For six years of Father’s Days, we were childless.
We had been childless before that, but for those six years we fought infertility, with little hope that we would ever receive the Father’s Day torch.
Then, finally, the miracle borne of medical science, excellent insurance and piles upon piles of money bestowed upon us the next six years full of jubilant Father’s Days.
Six years of Father’s Days overflowed with handprint paintings and homemade frames, of ridiculous cards selected by giggling little boys.
Now it is done.
Six was our allotted number of Father’s Days.
My children now embark on a lifetime of Father’s Days without their dad. A lifetime of deciding who should receive the gifts made at school. A lifetime of turning away from the card section of the store. A lifetime of loss.
This year the holiday feels insurmountable. His death so recent, his memory so vivid, it feels like I will see him grumbling down the stairs at any moment. We don’t know what to do with this holiday or with each other. We want him back.
How will it be in another six years of Father’s Days? Will they remember him — really remember him? Will they remember his hugs, his smell, his laugh? Will they feel the loss of him, or will they feel the absence of an abstract “dad” figure? Will they be sad that he is no longer with us, or resentful of the other kids who are celebrating?