This time of year is always funny for me. My dad passed away on June 19th, 1992, when I was three years old. Sadly enough this date tends to coincide with Father’s Day, either within the same few days or sometimes it lands on the day itself.
Personally I find it an odd situation as I was so little when he passed away. I grew up with my brother and my mom, and that was our family. My entire life has been fatherless so I don’t know what I’m missing, I guess. I do feel a tinge of jealousy when my friends are close with their dads, and I admit I cried in Grease when Frenchy says “the only man a girl can depend on is her daddy”. But overall I was fortunate to grow up happy and healthy within a loving family, and doing so with just my mom taught me a lot about being an independent, badass, get-shit-done type of woman.
Still, I do think about my dad a lot and wonder how differently I would have turned out had he been around. I wonder what kind of relationship we would have, and I wonder if he would be proud of me. If he could see me now, would he recognize my strengths and respect my virtues and be proud of the woman I’m growing up to be?
I have so few memories of him, and sadly the only one I remember vividly is the day he died. Because he was so sick at this point, he had a hospital bed set up in our dining room. There were a lot of people around, but I just remember crawling into the bed and all of his attention was on me. He read me the introduction to my 101 Dalmatians sticker book, and then I kissed him goodbye and went to preschool. He died shortly afterwards, in an ambulance, holding my mom’s hand.
Looking at the photographs of us together, I can sense how much we loved each other. I had my mom’s curly hair and his blue eyes and I was always looking at him like he was my hero. He was always smiling and, from what I’ve heard, was a big joker. My brother and I always looked so happy with him.
The different ways this affected each of us in my family is always interesting to me. My mom had to go through losing her husband and raising two kids on her own, right at the start of their life together. My brother lost out on having a dad and instead had to grow up with just us girls. Both of them have memories of him that I don’t have.
When I think about it, though, I think he’d be proud. My mom is a fighter and I don’t think we missed out on any of the childhood experiences that having two parents may have made easier. My brother is in law school now and is probably the smartest person I know. I like to think I am doing okay. My mom pulled us together and raised us in a way that I think he would have liked.
I miss him and think about him a lot, and I can’t believe it’s been twenty years. I hope I’ve done him proud in one way or another.
Happy Father’s Day, everyone.