I came to the laptop to share my thoughts for those who might be facing their very first Father’s Day without their father and that sinking feeling resurfaced. Even after all this time but the truth is there is no best before date nor an expiry date, I will feel my father’s absence for as long as I live. How we feel is how we feel. There is no right or wrong way it just is. Remembering our dads who is our hero if we were lucky enough to have a great dad is like peeling an onion. You peel one layer off with utmost pain and you realise how blessed you are to have felt such love. You also know how it hurts it is like you are bleeding inside but others can’t see.
If you happen to come across my blog for the first time, thank you. Allow me to introduce my Dad to you.
My Dad was my world, he taught me how to be. They say for a daughter, her father is her first love. I would say that is quite true in my case. I admired his courage and his incredible ability to be a man. He wasn’t a push over but he was a very generous and caring soul. Honest, kind and daring. He brought his children up as a single Dad and ran a string of businesses at the same time. He was fearless and a visionary.
When I need his advice or guidance he is there even now. He has left an indelible mark in my soul etched forever. I hear his words and he comes to me often in my dreams to comfort and to guide me. Love like ours cannot be broken, not even by death. I am quite proud to call him my father.
Now and then when I feel stuck I remember the many lessons he taught me about life and resilience. He taught me so much and I am still digging deep to remember his many pearls of wisdom. One such sentence comes to mind which I will share here.
“Never let anyone or anything dictate how you should live your life. Have a tiger’s heart and if you believe in what you are doing stand your ground”. Manhar Patel (My Dad)
This advice has stayed with me like a light inside me. It’s as though I have his confidence in me!
When we think of a father he is the one who protects us and has our back. He loves us unconditionally and he wants us to succeed without any hidden agenda. I was blessed to have such a great father who inspired me to be true to myself especially when life weighs me down.
As for me, well I grew up witnessing my father’s many sacrifices which often went unnoticed. Whenever I look at myself in the mirror now I see my father’s eyes in mine. Whoever I am today and whatever good I may do it all can be traced back to my father who made me the person I am today.
For those marking their very first father’s day without their dad, I will share some tips from my own experience. Quite possibly you found yourself avoiding going towards the cards section in the supermarket thinking this year he is not here. You may have noticed your eyes well up but you instantly told yourself, not now and not here.. You may have wondered do I buy a card and if I do, will someone think I am stuck or even silly? You are not silly nor stuck but you may need to give yourself permission to feel the paradox of loss and love at the same time. Incredibly hard when we are so used to seeing life in a linear way.
Here are a few things I have done on Father’s Day but you will do what feels right for you.
• Buy the best Father’s day card, write on it as if he is still here as it matters to you.
• Remember how you celebrated this special day in previous years, did you go out for lunch, or for a long walk or buy him a gift you knew he would love? If yes, try to do some of those things if you heart can take it because if you are happy he will be too.
• Cook his favourite food or bake his favourite cake, share and enjoy it.
• Plant a tree or a rose in your garden and put a small plaque with your chosen words.
• Buy yourself something special as if he was buying it for you. You will always remember when and why you bought this gift.
• Have some friends over and have a party in the garden.
• Write a letter to him as if he was here and you were having conversation with him, talk to him just like before.
• If you have your dad’s wristwatch wear it.
• Shed a few tears if you must and do what makes you comfortable.
Some of us will have regrets over things said or not said. It is time to be generous and forgiving to yourself. You have to nurture your soul like your Dad nurtured you as a child.
I remember the first year I could not be with anyone whose father was alive because whenever they referred to their dad I felt I had been cheated.
For those supporting a friend who is missing their father a simple message to say you are thinking of them and their dad is likely to be appreciated. Don’t expect much in return as the first Father’s Day is a bit like the funeral, those left behind feel they need to be strong for others. It takes time to realise the ground beneath them has disappeared.
Finally, remember, this day is about YOU and YOUR DAD nobody can tell you what you must do but you won’t be going through this day all alone. So many of us belong to the fatherless club, we are here and like you we will face this day with our fathers in our heart, living and breathing just as they were before but in us. We walk on with their legacy so you might as well do it with extraordinary flair.
For this Sunday 20th June I wish you and your dad a very Happy Father’s Day!
Peace be with you.
18th June, 2021