Each June we celebrate Father’s Day and we honor those men in our lives who either happen to be our birth father or those that have played a “father” role to us.
First and foremost, I must say that God could not have given me a better father and I could not be more grateful to God for the wonderful man my father is and always has been.
I’m aware that some of you may not have had a positive or loving experience with your own father or the father figure in your life but I would like to share some reflections from my own experience.
My own father is in very poor the health these days and so I cherish this coming Father’s Day in a way that is much different than years past. This year is not about shirts, ties, golf books, or any other novelty that my father may “like.” This year is simply about being together and cherishing the bond and love that we have shared over my last 40 years.
I have never met a man that was more gentle, compassionate and generous than my father. My father sacrificed everything for me as well as for my brothers. There is no aspect of myself that was and is not loved by him.
Oh yes, I’m sure I gave him his share of gray hairs but regardless I always knew at my deepest level that I was loved by this man and nothing and no one would ever change that.
My mind flashes back a lot these days to better times and I remember the many moments that we shared together. There is an element of deep sadness to see such a decline in a man that was always so very active and “sharp minded.” However, I choose not to focus solely on the sadness and decline but on the new things that we are creating together in whatever time we have left to share.
These are the important gifts this father’s day: the cherished memories of old and new, the ability to just “be” present with each other whether that includes talk or silence. There is also the gift of being able to share my father with those in my life, particularly my sisters in community…those sisters that he has come to love and respect very much over the years. Oh, how he wishes he could make another trip to “The Woods” but physically he is unable to do so. So, we share stories about “The Woods” each time I return from a trip there and I update him on all his “girlfriends.”
My father has been the one person that has truly embraced my religious life choice and has loved and respected that choice from day one…even when he was “worried about his baby.” I don’t care how old I am, I think that label will always be with me. His only care in the world is that I am happy and peaceful and, yes, safe from the many long drives I make.
My only care in the world for him is now the same as his has always been for me…his happiness, his peace, as well as his safety as we entrust him to caregivers.
My promise to him for all that he has done for me: to love him to the best of my ability, to care for him even with professional caregivers involved, to make the right choices that result in what is best for him and to hopefully be the best daughter I can be.
In thanksgiving to our God for him, in thanksgiving to him for his many years of undying unconditional love, I now care for him as he has always cared for me.