This Christmas is my first fatherless Christmas.
Chances are if you’re reading this you too are experiencing a fatherless holiday. I don’t know what gave you the title of “fatherless.” Perhaps it was some sort of tragedy. Perhaps it was an accident, a disease or maybe some horrific senseless tragedy. Maybe it was months ago, maybe it was years ago but there are moments when the pain is so intense that you cling onto the nearest form of life support and it feels as if you are being gutted. I now have a gaping hole in my heart that aches for not being able to shop for the perfect Christmas gift and the sound of my Dad’s infectious laugh.
Maybe you spent the last several holidays watching your real life superhero endure unspeakable pain and suffering, unable to eat, housebound with endless tubes and machines stuck all over his frail body. Maybe instead of singing “Silent Night” you silently sobbed as you helped your real life super hero use the bathroom last Christmas. Or maybe you counted the beeps on machines instead of singing “Silent Night” as you silently prayed for a Christmas miracle.
Maybe your brain knew last Christmas was your father’s last Christmas but your heart refused to accept reality. Maybe you begged God to “not be so mean” and take him because you needed him and your story wasn’t done.
That’s my story, and if you were to come to my house I would pour you a cup of tea or maybe eggnog for the holidays and we could cry together and comfort each other as we spoke of the unbearable loss of our real life superheroes.
This entire holiday season is just another agonizing reminder that my dad is no longer here and I am now a fatherless daughter. But as much as I would like to fast forward through the ho ho ho’s and holiday cheer, this holiday season is also an opportunity to honor my Dad’s legacy.
The month of December was a big deal in our home. December 1st, my birthday, kicked off the holiday season in our household. Immediately following Thanksgiving my parents raced to put up the tree and lights in time for my birthday. For as far back as I can remember my parents made a point of throwing a grand celebration because of little ole’ me. When I was younger my father would rush home with mini roses for me and long stem roses for my mom. I remember one particular birthday my father waking me up, kissing me on the forehead holding a beautiful bouquet of mercedes roses. I was only 5 years old but will never forget the magnificent bouquet of roses and the ear to ear smile on my father’s face as he said, “You will always be my baby, even when you meet your prince. Happy Birthday honey.”
I am choosing to spend this holiday season reminiscing when I was younger and believed my Dad was a real life, living breathing superman. As a child there was nothing my father could not do, in my eyes he was the strongest man in the world.
As I grew up, he continued to prove to me that he was in fact a real life superman. Throughout my divorce he was my anchor, my cheerleader and my best friend. When I fell down, he was right beside me to pick me up and wipe away my tears. As an adult I watched him bravely battle cancer proving time and time again he was the strongest man in the word.
Remember when you thought there was no better man in this world than your Dad?
Well, there still isn’t. Even in death, your father will never leave your side as long as you keep him in your heart, where he will forever stay because love never dies it only evolves.
If your Dad was anything like mine, he did not want to leave you; he never wanted to leave you because he needed you just as much as you needed him.
If your Dad was anything like mine, this Christmas, he does not want to see you heartbroken and lost. He would want nothing more than to see you smiling, happy, living your life. He would want to see you prosper…because you are his living, breathing legacy.
So to you, my friend I hope you find peace and joy as your honor your father’s legacy this season and throughout your grief journey.
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