To Fatherless Children on Father's Day
Updated: Jun 22, 2020
To fatherless children, know that you are seen today. I see you. I feel you.
I was in third grade when my father passed away. I had said goodbye to him the morning before as I skipped out to play, never dreaming he would be gone from me when I returned home. At the funeral, I sat next to my brother John, six years my senior, and was silently permitted to really, really, cry as I watched massive tears rolling down his cheeks. I didn’t know up from down.
Fifty six years later, I became my brother John's hospice caregiver in my home. I cooked his favorite meals and played his favorite music to which he heartily sang along. We held hands and talked. We openly shared our pain and long-held grief, acknowledging the shared loss of our father as children, and the sadness we each understood so well.
My older sister, who had had more time with my father, penned this tribute, which I echo today on Father’s Day: “Thank you for a legacy of the importance of humor, gallantry, honor, service, citizenship, laughter, neighborliness, poetry, penmanship, creativity, family, pageantry, playfulness, courage, going above and beyond, patriotism, marriage, and love. Thank you for taking us to church every Sunday and memorizing the books of the Bible. You wore a hat well and you were always a good Scout and Coach. Thank you for wooden toys made while at sea and brought home to us – a wagon and a doll bed. Thank you for magic tricks, real letters to Santa, and “squiggles.” Thank you for all that I don’t remember, and for all those memories you had yet to create - we have so missed them and you."
I understand what it's like, occasion by occasion, to know a father more by his absence than his presence. And to miss him so much, so deeply, for a long time. I also know that beyond the pain of loss, there is also ever-present love. To fatherless children whose hearts are hurting on Father's Day, know that you are not alone, you are in my heart, and there is great love for you here. And you can write me if you want. On this Father's Day and every day, God bless you and your Dad.