The Pre-Father’s Day Blues

j0399119Tomorrow is my commencement ceremony for community college.  After two years of hard work, I’ve successfully completed my two-year Associate of Arts degree and will be transferring to a university in the fall.  I’m excited and proud of myself, but reaching another one of those bigger milestones in life without my dad being there to cheer me on makes me miss him even more than normal.

And Father’s Day, my least favorite day of the year, is also this weekend.  Another fatherless Father’s Day.  The cutesy little Father’s Day crafts littering Pinterest, the random cashier asking if I have any plans with my dad this weekend, and tacky cards proclaiming things like “You’re the best dad in the whole wide world!” all make my heart ache. 

On Tuesday, partly due to all the Father’s Day propaganda, the reality that Dad won’t be at my commencement to see me decked out in my academic bling hit me hard.  And it’s continued to be a rough week as a result.

Sometimes I wish my life and my emotions were more simple, straightforward.  That when something exciting happens—like when I graduate on Friday or when I get married in about a year and an half—I could just be happy.  But instead of just feeling accomplished or excited, there’s always a shadow hanging over everything because dad won’t be there.  I’ll be planning or anticipating something positive but then, out of nowhere, it will hit me that Dad won’t be there.  And then I feel like a little girl crying her heart out at her father’s funeral, wanting nothing more than to just see him again.  I almost feel like I need to plan in a day before any major holiday or life event where I can fall apart and cry.  

Between graduating and Father’s Day it’ll be an interesting weekend—wonderful, difficult, exiting, sad, messy.

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83 thoughts on “The Pre-Father’s Day Blues

  1. Hi, I feel your pain as I have lost my father last year. I miss him dearly. I had the best dad a gal could want so it’s even more painful. So, this year this is what I’m going to do. I’m going to remember the best times with him, and while I’m picking out a card for my husband, I’m going to pick one out for him and just say softly, “this one is for you dad.” I will allow the tears to come then smile at the fun memories and giggle. I will balance my sorrow with the joy of memories tucked neatly into my heart.
    I congratulate you on your wonderful accomplishments presently and yet to come. I know your dad is watching from above and very proud of you.
    May God envelope you with peace and comfort at this time.

    • Sheila, I’m so sorry to hear about your dad. My dad was the best day a girl could want, too. So while on one hand I’m very thankful to have had such a good daddy as a kid, it also makes the loss even greater. I love your Father’s Day idea. It does seem like it’s a matter of balancing acknowledging the sad and difficult feelings with also remembering the good times. ((HUGS))

      Thank you for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate it.

      ~Kelsey

  2. My dad had passed away in 1976 and the timing was not that great. Then again it never is. He died several days before Fathers Day, my birthday and grammar school graduation. My mom gave me the option of not attending graduation but I wanted to. I remember her sitting in the audience with large sunglasses on to hide her crying. I’ll never forget that day and I never forget my dad. Sure, time goes on but still miss him tremendously. In the end I cant change what happened but I give my mom credit for raising my brother and I alone and I encourage you to know that dad is always in your mind and heart even though he is not physically with you, he is in your mom as well as in you. Keep his memory alive and know that he is smiling down and you will see him again. Happy Graduation. You will be ok. Give your mom a hug from you and dad.

  3. Loss is a very difficult fact of life and there is no easy way around it. It might help to imagine he is with you in your heart and is watching from above. I know of some people who have sensed the presence of someone close to them at these very significant events in their lives and have felt comforted by it. I am sure it would be a very proud day for him and it’s a very proud day for you also. What an accomplishment! Take good care of yourself.

  4. A “Simple Times” e-mail sent out to it’s readers asked us to send you a heartfelt response with regard to your mixed emotions at your graduation. First off, it is a big deal in a person’s life when they accomplish something – whether it’s getting a Driver’s License, losing 30 pounds, or completing a course of study. I’m sure that for whatever reason your father has for not being able to be by your side, he is proud of you and loves you. Sometimes things happen that prevent us from being at a place where we’d want to be. Although, that seems mighty big, remember that you are always in his heart and his life.

    I say this because I am a father. I very well may not be able to attend my son’s graduation in two years. The country becoming what it is, may very well make it impossible for me to be where he is and I will of course do my best to make that up to him. I just don’t feel safe on the roads anymore and refuse to be at the mercy of the TSA – wherever they may happen to be shaking down citizens at that future point, Additionally, I certainly will not allow myself to be shaken down at a checkpoint at an airport…

    It’s different things for different people, and with SKYPE and other means of communication, there’s more than one way for families to get together.

    Anyway, I wish you happiness and lots of luck as you move from point “A” to point “B” in your academics and in your understanding of how sometimes things happen that are beyond our control.

    Dave

    • That is very true, Dave. There are lots of ways to communicate with family nowadays. Unfortunately, though, none of those are possible with my situation. It isn’t just that my dad isn’t at my graduation, he’s gone for good. And those major life events just make the fact that he’s gone stand out all the more.

      ~Kelsey

  5. Take pride in your accomplishments and know that your dad did as well. I was an adult when I lost my dad, but nothing can erase my memories of him. You can still celebrate Father’s Day because you have a father! Doing something you used to do together is one way of honoring him. Instead of dwelling on his absence, dwell on how he enriched your life – the lessons he taught you, either by word or example, and the love he showed, both spoken and unspoken. The unconditional love of a parent is a unique gift. It is pretty much a given that you will bury your grandparents and parents and other older relatives. May you never know the pain of burying your child. Congrats on the degree and upcoming marriage, and best wishes on your next step in life. Please, please, please make sure your future husband knows the secret to a happy marriage – he must please you in all that he does. If you are cherished, you will cherish him in return.

  6. Kelsey,
    You sound like a lovely, well-adjusted, mature young lady and even your responses to some of the comments made here show you can handle yourself just fine…..give yourself those moments to feel sad and experience another layer of grief…you’re right…. plan it in advance, get it out of your system, share a spiritual moment with your Dad where you exchange a big hug and remember his beaming smile that you know so well. And then, dry your tears, take a deep breath and go on to enjoy the day without guilt that you are here and he is not. You are entitled to enjoy each and every milestone in your life, even if things didn’t go exactly as planned to have your Dad by your side. You will appreciate things in life on a different level than many who take their parents for granted….and that makes you stronger than you even know right now. Congratulations on your graduation…and two years from now, I hope you’ll be right back here announcing another graduation from your university. I may not know you, but I feel certain much success is in your future….and much happiness as well.

    • MGC, thank you for taking the time to write. I appreciate your kind comment. It’s true, having a chance cry or feel sad and just get it out or your system is very helpful. I find that then I can pick myself up and enjoy whatever the holiday or event is.

      I’ll be graduating in a couple of hours, and I’m feeling very excited. Several friends are coming, so I’ll have honorary family there as well. 🙂

      ~Kelsey

  7. Hi Kelsey – I feel compelled to share. You are far from alone. I have gone through many years since my father died when I had barely finished college in 1982. He did live to see me graduate. He was wonderful and I feel fortunate to have had him for 22 years. I married and have had a nice life with my family since that time, but in 2010 my Mother passed at age 80; then my brother passed at age 60, both of these people helped hold be down and keep me grounded. Recently my oldest daughter was diagnosed with Crohn’s while still at Oklahoma State University; and now my wife is finishing breast cancer treatments at age 50. My professional like via a corporate buy-out has also been hard. Life can be hard, but you are not alone, everyone goes through these hard years. I wish for you 20 – 30 years good years before any other bad issues come your way; enjoy as many days as you can; life is short, but it is worth living.
    Good luck from Jon in Tulsa!

    • Jon, thank you for taking the time to write me. And for sharing a little about yourself. Life really can be hard sometimes. In fact, “hard” doesn’t even begin to sum it up. But there are still beautiful moments. And I think graduating tonight will be one of those moments.

      ~Kelsey

  8. Hi Crunchy,
    I lost my dad shortly after I had my baby at age 21, he was only 52 years old (the age I am now). I know how difficult it is to loose a dad ( for me, the apple of my eye, I was a daddy’s girl). I know you’ve been through the toughest period in life: 1. loosing someone so close to you, meaning so much 2. getting through school, which can be grilling, exasperating (papers to be rewritten, exams to take, not feeling prepared), and sometimes just plain scary. I know that you have a wonderful mom who supports you, and gives you lots of love, but still…..it doesn’t ease the pain. 3. NOW having to move on, get a job and so forth. I found a song “leader of the band”, that epitomized my dad (right down to the “thundering velvet hands”–he had large but strong hands), and just allowed my grief to be there for as long as need be. We all have various ways of grieving, but it really is alright to do that….and I know that every tear shed goes to those we love, along with our happiness as well. I sincerely hope this finds you feeling a little less blue, but if you’re still blue, than allow that to be okay!! Many many hugs, Mary

    • Mary, thank you for taking the time to write. I really appreciate it. I’m so sorry about your dad.

      Graduation went wonderfully. A little dull at times, so many graduates to announce! But it went very well. I felt like being able to grief some earlier in the week was helpful because tonight I was able to have fun. 🙂

      ~Kelsey

  9. Hi there: Congratulations, well done!! I lost my Dad when I was 21, I have an idea, perhaps, how you are feeling. Take it to your loving Heavenly Father, he knows you best. He loves you and is proud of you as well. Keep on trusting, Maggie

  10. Dear Kelsey
    Congratulations on your achievements; I hope you really enjoy your graduation tonight. Your father would be very proud of you. I know it must hurt not to have him there. My mother died before my high school graduation so I can relate. Both parents were gone before my wedding day so I can relate there too.
    Someone had a good idea for Father’s Day – to do something that he used to enjoy – or even cook one of his favourite meals.
    Finally, I want to wish you a fantastic time at the U of W, in the fall I presume.
    Eva in Canada

    • Eva, thank you for the congratulations! Earlier this week was kind of rough, missing dad and really noticing the fact that he’s not here anymore. But I felt like I was able to grief enough earlier this week that tonight at graduation I was able to have fun. It went very well.

      And, yes, the University of Washington in the fall! Very excited about transferring. 🙂

      ~Kelsey

  11. Hi Kelsey,
    Congratulations on your graduation! I understood what you were talking about when you said you should just plan in an extra day before major life events in order to fall apart and pull yourself back together. As with some others here, I would encourage you to make the easier said than done choice to, instead of dwelling on how much you miss your dad, remember how blessed you are to have had the kind of dad you had for as long as you did. I would keep a place for your dad at those events in your life, but keep it celebratory. He wouldn’t want you to be sad. Celebrate what you had. Not what you don’t have. Again, I know, easier said than done. But you can do it.

    • Hi Belinda, welcome to my blog! And thank you for taking the time to comment. I think allowing myself to feel sad and miss him earlier in the week was helpful, because graduating tonight was fun. It went very well. 🙂

      ~Kelsey

  12. well….how did it go? we’re all out here so excited for you and even if you shed a few tears, you passed a milestone and have so much to look forward to….on to the next chapter…..your mom is so very proud of you! good luck in all your endeavors! hugs, mgc

    • Thanks for checking back in, MGC. That’s so sweet of you!

      It’s almost 11pm and I just got home from the ceremony. Boy, there were a lot of graduates! It went great. Aside from the gown being kind of itchy and not breathing at all, it was a blast. And even though I’m technically just as much graduated now as I was a couple of hours ago, it feels very official now. It’s been a good day. Hoping to post pictures tomorrow. 🙂

      ~Kelsey

      • thanks for checking in even though it was late. i somehow feel we’ve connected….there were a lot of comments and you were so nice to reply to them all. and, as you can see, losing a parent is something many people have been through….life is all about ups and downs….it gets easier….the grieving, i mean…..someone said grief is like an onion–you peel away a layer at a time. but, we also know onions make us cry! so…good analogy. do you have a best girlfriend that has a dad you’ve spent a lot of time with? or an uncle, Godfather, grandfather or neighbor you are fond of? keep your father in your heart, but reach out to one of them and do something nice….the truth is, you will always feel better when you make someone else feel good, too! ….i’ll be following your progress, interests, ups and downs…..don’t forget that there is always someone who will listen.
        and don’t forget to let your mom know how much you appreciate her being the only parent and that you know she misses him too. all the best to you! MGC

      • MGC, I was very surprised by how many people ended up commenting on my post. Feeling fatherless on Father’s Day seems to be a common theme a lot of people are sadly familiar with.

        ~Kelsey

  13. Hey Kelsey I know your pain, I still after 16 years he passed away I still miss him as if it was just yesterday… I was 36 when he passed on and I was pissed for awhile because I really didn’t know how I was going to make it, but I have ever since and I just place on Facebook his picture and what I feel and just let it out and let it go, it isn’t easy when you see all of the advertisements all over but you know you can send a kiss and hug and it will get to them in Heaven, and I sometimes feel his presence when the tears don’t stop and it makes me aware he is still there in my life in my heart…. But Good things for you are happening, Graduating and Getting Married, you need to Celebrate and take in this Joyful Happiness, Your Dad would of wanted this for you… Take Care and Enjoy the Days that are coming up!
    Judy

    • Hi Judy! Welcome to my blog, and thank you for taking the time to write me such a sweet comment. You’re right, Dad would’ve wanted me to enjoy graduating and getting married. And he would’ve been happy and proud of me. I think being able to take some time to grief, feel the loss of not having my dad at graduation, was helpful because yesterday I was able to just enjoy the day. It was exciting and I had a great time. 🙂

      ~Kelsey

  14. Hi Kelsey, i am an old FA friend of your Mom’s. I just wanted to share with you that I lost my Dad when I was 7, so he was really never there for any of my life. It never changes that you think of your Dad at important moments, even some 40+ years later. What I have grown to do is this: Whenever I think to myself “I wonder what my Dad would think of this situation ( my life/ my family/ my career, whatever) ?” I just proceed to answer that question mentally for myself. “He would be really impressed/proud/pleased /whatever”. I just supply that “Father Voice” for myself.

    You KNOW what your Dad would say about your graduation, and you KNOW he would not want you moping on such a day. Its normal to feel that loss, but choose embrace the joy of your accomplishment, dear. Congratulations.

  15. Congratulations Kelsey! I wish you all the best at your new school. It’s been five years last month since my dad died, and I find that with each milestone that passes I miss him more, not less. That shadow is certainly still there for me, that tinge of sadness in every joy. Allowing yourself to get it out in advance is a great idea, I’m glad it helped and you had fun!

    • The week beforehand was hard, but graduation was a great day. I think getting that time to grieve is helpful because then I can enjoy whatever the event or thing is when it comes. Thank you for commenting, Dawn. And for the congrats. 🙂

      ~Kelsey

  16. My Mom and Dad passed 14 and 15 years ago but they are always with me as will your Dad be. So smile at the fun you had and his silly ways and don’t be sad because that is the last thing he would want for you. He would want a happy girl so do that for him because hopefully he is watching over you and with you all the time. Best of luck in the future. xxxooo

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