Fatherless Day

I have a feeling that I’ve written a (better) post like this before, so forgive me if you remember the contents of my blog better than I do.

Today is Father’s Day and I don’t have one.   I mean I had one and he was a good one and I loved him very much, but he’s been gone for a while now and there are no other fathers in my life.  My Mum hasn’t remarried.  I have no grandfathers or male role models who I consider father figures.  I’m not married with children, so I can’t recalibrate and experience father’s day as a mother instead.  I have uncles, obviously.  I have friends with children and brothers-in-law who are responsible for my nieces and nephews and my brother is about to be a father, but those relationships are far enough removed from the realm of my personal experience of fatherhood that they can’t possibly count.

So Father’s Day, for me, is just a sad reminder that there is a hole in my life.

Usually it is pretty easy to disregard this hole. I am an adult, after all, and my father, much as I loved him, wouldn’t be a huge part of my life at this point anyways. We would talk on the phone maybe a couple times a month, he would be supportive and would offer words of encouragement and advice when I needed them. I would be interested in his work and whatever he was reading.  I’m sure it would seem like a pretty basic relationship from the outside, but relationships are like icebergs in that way.  There’s a lot going on beneath the surface of sporadic phone calls with the people who you love, even when it doesn’t feel like there is.

My Dad has been dead for five years at this point, too, so I feel kind of dumb when I am sad about him being gone. I ask myself if I just grieved wrong (which is a nonsensical idea to begin with) or if I’m projecting another issue onto what I think is sadness about my Dad’s absence, but the truth is that sometimes this shit just sneaks up on you.

Father’s Day is like when I am watching a movie or reading a book with a wedding in it. And then I have to watch a father/daughter dance or a poignant walk down the aisle (or, worst case scenario, both), constantly being reminded of the sheer impossibility of my ever experiencing either of those things myself.  It is impossible for me to ever take that slow walk, arm in arm with my father, and consider in measured steps, that one chapter of my life is giving way to the next.  It is similarly impossible for me to decide that being walked down the aisle is an archaic tradition in which I’d rather not partake.

Father’s Day is similar to hearing someone casually mention something their Dad did for them and being struck, with strange suddenness, that for the last five years and for the rest of forever, I won’t ever be able to tell a similar story.

Father’s Day is like hearing someone complain about something that their Dad did that sucked and thinking about how sometimes even something awful sounds better than something that simply isn’t there.

Father’s Day is all of those things multiplied by hundreds and compounded into one day.  Facebook is littered with old pictures of kids with their dads and sentimental statuses.  Store signs and advertisements and spam emails inquire if I got my Dad his gift yet and my rhetorical answer is just a buzzing radio static in my head.  Because obviously I haven’t.

It doesn’t help that I’m not with my family this Father’s Day.  I don’t think we would celebrate or acknowledge the day, but we might mention him a few more times than usual.  We might be able to talk about how we’ve been feeling sad for the past few days.  We might talk about how crazy it is that there are so many days to remind us of him throughout the course of the year and that sometimes it seems overwhelming.  Birthday, deathday, his wedding anniversary, Father’s Day.  It’s relentless.  Not all of them are solely his, but all of them are a reminder of him and consequently a reminder that he’s gone.

I was supposed to celebrate Father’s Day with Zach’s family today and in some ways I really wanted to.  It would be nice to spend time with them; it’s gorgeous outside and they’re going to be barbecuing and; most importantly, Zach’s dad is really nice: someone who is completely worth celebrating.  But there is just enough of me that is feeling emotionally volatile right now that I couldn’t do it.  I can’t explain it better than that; there is a five-year old sadness in me and it’s closer to the surface than usual.  Maybe it’s Father’s Day.  Maybe it’s that I’m a little bit homesick.  Maybe it’s any number of things or all of them combined, but it is clear that today is not a day to make a good impression on my boyfriend’s family.  Today is a day to distract myself or to reflect.

So now that I’ve reflected I think that I am going to go read a book in a park in my new city and call a family member to see if they’re feeling better than me.  *coevieweplannedthisiwillbecallingyousoonugh*