Saturday, June 18, 2016

Fatherless Father's Day

Every year there are three bittersweet days for me: my father's birthday (March 22nd), the day of his death (July 11th; coincidentally also St. Benedict of Nursia's feast day, patron of the dying), and Father's Day. Sweet because I'm reminding of the father I had and bitter because he's no longer here.

I can't tell you how annoyed I get when stores begin to send me their "Get your father the best gift..." emails. I want to reply "My father died years ago; please stop reminding me." I don't but I certainly think it with every email I get. Best Buy is especially annoying when it comes to that, by the way. I think I received no less than 5 emails about it over the last week or two.

It's so easy to dwell on the pain of no longer having my father here with me. Yes, even though he's been gone for almost 7 years now (7 years in a couple of weeks), it's not easy and it never will be. Though the pain is not as raw as it was years ago, I still miss him terribly. I don't think anyone ever fully "recovers" from their parents' deaths but we can be at peace knowing they're in a better place. My faith has helped me be and stay at peace even during particularly difficult moments.

Though things are hard, I've chosen not to dwell on them. Instead, I give thanks to God for having given me a wonderful father for the first 24 years of my life. I'm thankful that my father (who was notorious for forgetting my birthday every year) returned to the Church the day before my 24th birthday (his birthday gift to me), confessing to a priest and then receiving the Eucharist after being away from the Church for over 40 years. I'm also thankful that, the day before his death (almost exactly 24 hours before), a different kind of Father (a priest) came to administer the Last Rites to my father.

I choose to be thankful for all the men in my life who have been there for me since my father's death. First of all, shout out to God who is my heavenly Father and keeps loving and guiding this imperfect daughter of His. I'm grateful for my "big brother" (an older cousin who is like a brother to me), Pedro, who stepped up and became the "man of the house" in the years following my father's death until Mom and I were able to stand on our own. Seeing him with his own kids reminds me that there are good loving fathers out there. For my friends who became "uncles" and "big brothers" to me (and who have families of their own), who checked in on me (and still do), who've help guide me and have given me guy advice over the guys, I can't thank enough. And, last but certainly not least, to the Fathers (priests) whose guidance has helped both my mother and I grow spiritually in the last couple of years.

Even though I don't have my earthly father living anymore, I'm going to keep celebrating the other men in my life -- family members, those who are like family, my friends who are raising their children up beautiful, my priest friends (and priests in general). I'm going to pray for those who are hurting (those who've lost their fathers like I have), those who never knew their fathers, those who are fathers and are loving fathers to their children, and those who are fathers but don't know how to be fathers to their children's lives for whatever reason. I'm also going to pray for my future husband, that God helps him become the kind of father our future children need.

Maybe I should rethink the title as it seems that I won't have a fatherless Father's Day after all; not with all the wonderful father figures in my life. :)

Anyway, these are my thoughts on the day. To all my readers who are fathers (either biologically or spiritually), thank you for all the hard work and sacrifices you do for your children. I hope you have a lovely Father's Day tomorrow. :D

I hope y'all (men and women) have a great weekend. :D

As always, thanks for reading and God bless! :D

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