For Better or Worse

It’s Father’s Day tomorrow, what does that mean to me now?  Actually, it still means the world to me.  Kevin, my husband, may be gone but because of him I have three beautiful children.  Like my husband, my own father is gone and has been for years, but for him I wouldn’t be here.  Father’s Day and Mother’s Day remain special and dear to me.  Without those that have lived and breathed and birthed us, where would we be?

So what to do?  It’s Father’s Day Weekend and the first without Kevin.  Needless to say, the lead up has been unsettling.  It’s an odd thing but on occasions like this the loss is twofold; the source or the reason to celebrate the occasion is now gone, and consequently, I’ve lost the celebration itself.  Both days in our house, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, were days that were underscored by love.  These are days when a visit or call from one of the kids reinforced the strength of the family.  The calls and visits always came, never begrudgingly, always genuine.

Nobody knew how to have a better time than Kevin, and the kids knew this would always be a good day.  Like every occasion where he could be the centre of attention, this was big.  Leading up to the day, he’d always say (as he did at Christmastime as well), “Don’t buy me anything.  I don’t need a thing. Don’t waste your money.”  Within an hour or so of making these statements, he would follow up with, “But, if you’re going to get me something, then buy me ….”  This list would grow exponentially over the few days leading up to the occasion.  It drove us all nuts because the things he wanted were never easy to find.  He’d want an obscure CD or DVD that no mainstream store would carry.  It could be purchased online but there was never enough lead time for delivery.

Then there was Father’s Day dinner.  This either went one of two ways.  Either we had a meal here at the house of his favourite foods (lobster, he claimed, was transcendent); or we’d go out for a meal to his favourite restaurant, an excellent steakhouse at the local casino – costly but guaranteed to deliver.  At the end of the day, he’d sit on the deck and reflect on how great his life was.  He truly was a grateful man. So many times he’d marvel at the fact that he was where he was in his life, at his accomplishments.  He’d often say to me, “Honey, if I die tomorrow, I die a happy man.  I’ve had a good life.”

He did have a good life.  He had good friends and a family that loved him to pieces.  Fortunately, I am left with those same friends and family members.  They’ve been especially kind to me as we work our way through this month.  I am a little morose, no doubt about it.  This year it’s hollow, there is no pleasure or anticipation, there are no preparations underway, no hurried purchases trying to find the one thing that might surprise him.  It was a game and we had fun playing it, but this year we can’t.  So it’s Father’s Day and it is special still.  It is a different kind of special this year, far more thankful and reflective, very sad but still needs to be recognized for what it is.  It is a day where we say thank you to the men that have shared and shaped our lives, for better or worse, until death do us part.