My hands are empty. I have not bought you anything, not even a cake or a childish painting….
My daughters, (your grand-children) plan and whisper… they are so excited Father’s Day is coming! I listen to them and nod encouragingly, feeling some of their excitement rubbing off on me.
Just some. Not enough.
For I have never celebrated father’s day. Hell, when I was growing up, we had never heard of father’s Day!
So why am I here? Why am I writing this?
Knowing fully well that I do not have you here with me, that you probably will never read this?
Lets see, maybe it’s because I know what I DO have:
I have early morning walks with the sun barely out where you would point out flowers and trees and tell me their names and I would never remember…
I have the biscuit crumbs in my pockets for the kittens and pups by the roadside that you allowed me to pet and feed and play with.
I have the sunrise in the mountains through the mist rising from among the pines.
I have the mornings spent doing Mathematics set by you each day because you believed that if I could do basic Maths, I could do anything. You were right, I think.
I have the daytime jaunts with friends wearing your shirts when you were at work because a wardrobe full of my own stuff was never as trendy or comfy as yours.
I have lazy summer holidays with great food and family for company at the garden house where our bodies would be tanned and black from too much sun and swimming and cycling.
I have afternoons of turning lazy somersaults in the pond while you inspected the grounds and trimmed the ivy.
I have another afternoon when you taught me to cook eggs and we made a mess of the entire kitchen which we then cleared up, giggling like conspirators before mother woke up from her nap!
I have your gentle discipline to guide me, when a frown from you was enough. It still is.
I have yet another afternoon when I had lied to you and I watched you as you struggled to keep the hurt out of your face and I swore then and there never ever to do anything that I would have to lie to you about and I have kept my word.
I have long evenings spent watching the rays of the sun as they set over the horizon even as the kites we were flying could no longer be seen.
I have evenings infused with the clear scent of fresh gardenias plucked from our garden.
I have summer nights walking in the clear night and having the Pole Star and Orion’s belt watch over us..
I have swimming in the rain, in the moonlight, in a pool, in a lake, in a pond, in the sea……
I have lonely days and nights sitting alone in a strange hospital in a strange city watching you battle a cancer that was eating you whole.
I have lessons of strength for never once did I see your face cringe in pain as night after night I changed the dressings with my clumsy hands.
I have your eyes, tear filled with pain, but fighting still….
I have your voice, that still soothes me when I think I hear you call my name.
And I have the memories….oodles and oodles of them…
They have served me well for the past 23 years. And I know will continue to give me solace for as long as I live…
And you know what?
I will not wish you on father’s day because you cannot take a father’s love and limit it to a day. It’s forever.