Father’s Day is always a bittersweet day in my household because my father died on September 23, 1989; it’s hard to believe how long it has actually been. I have spent my life dreading this day because of the focal point on a specific individual within a household – the father. This day brings back a rush of emotions, both positive and negative, that evoke certain feelings that I am sure many of those who have suffered a loss of a parent feel during these special days. I think that this is especially telling with children during their more formative years that attempt to understand and provide meaning to the loss and the absence of a family member, yet often fail. The magnitude of death is often misunderstood, especially in the younger generations. I give significant kudos to the Rainbows program that does excellent things for students who are grieving! I spent 9 years of my elementary and middle years working in this program with teacher leaders that took time out of their days in order to assist in our development. I would urge any school district or private school network that does not implement this program to offer it as an option for those children who suffer from grief. The activities and discussions were truly profound, although I didn’t realize it at the time! Another great organization that can provide resources and programs within your geographical region is the National Alliance for Grieving Children. I have been fortunate enough in my adult life to attend their national symposium and hear about the great things that all of these people are doing for children across the globe who suffer.
While I didn’t have my father to rely upon while growing up, I was fortunate enough to have a network of positive male role models that assisted in my development throughout my life. I am thankful for each of those individuals that have taken me on as a special someone in their lives. They have affected my life in ways that they will never fully understand and always be a part of my family. I thank them and continue to thank them from the bottom of my heart. Without their loving support, encouragement, and insight, I would not be the person that I am today.
That being said, I will always and forever only have one DAD! Happy Father’s Day, dad! Know that we love you and miss you each day!