November 24 this year, would be my parents 42nd wedding anniversary, but this past February marked the 5 year anniversary that he’s been gone. This weekend is hard for so many people that have lost their father’s because there’s an “empty chair” where Daddy should be. For me, from Thanksgiving until the date of his passing is the most difficult for me, but this weekend (Father’s Day) is equally tough. Some days it feels fresh and raw, like a bruise. Other times, I just miss him.
On his birthday my mom, my kids and myself usually get together and have a spaghetti dinner. My daddy was amazing at making spaghetti. I still don’t know what he did to make it taste so great, maybe it was the love and time he took making it. I remember his calling me into the kitchen and asking me to smell it and tell him what it needed. I don’t know that he ever took my advice because I was just a kid, barely able to reach the stove in the beginning, but I loved being in the kitchen with him. On his birthday, we’ll enjoy a slice of cheesecake and drink sweet tea, light ice of course. We’ll blow out candles and my kids let balloons go for “Grunky to catch in Heaven.” Those were my Daddy’s favorite things.
On Christmas he would always make pancakes, so that’s something I do with my own kids. The 3 P’s… pajamas, presents, and pancakes. I also watch A Christmas Story on repeat Christmas Day partially because I can see him rolling his eyes! He HATED that movie. Sometimes it’s the things that annoyed us the most that we miss the most.
Then comes the anniversary of his passing. The first year my mom, aunt and myself went to Denny’s. Not really my favorite but my Daddy loved it. Then the next few years my mom and I have hopped around based on what we think he wouldn’t have liked! We sit around and talk about how much he would have hated where we were and then we laugh. Not out of disrespect but because my Daddy was tough as leather sometimes and anything new or waiting in line wasn’t his thing. He’d been known to leave doctor’s appointments if he felt like he’d waited too long!
And on Father’s Day, I long to see him. I long to hear his voice. I long to have his strong arms wrap around me with one of his big hugs. The first Father’s Day he was gone I went to his grave and took a plaque that had the kids hand prints on it. I talked to him about how they were growing and how we all missed him. I told him about how we were all doing and how life was so different without him. I left the plaque there and I haven’t been back. I felt close to him there, like he was near me, but now I know he was; he was in my heart where he will always be.
Happy Father’s Day, Daddy! I miss you and love you each and every day.