musical, a million times better.
For my dad’s birthdays (also in June) and Father’s Day, we just gave him money for a season ticket for his beloved Harlequins Rugby and had a barbeque or Chinese.
He really hated frivolity and last year was difficult because we celebrated knowing full well it would be his last one.
We were all a little clueless at what to get him since due to his cancer he had to stop going to rugby and what do you get someone who’s only got a limited time left on this planet?
The inevitability of knowing that it was his last made it all too real, and worse in some respect. He just made his birthday and Father’s Day and missed all of his children’s birthdays.
But this is the first, of a year which has gone too quick without him, and we’re all in the same stages of grieving. But now it’s Father’s Day.
I was looking online for tips on how to cope, most of them telling me to stay away from social media. Because it could be too painful to see friends with fathers to remind me that ours has gone.
Perhaps I could also tell friends that this is a painful time for me so could they please think twice before posting anything.
Right, so I’m really going to guilt trip my own friends for celebrating their wonderful dad’s because apparently, it’s all about me! I want pictures of my friends and their dads, I want to see the videos of parents opening their gifts and being happy. Why the hell would I want to deny anyone that?
But the thing is, what is worse? Never having a dad, never knowing a dad, or having a fantastic one who died last year?
Because I had an incredible dad, who was supportive, kind, funny and let’s be honest since no one’s a saint, had a quick temper and a filthy sense of humour.
Yet, I had a dad, who taught me wonderful things, self-confidence and self-worth and who I miss every day.
Him not being here in physical form is not going to change that.
We were blessed to have a dad who worked so hard, turning a house into a home, raising four well-adjusted children, was a fantastic grandfather and was proud of all their achievements.
I had a father, who worked extra hours to be able to take his family on two holidays a year, typically to Butlin’s, which was fine since I love Butlin’s.
This was a man who along with mum worked hard to provide for us and when I was eight, in 1988, worked hard to take his entire family to Spain.
For a working class family in the 1980’s getting a plane and going abroad even to Benidorm was a big deal.
I have memories of a fantastic man, who taught me so much in life, so I really don’t mind I am getting emails every day from companies telling me what to get him. Since I never brought him anything from them anyway.
I love the adverts, all of them and love the Moonpig card advert the most. I can’t get a chip on my shoulder about losing my dad because he wouldn’t want that.
There is so much I miss about my dad, even his stupid jokes and watching the Antiques Roadshow together, watching the rich ones finding out their family heirloom were a load of old tat was always a highlight.
I feel sad for the things he’s missed seeing, his third grandson being born, his other grandson winning a Gymnastics Gold Medal in Geneva. He’s missed trips abroad, and family moments and just stupid stuff that never seems important until there is a person unable to enjoy it.
So on Father’s Day and his birthday, I am going to honour our dad, I am going to go to his grave and tell him what’s been going on.
I’m going to tell him how I passed my second term at University, and how I’m planning a trip to Poland because it’s a place we were talking about going to before he got ill.
And then we’re getting a Chinese takeaway because our traditions have shifted but there always going to be there.
Doesn’t change the fact we miss him every day though
Happy Father’s Day Dad xx