Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

Not sure why Father's Day gets to me so much. It just does. It's been 4 years since I lost my Dad to cancer. Time has worked it's magic and while I miss him terribly, I've more or less stopped grieving. I get through his birthday and his yahrtzeit just fine, with a visit to his grave and some tears and prayers, but then I'm okay. His death doesn't preoccupy my mind like it used to when it was fresh. But come Father's Day, and it hurts all over again and I feel like I lost him yesterday. Maybe it's because the rest of the world is celebrating fatherhood and I can't. I'm wondering if I will feel better about Father's Day if I ever make my husband into a father. Maybe that's part of the hurt.

I had to buy my father-in-law a Father's Day card, since my husband is allergic to all things Hallmark, and this sort of thing is my designated job. It feels pretty empty to be wishing my father-in-law a Happy Father's Day; he is no more my father than anyone else is. I like him; he's a nice guy and good to my husband, but he's not my father. I've also taken to calling my inlaws Mom and Dad, which is their preference, but certainly not mine. I didn't call them that in my first marriage, but I caved this time around, since it means so much to them. It feels very fake, but sometimes in life, you need to do the wrong thing for the right reason. They are wonderful people, and they certainly treat me almost like parents. But, they're not.

I miss my father. I dreamed about him two nights ago. I was living in the house I grew up in. It was the middle of the night and my father came into my bedroom. "What's the matter, Daddy?" I asked him. "I can't sleep. I'm worried about something and want to talk to you." "Want an Ambien?" I asked him. This is where it crosses over in dream-weirdness because if I was young and living in my parents' house, I wouldn't even know what an Ambien was, let alone offer one to my father. In the dream, my father tells me something which I can't remember then hugs me really tight and leaves the room. I can almost feel that hug and I wish I could remember what he told me.

I wonder what dreams mean. Was that my father visiting me from the next world (I can't sleep.) or was that just a product of my grieving mind missing him? I wish it were the former, but I sadly know it's the latter. I do believe my father exists somewhere, but I know we can't communicate. You can't imagine how sad this makes me.

Sometimes I go through some of his things to make me feel a little closer to him. I need to be in the right frame of mind for this though. I think if I did that today, I'd melt away into grief and hysteria. Wouldn't be a good thing. I still have the sefer that was opened on his desk before he was taken away to the hospital for the last time. I keep the bookmark in the place it was opened to. Yes, I know how foolish and sentimental that is. Once, someone was going through my bookcase and took out the sefer and opened it to the mark and then almost dropped it. I nearly had a coronary, thinking that my father's place would be lost. I told a friend of mine about the sefer and she thought it was beautiful that I was holding my father's place. "You know, so that when he come back in tchiyat hamaytim (God's resurrection of the dead), he can just pick up his learning where he left off." My friend is very spiritual. It's not that I don't believe in tchiyat hamaytim. I do. It's just that it would hurt too much to personalize it and give myself the hope that someday I might see my father again. It's one thing to think about it in religious terms; quite another to think about what it might mean to me. Though I will admit, since my father's death, I do say that particular blessing in the Amidah with more kavanah.

Sorry to get so morbid on such a happy day. If you're a dad, enjoy your day and hug your kids. If you're a son or daughter, give your dad a big kiss and appreciate and love the heck out of him. And have a Happy Father's Day.


Nice Jewish Guy said...

Ya got me right there, WG. Good post.

G6 said...

I think your post was lovely.
Your actions are not silly or sentimental.
I think you just need to be a member of the "Dead Dads Club" to understand....
My father died 8 years ago, and though I too am doing much better, there was a time I would have given ANYTHING to have him appear to me in a vision such as yours... he never has.....
I do know that he is somewhere watching me, celebrating with me, (sometimes disappointed in me...) and cheering for me.
Father's day is hard though.....