With Father's Day approaching this weekend, I was reminded of a blog that we posted on the Just Happy Tears page this time last year. It detailed how I had just lost my beloved Dad to cancer in April, 2018. This year, with some time and distance the pain of losing my Dad has not really lessened but changed circumstances have led me to be able to better handle the grief. Time does ease the pain, life is full of peaks and troughs. Sometimes it doesn't make sense and at other times it feels like the universe has aligned especially for you. All you can do is keep going, appreciate the good times and muddle through the bad. It's a crazy ride!
My Dad was the apple of my eye and I his. He was my guiding light, my confidant, my champion. When my beautiful mom was diagnosed with dementia eight years ago, my Dad went to extremes to fill the massive gap left behind for all of us. As I saw the light behind my Mom’s eyes become dimmer and dimmer, I saw the light in him brighten... blinding us with his love and compassion and sheltering us from the pain.
I was always incredibly close to my Mom and Dad but when faced with the prospect of losing my incredibly special relationship with my mother, my Dad really stepped up to fill her shoes. His game was strong. By the time of his death, there wasn’t a subject we wouldn’t or couldn’t discuss.
We’d Facetime a few times a day. We’d discuss the daily going’s on in our lives… from his cancer treatment to my IVF escapades. We got to spend the last six months of my Dad’s life caring for him and my husband, Trevor, became just as close to my Dad as I was. It was a special time.
Throughout my Dad’s illness, we never gave up hope. On the day my Dad died, he was still hoping…. hoping that he would get home to my Mom, his beloved Grace… hoping that he’d get better and live to see Trevor and I have a baby, hoping that he would become well enough to receive that ever elusive next round of chemotherapy. Hope was a thing that carried us through every single day. Looking back I’m so grateful that we were allowed to cling to hope until those last few hours. It allowed us to laugh, cry, bicker, celebrate the good days and tolerate the bad.
My Dad left behind a void so big that some days I still don’t know whether it will ever be bridged. The pain is still sometimes overwhelming. It doesn’t matter that he was 77. It doesn’t matter that he had been sick. He was my beautiful Dado.
Every Father’s Day, I’d send my Dad a card and a poem. On it I’d write, 'thanks for being the best Dad in the world' and every year my Dad would joke that I should change up the message. I won’t send a card this year but I’ll still celebrate the man who to me was the most amazing Dad to ever have lived. I’ll chat to him and I’ll joke with him the way I always did. I can only wish that I could see his lovely face again or ask him how his day has been.
In his final few months, my Dad spoke repeatedly about Trevor and I giving himself and my Mum another grandchild. He told the doctors... 'you'd better give me that chemo because I have to be here to babysit.' Afterwards, as we left Ireland, to return to Boston to begin our IVF journey, Trevor and I kept those words in our head. We clung to that hope that Dad inspired in us and this time last year, I wrote about championing that hope as we embarked on our first round of IVF.
I wrote about how I felt him with me everyday and how I hoped that one day my tears of overwhelming sadness for the loss of my Dad would turn to happy ones... happy tears that would allow me to celebrate him, his life and maybe understand why he was taken from us. I wrote about how I knew know those happy tears would come and how he'd help me find them.
Well I was right... our baby boy is due in just over two weeks and I know he's up there smiling down saying as he always said... 'See Lisa, I told you it would all work out, your wee Dad knows these things.'
For those of you who’ve lost your father, I hope you can find some happy tears this Father's Day. For those of you who are lucky enough to be able to call up your Dad and say I love you… celebrate and hold that privilege so close to your heart and never let it go.
Father’s Day comes and goes… each one different to the last…. some more different than others. Last year, I dreaded it. I dreaded the memories it would conjure up, the pain it would cause and the tears I would cry.
This year, we'll celebrate Trevor's looming journey into fatherhood, the memories that we will build and the happy tears that we'll cry in the weeks and months ahead. As my Dad always said... 'without the bad, you can't appreciate the good.'
Happy Father's Day to all the amazing Dads out there from everyone at Just Happy Tears :)