I ask you: how do breaking hearts face Father's day, without a father to honour?
We pound pavement in the fading light of day. I struggle to keep step with his manly gait, his earnest stride. This time of evening -- it is when my fatigue catches up with me. Softly, the wind blows unruly tendrils of hair across my cheeks, and I stop to wrap my jacket around my waist; I over dressed this evening in case a chill came without warning. But instead of shivers, balmy summer sun penetrates through to my skin, warming me. I watch the road intently for cars that might not be watching as carefully as I.
While we walk, I wrack my brain to come up with something of import to say. "What will we do for Father's Day this year?" I ask rather suddenly. Too quickly, perhaps.
And yet, it is valid question for those finding themselves within the week of this significant holiday. A question that begs to be asked. But when your heart is still tender from breaking, and there have merely been two weeks passed since you said last goodbyes to your own dad, this question can leave one feeling startled by fresh tears.
For us, Father's Day will never be the same again. Not ever. Quite honestly, the world is now forever changed. How does one do things when the dad you formerly did them for/with/to is forever gone? Can a holiday still be commemorated even when the one for whom it was meant is no longer present?
We walk and talk. Shed some tears.
And I wonder and imagine while he walks beside me,quietly.
All the while, I still hold out hope. There is always hope.
Hope for another day. Another moment. Another slice of life.
And there is still room to hope for the peace with which to celebrate, even in the midst of sorrow. Still room for joy expressed over a life lived with grace and love and courage and faithfulness and tenderness and loyalty and gentleness, even when the remembering brings tears. There is still room to honor a father's influence, even in his physical absence. There is still room in which to cry and laugh.
There is still room in our hearts and there always will be.
There is not a day goes by that our hearts are not moved by his memory.
We sit down by the river for a spell. We are motionless, save for the occasional slapping of a mosquito here and there. Below my feet, there are schools of tiny fish curiously weaving their way around a wooded slat. They know naught of what the worlds above them experience with loss and pain and sorrow. Farther down the river, two ducks paddle off while a heron takes flight. The natural world around us has a rhythm all its own. Everywhere is peace and quiet.
I am reminded to be still. And so I am. We are both still and motionless and lost in our reverie.
Later, as we make our ascent back to the road, I am further reminded that life too must resume. But our memories of what really matters are never far from our hearts. We return to these places and spaces often so as to remember. To recall and evoke the images in our minds of those we love.
We never forget.
This Sunday is Father's Day. And while it will be different this year, especially for him, there will still be cause for celebration -- however muted and understated that might be. There is still place for a commemoration of all that we have been given by way of legacy, heritage, history and connection. And there will be a calling to remembrance of and for our fathers. Both of them- for they are loved in their presence and even in their passing. Our cherished memories are ours to keep and treasure for a lifetime.
A loved one might be physically gone: but he will never be forgotten.
May all those whose hearts are breaking this Father's Day find comfort in the knowledge that their Dad is always present in their memory.
Our fathers will forever live on -- in and through -- our remembrances of them.
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