The First Father’s Day Without Him
In “His First Memorial Day in Fort Logan,” I alluded to the fact that my relationship with my dad had grown a bit complicated in the later years.
I still loved him very much, but it was hard for me to be around him. Why?
Don’t know. That’s something I’m still trying to work out. Maybe because I’d lost respect for him? I know that plays a factor. And might be a post for another time. If I can ever bring myself to write it.
I’m not sure exactly what happened, or why I found it easier to make excuses not to visit with him than to go see him. But that’s what happened.
Here’s the thing, though. Once upon a time, my dad hung the moon in my eyes.
I’d rather focus on that now instead of when it all started to sour.
I fondly remember the time I was his little buddy. Monkey. That was his nickname for me.
I loved spending time with my dad. Unlike my mom, he didn’t seem to mind my presence. He’d listen to me. He’d talk with me. He’d spend time doing things I liked, like taking me fishing, to the bookstore or to the video store.
I was looking for Father’s Day cards for Wayne when it hit me. Wayne’s dad is gone. His grandpa is gone. Now my dad is gone. This is the first Father’s Day not having to agonize over cards in the store for my dad.
What to send him was always a dilemma. Something sappy recalling a happier moment from my childhood? Or something funny?
It usually depending on what kind of mood I was in and how irritated I was with him.
Sadly, towards the end I was irritated more and more. For whatever reason. Some seem silly now. Some are still very much touchy topics with me.
But the point is, it does hurt a little not to have to buy a card this year.
But there’s also some relief.
I don’t have to pretend that even though I loved him, I didn’t always like him. I don’t have to send a card because it’s expected. Even if it wasn’t expected by him, I expected it of myself.
Speaking of expectations, something that hit me unexpectedly after the funeral was when we were back at his girlfriend’s house (who he lived with) and I saw his chair. His old, beat up chair that he’d never sit in again.
Omg it has to be thirty years old at least. Probably older. Thirty-five?
I remember when he got it. It was after the divorce but I don’t know how much after. I was nine when they broke up. I’m fairly sure he had it by the time I turned twelve, if not before.
I loved this chair. I’d take it over when I could when I’d visit him. It was fun to curl up and read in, or watch a movie in.
It smelled like my dad. And it was soft and comforting. It was a calm place amidst what could sometimes be the sad or chaotic mess that was my life with my mom.
I couldn’t bring myself to sit in the chair after the funeral, and I sure didn’t want to ask if I could claim it and bring it back to our house. But I found it important to take photos of it so I could have it as a keepsake that way.
It was one of the two most iconic symbols of my happy memories with my dad.
The other being his old truck.
That I know was 40 years old. It was a 1977. He got it when I was seven.
We had a lot of great trips in that truck. Camping. Fishing. Just riding around with my dog Mackie on our weekend visits to my dad’s place.
My dad built me a little bed in the back. In summers I’d play outside in the truck, climbing through the window into the cab and back again. (I don’t remember exactly why. Some game I’d play with myself that I don’t entirely remember. I was alone a lot so I had weird ways of amusing myself.)
Anyway, the first twelve years of my life with my dad were golden.
That part of me remembers how it was and is still so perplexed about why it all changed. Or had it always been that way and the naivety of youth shielded me from the truth?
I’ll probably never know, but the part of me that remembers the good times is hurting today as it mourns the first Father’s Day without my dad.