The Unsent Father's Day Card

I love cards.  Giving them and receiving them. If it's your birthday, I spend a lot of time picking out the perfect card for you.  Often, I will buy cards when I find a perfect one, and save it until the occasion to send it arises.  Recently, I was digging through those saved cards and found a blank Father's Day card.

Instantly, I had an uncontrollable crying fit.

This was the second Father’s Day since my dad died in March of 2012 of lung cancer.  The first, I was just returning from a trip to France and Spain.  It had only been three months since he was gone, but that entire time is a blur.  

That’s the thing about grief.  It’s covered in layers that continue to unravel as time passes.

On a pier in Florida a few years ago with my father, brother, and stepmother.

On a pier in Florida a few years ago with my father, brother, and stepmother.

This year, instead of still feeling the shock of his death, I just miss my Dad. This is ironic considering our relationship was strained for years.  I spent much of my life being afraid of him.  Spending my childhood tiptoeing so as not to wake the beast.  Time and a LOT of therapy equipped me with the tools to mend our relationship.

The last few years of his life, we were as good as we would ever be.  

Since I couldn’t send my father that card this year, I’ll write it here.  This is what I’d want him to know.

Dad,

I miss you.  I miss discussing the random books and vitamins you would send me.  I miss calling you about car questions.  My battery died a couple of weeks ago and I felt a little lost at first because I couldn’t call you even though I knew what to do.  

When I think of you, I think of your hands.  Did you know that is one of the first things I notice about someone?  You had great hands.  They were strong but soft.  I hope the father of my children has strong yet gentle hands.  I want my own children to feel the freedom of being lifted on his shoulders to see the world differently, like I did.

Most of all, I miss the way you look at me.  You saw my strength and determination, even when I did not.  I know you not only loved me, but believed in me.  

I love you too.