Yesterday was Fathers’ Day. It’s always a bittersweet celebration for me because I lost my dad 7 years ago. And although I have plenty of good memories, nothing can quite fill the void that’s left when a loved one passes away unexpectedly. He’s no longer around for me to show him how much I love and appreciate him for who he was to me and to our family. I wished he lived longer to see all I have accomplished so far. I especially miss his wisdom, advice and calm approach to crises. I still vividly remember the day I found out my dad had died. It was the day before I had to defend my undergraduate thesis (yes, I had to write and defend a thesis to graduate) and two weeks before I walked across the stage to receive my Bachelor of Arts in Biology. Instead of celebrating my biggest accomplishment at the time with my family, I was also in mourning. Instead of making fun plans for the summer, I was making travel arrangements to go home for a funeral. My worst nightmare had come to pass. It wasn’t until I stood in front of the hundreds of people who showed up to celebrate his life and mourn him, reading the tribute that it finally hit that my dad was gone from this earth. I would no longer be able to talk to him whenever I wanted, email him to complain about one thing or other or laugh at a joke he’d told a hundred times. I was daddy’s girl through and through. My love for reading came from him. I like to think that I inherited his work ethic, perseverance, determination, calm and collected demeanor and commitment to giving back to society. He pushed me to work hard and to take my studies seriously because he believed that would make me successful in life. I hope he’s proud of the woman I’m becoming. He wasn’t perfect by any means but he loved us and provided for us. Although I have managed to live without him, days like Fathers’ Day remind me so clearly of my loss. However, I am also reminded that I do have another father – a heavenly father who loves me more than my earthly father ever did (and he loved me a whole lot). In the words of one of my favorite songs “He Knows My Name”, I am reminded of God’s constant presence in my life “I have a father; He calls me his own, He’ll never leave me no matter where I go” and this makes the hard days easier to bear.
Happy Fathers’ Day to all the amazing fathers out there. Your children love and appreciate you. And to the mothers who’ve had to play the double role of father and mother: you’re the real MVP!