Updated: Aug 4, 2020
As Father's Day is approaching, I wanted to share my experience and thoughts about this very special, yet painful day for those who have lost their fathers.
To begin, I want to share the last Father's Day that I got to spend with my dad. Our family was very blessed that we were able to spend Father's Day together on 18th June 2017, before my dad passed away on 23rd June. It was a very special day, even though we were in the hospice with him the whole time. The week before Father's Day, I started writing a letter to my dad - 10 Things I Want You to Know. I listed all the things I wanted to tell him - how much he meant to me, all the things I wanted to thank him for, how sorry I was about the things in the past, all my hopes and dreams for the future, and how he will always be in my heart. When I arrived at the hospice, I wished him Happy Father's Day, gave him a big hug and kiss, and handed the letter to him. He asked me to read it aloud for him and it was the toughest thing because I had never said any of those things to my dad out loud before. Yet, it was the best thing I've ever done because I could finally tell him everything that was in my heart. I was so happy and grateful, too. That was the last time we really talked and he shared his feelings, hopes and dreams for me, too. We even had a video call with relatives in Australia. We shared a lot of happy moments filled with smiles and laughter, as well as tears. It was truly the best Father's Day ever, and I couldn't have wished for a better one. God really blessed us on that day.
Five days later, he passed away peacefully and I am so grateful that I had that moment with him before he passed. I know not many people get this chance before their loved ones are taken away. This is why it is so important to express our love freely and openly before it is too late. Our days are numbered and we never know when that time will come - for anyone.
The following year, as June was approaching, I dreaded Father's Day. Everyone would be saying 'Happy Father's Day' and it would be tough to hear the words 'happy' and 'father' together in the same sentence when my father wasn't here anymore. I avoided going on Facebook or social media, not wanting to see people's posts about spending the day with their fathers. Then I received a text message from a friend. She simply sent 'Thinking of you on this Father's Day'. It was the sweetest and most thoughtful message I had received that day. While most people avoided mentioning the day to me, and even avoiding contact with people myself, this very simple message gave me such a warm feeling, knowing that someone understood my pain, my grief and sorrow. While most people would be addressing special messages to fathers, let's not forget those who have lost theirs. It is the same with Mother's Day. Acknowledge that this day can be difficult for a lot of people, yet, there is also no need to avoid the topic altogether. I never thought those words would have such an impact on me but it really helped me get through that day, while I spent most of the time scrolling through old photos of my dad on my phone and reading his messages again. 2020 marks the third anniversary of his death, and, to be quite honest, this day still brings me a lot of mixed emotions. But I also don't feel like I need to hide my emotions or avoid people anymore. If you know someone who does not have a father to celebrate this day with, let them know you are thinking of them.