It’s not particularly easy to write about Father’s Day as this year is truly our first “fatherless” Father’s Day. Having lost Mr. D’s Dad back in late January, there are no cards to buy nor phone calls to make to express appreciation for all of the love and patience over the years.
When my own father passed away in the fall of 2005, I shed very few tears. Perhaps it was the detachment of making all of the arrangements, assisting my mother through her own grief, or a disbelief that he was really gone, but I remember feeling very strange about my outward lack of emotion.
However, just over two years later at my father-in-law’s services I was near inconsolable. I’m not a very demonstrative person emotionally, so I think my visible sadness was a little concerning to my husband’s family. While I was sad for my husband and his loss, I think the grief I was expressing was more for my own father and my own loss that I was finally able to “see” and feel only after time had passed.
So, lately, I’ve been reflecting on my father and his impact on me and my family. First, this is/was my Daddy…
For me, this picture epitomizes my father. From the cynical smirk on his face, to the ever-present cigar, the camera in his pocket and surrounded by the plants that defined his life. A horticulturist for nearly 60 years, he saw beauty in plants and flowers and loved growing and propagating all types of flora.
My Daddy experienced a significant amount of hurt and disappointment in his life, but he never used it as an excuse for anything. He was highly intelligent and intellectual with a side order of honesty and sincerity. He was a very principled man and he expected no less from his children.
In preparing this post, I scoured my vast library of pictures for a picture of he and I together when I was younger and I could not locate one. He was usually behind the camera and he wasn’t very demonstrative with us when we were growing up. A quiet and private man, he didn’t go in for a lot of hugging and kissing, so we were left to just “know” that he loved us. As an adult, however, he became much more “open”, particularly with his grandkids. In the one picture I could find of he and I together, look who is the center of attention.
He dearly loved his grandchildren and was so proud of each of them. This is one of my favorite pictures. It’s Mini-DD with my Daddy for Easter, when he was two and a half.
The joy on both of their faces is so evident. Also true to my father’s nature was his sense of “habit” and routine. Just about every picture I could find of my father in later years has him wearing this burgundy plantation shirt with all of his “essentials” packed into his breast pocket.
When he died, my mother gave Mini-DD one of my father’s pocket knives. For those who knew him, the significance of those knives is relevant as he was never without one and could always be relied upon to open a box or cut an apple. It is one of his grandson’s prized possessions.
As for his daughter….his youngest child….the girl he called “BooBoo”….I wasn’t left with a prized possession. More importantly, he left me an understanding of living a life of integrity, a love of family and history, and an example of loving a partner until your last breath.
So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Daughters, John Mayer (from Where the Light Is DVD to be released July 1st) — performance at The Nokia, L.A., 12/07.