It’s Father’s Day, and today I thank my lucky stars that I get to have dinner with this man:
That’s me in the middle. I’m very lucky, I know, and not just because I’m clearly the cutest.
This day brings me happiness because I am so blessed to have not only the most amazing Dad, but also because he lives nearby and I can see him whenever I choose. (And sometimes even when I don’t choose, since he has most recently discovered Face Time. He prefers it over a simple text or even a phone call and often loves to surprise me at the most inopportune moments.) I do not know the pain of a Father’s Day without my Dad, and for that I am most grateful.
This day also got me thinking about Ben (when do I not think of him?) and all he has been denied. He has been denied Fatherhood, plain and simple. But perhaps even more significantly, this day highlights all that our kids have been denied by his death. They have been denied their father watching proudly as they receive their diplomas. The girls have been denied their father walking them down the aisle and twirling them on the dance floor on their wedding day. Zak has been denied the movies and concerts he so enjoyed with his Dad. They have all been denied seeing their dad hold their own children someday. They have been denied that feeling of safety they had for such a brief portion of their lives. That feeling we all take for granted.
All of that is terrible. In fact, “terrible” is not a strong enough word. It is nothing short of tragic.
However, as Ben said on April 24, 2015, “I remind myself that there are over 7 billion people in the world today and I guarantee, without any doubt, that there are a lot of people that have it worse than me.”
It is true that my kids have been denied many things that we often take for granted, but I think it is so important that they realize and remember they have been equally blessed. They have been taught valuable lessons by how Ben lived his life, and they received more love and commitment from him in 14, 16 and 19 years than many do in a lifetime. For however short of time they had him, they were blessed with a dedicated and loving father who set a positive example of how life should be lived without whining and complaining. And while many others will have their Fathers for much longer, none of them will have been lucky enough to call Ben “Dad.” Only my children have that privilege, and not even death can take that away from them.
Today there will undoubtedly be some tears shed, but with each passing year it is my hope that the pain of loss and grief loosens it’s grip on the kids just enough to allow them to remember their Dad’sa smile, and to be grateful that they were blessed with the #1 Dad. Quality over quantity. I hope they always remember that he was the kind of Dad who was willing to send pictures of himself in socks and sandals, farting and drinking beer, just so they could make a Father’s Day video for him a few years back to show their love…
And I hope they remember that he was the kind of father who inspired a 19 year old boy to give such a loving and heartfelt eulogy that many in attendance told me afterwards that it moved them to strive to be better fathers.
So here’s to my own Dad, this Father’s Day. Thank you for all that you are. Thank you for demonstrating for me what a Dad should be and for providing me with the example I sought to find (and did find) when choosing my own husband. It’s not possible to adequately express my gratitude, but I do hope I have been the kind of daughter who has managed to let you know how much you are loved. (Ages 14 to 18 aside. Maybe you could try to forget those years.)
And here’s to Ben.
You were a great Dad.
You are remembered every day.
Your kids loved you loudly….
… and they will always remember you as the Dad who shamelessly tooted whenever he felt like it.
Happy Father’s Day, Ben. Thank you for being the kind of Dad who’s children grieve for you now because they loved you so much. Thank you for being the kind of Dad who’s children strive to live their best lives because that’s what you taught them.
You are forever loved and missed.