First of all, to all the dads (and moms, and uncles, and brothers and other dad figures), happy Father’s Day. And I mean if you want to celebrate not having to be a father, you can do that too.
When I was little, there was much less fuss surrounding Father’s Day than Mother’s Day. My dad liked to go all out on Mother’s Day. It always sort of ended up being about what he could do, versus what my mom received. It was fun though.
I always put a lot more attention into Birthdays and Christmas because the concept of specifically setting a date aside to appreciate the concept of having a dad didn’t seem like a big deal until he was diagnosed with cancer. Birthdays are specifically your days, and Christmas is sort of the same, you know? And even while he was sick, it wasn’t a sudden shift because he didn’t outwardly present himself as a victim. Until the earthquake in Japan hit.
The earthquake in 2011 stressed him out. And everything changed from then on. He died within 2 months.
One of the last times I spent alone with him, and while he was fully conscious, was in March of 2011. He had picked me up from school after his PET scan since it was just a block away from my classes that morning. He basically told me that this was it. There wasn’t much else they could do. I think I just cried in the car the entire way home. It was actually the first, truly beautiful spring day we had that year; it was one of those Spring mornings, where the light perfectly starts to filter through the trees and sparkle over new growth – I loved them because he taught me to look for it. I now have the most complicated, contradictory, negative and crushing feeling towards it, even though I still love them.
The week or so after that he was fine. Then the earthquake hit, then everything just fell from the sky and we were in and out of Marin General for about two months. And then I had the same conversation with my mom at home, that there wasn’t anything else to do and then he was put on hospice care. He died at home after two weeks – he finished all his unfinished things. That morning I woke up and sat with him while my mom showered. He woke up for like… 30 seconds saw me, smiled and went to sleep and stopped breathing and that was it.
Basically since March of 2011, every day has been Father’s Day for me. I never realized exactly how much I knew because of him. How literally everything I like is stemmed from something my parents made us do as a family or from something we shared together. It’s so cliche to say that you never know what you have until you don’t anymore but it’s painfully true. Every day is Father’s Day.