My First Father’s Day Without Him

First Father's Day without him

I know I touched on it here. I told you all how the month of June is hard. It’s excruciating, really. Although I can be dramatic from time to time, this part of my life needs no excess drama. It is as painful as it gets. The core of hardships, sadness, bitterness, anger, fear, with tiny glimpses of softness, understanding, intense love, and endless amounts of perspective. This month, the month of my dad, is heart wrenching. 

2014-06-14_00012014-06-14_0002^ I bought my dad a couple of Father’s Day cards, anyway. (I always bought more than one. I could never choose until the actual day which one felt like the right one.) This felt natural to me. I’m not even remotely ready to give up on the traditions that I had with him. I find no reason to. ^

But this day specifically, Father’s Day, is so overwhelming. I’ve come into it much the same way as I do when I’m preparing to photograph a father / daughter dance at a wedding, or hear his speech that ever so candidly showcases his unconditional love for her, his daughter – trying hard not to choke up that his baby girl just got married.

I take a huge, deep breath, try and swallow the lump that’s in my throat, and I picture even if just for a moment, that I am her, and her dad is my dad. I feel it to be so real that it allows for me to capture the moment for what it is: raw, and loving.  Bittersweet, for me.

Today, on Father’s Day, I feel the same as I do in those moments. Bittersweet. I feel jealous, anxious, devastated, empty – but I also do feel happy for those of you who have your dads with you today. I wish I could guarantee that none of you would ever lose a parent, that you understand the importance of their presence and their love.  Without it, you aren’t the same person you’ve always been. You’re partially broken, forever. Even if you don’t respect your father the same way I respect mine, or maybe you’re not that close, or maybe you just don’t have an affectionate, verbal relationship; whatever the case may be, you have a father. That is no small thing. To me, it was everything.

So don’t just send him a text or a card today.  Call him. Hear his voice. Tell him what him being a father means to you, and make sure he hears you. Hug him, if you can. If you don’t do it for yourself, could you hug your dad for me? Because much like I do during those father / daughter dances and speeches.. today, in my mind, I’m pretending. I am you, and my dad has magically taken the place of yours, even if just for a moment. And as I swallow the lump in my throat, I’ll scroll through the unavoidable Facebook posts that show pictures of you and yours laughing, hugging, smiling, holding hands, dancing on your wedding day.. I’ll cry as I look at them, I might curse your name, too (it’s not personal) but in my heart of hearts, I’ll hope that you know just how lucky you really are.

My First Father's Day Without Him

So that’s how I’ll be making it through today; re-living moments of 27 beautiful Father’s Days that I had with my perfect dad. I’ll cry, look at photos, watch videos just so I can cling on to his movement and his voice – I will write to him, tell him everything from the sweetest memories I have, to how this feels unbearable.  And it seems only appropriate that today, I’m flying to San Francisco to collect a warm tight hug from my big sister, while we talk about our favorite memories growing up within the arms of the greatest man we’ve ever known.