Father’s Day 2016 was inexplicably hard for me. As the days drew near, I would find myself lying awake, staring at the ceiling, out the window, or at my phone. It wasn’t that I couldn’t sleep – it was more the reality that I didn’t want to sleep. I felt out of breath, and my mind seemed to wander an unfriendly plain in the darkness – a blanket of fear weighed down on me and I could not move.
I realised this year though, that despite having incredible closure around my dad’s passing, there was still an immense amount of sorrow that I carried deep within my heart. I had not spoken about him for quite sometime and everything I felt, I had internalized and probably suppressed. It was like forgetting someone’s birthday, and the longer you left it, the more awkward and guilty you felt as time went on. Father’s Day felt like I wanted to run and hide from the world.
And then I heard a quote as if given to me by my dad himself:
“The bad news is, time flies. The good news is, you’re the pilot.”
Like Tetris pieces all falling into place, I began to realise once more how death was as much a part of life as your first kiss, your wedding day, the birth of your children – each of those things, including death, has its part to play in our lives. But the pain of losing my dad was deep and it throbbed with a dull ache – oh, how I long to hear his voice one more time or touch his beautiful face. I swear no one loved him more than me.
But the pain so evident in the tears that rolled down my cheeks, were gently wiped away by the hugs and love from my own two sons. They’re a bit young to understand what I feel and I’m not sure if my 5-year old son really remembers his grandpa anymore, but I am honoured to raise my sons under the same wave of love my dad gave me.
The hardest part are the fleeting moments where I see my dad’s face in the way they look at me. For an instant, it’s like seeing a ghost, and then a flood of different emotions sends you on a roller coaster ride of joy & sadness – all in the blink of an eye.
If you’ve read 400 words this far, forgive me for a sombre post. Father’s Day is a celebration of the men (not just biological male parents) who help us, teach us, love us and lead us. I want the world to know how lucky I was to have such an incredible man lead me from childhood into manhood. And now that he is no longer here, how much more sincere that privilege of raising my own sons is and why you should do everything you can to leave a lasting legacy for your kids.
If you never had a relationship with your dad for whatever reason, then I encourage you to love like there’s no tomorrow. If you have children, pour yourself out over them so that they would be covered with your love. My dad broke the mould with me and instead of repeating his unfortunate past, he gave his entire heart to me and I always knew it. His imperfections were made perfect by the way he loved me, and that’s why I can always say, he was the world’s greatest dad.
I love you forever, dad. Happy Father’s Day.