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What Father's Day Means to Me

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Karyn Bryant: My husband and I took our daughter to my hometown a couple of weeks ago to catch up with family. I was looking forward to visiting my dad one lovely day; he hadn't seen Aurora in a year and we planned to sit outside, talk for a while, and fill him in on all that our little peanut has been up to. The thing is, my dad passed away in 2005 and I miss him desperately. So how was I not going to lose my grip when we got to the cemetery? And how were we going to explain everything to Aurora?

karyn bryant and daughter aurora on father's grave

My daughter never got to meet her grandfather, although she sees pictures of my dad around the house and knows who he is. She's even told me on more than one occasion (without me asking) that she sometimes sees him when she's playing in her room or when she's out in the yard. Of course this absolutely wrecks me every time, so I thought for sure the visit to the cemetery would find me in a puddle. But I was pleasantly surprised when I made it through the visit having shed only a couple of tears that she didn't even see.

It's not that I didn't want Aurora to see me cry. She's quite a sensitive kid and understands emotions pretty darn well for a kid who's not even three yet. I just didn't want to sadden her because she was having fun putting flowers on his grave and playing with the dragonflies that suddenly came to greet us excitedly. (Without a doubt, these were a sign from my dad to my mom.) She talked to him, she danced for him, and asked lots of questions. We told her that grandpa was there, but that he's also everywhere we want him to be whenever we want. Aurora thought that was pretty cool. My mom and I had to swallow some ginormous lumps and blink A LOT, but we made it through.

So whenever Father's Day rolls around, I ready myself for the inevitable melancholy the day brings with it. As we cater to my husband and when we call Wade's dad, I know Aurora will ask about her other grandfather. I'll try not to cry, and I'll be sure to keep some extra beer in the fridge in case he tells her he's thirsty.

next: Just a Guy Who Was Single on Father's Day
3 comments so far | Post a comment now
Myra June 21, 2009, 10:23 AM

I know what you mean. My dad passed away in July of 2004 and I miss him so much. MY husband and I were going to go visit him on a Friday night since I finally had Friday off from work, and that morning I got the call something was wrong with my dad. I showed to my parents house only find mom crying like I’ve had her before. I miss him, I miss his laugh, his voice, the sound of a spoon mixing sugar in his coffee, his smell (oil from working on trucks and smoke). I miss that the fact I didn’t get him a bigger and kiss the last time I saw him. I hate the fact that so much has change since he died, his yard once, a place of garden of eve, is now treeless, dirt, and weeds, and mom is so lonely, that I call her everyday, even with nothing to say. My husband and I, were married less than a month when my dad died, when part of me died. Now, I live each day fearing for my mom, it consumes me to the point of breaking. I miss him, I need him.

Ankh June 21, 2009, 12:56 PM

Thanks Karyn. Beautifully written. I can’t stop crying.

Tiffany June 22, 2009, 12:49 AM

I can’t tell you how much this article hits home for me! My father died when I was 16 years old. Now that I’m almost 30, married, and have a beautiful 2 year old daughter, it pains me so much that he never got the chance to see the beautiful family I have created. The hardest part is that my daughter has no idea who he is. She has seen his picture in a frame, but she still hasn’t quite figured out “Who is that man in the police uniform Mommy?”. I wanted to take her to my hometown and his cemetery as well, but thought it might be too creepy. This article has really raised some questions for me. Death is very difficult to explain to a 2 year old. You try to say things like, “He’s in heaven with Jesus”, but then you get even MORE uneasy questions like, Where is heaven? Why is he dead? Why can’t he come back? Are you going to die too Mommy?
Is it even a good age to bring up death?? Would be traumatic for a 2 year old to hear about passing onto another life where you are away from your parents and the life you know now?? How do you explain that?

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