Facing Fathers Day Without Your Father
by Erin Darst Hein
In June we celebrate our fathers. Commercials and billboards and advertisements of every kind are full of messages about appreciating your dad. For anyone whose father has passed away, Fathers Day can be bittersweet or even downright brutal.
Last month, Lisa Cano, our Funeral Director in Charge, lost her father Rudy after a long, hard battle. I did not meet Mr. Cano but I can see his legacy in his daughter that we love. She is such a bright light for the families that we serve, and it is with a heavy heart for Lisa and her whole family that we mark Fathers Day this year without Mr. Cano.
You always hear people bemoaning Fathers Day or Mothers Day for being made up holidays that just pressure you into buying cards and flowers and picture frames - and you know what? They are. But in the end, any day that is an excuse to just stop and say “I know you already know this - but Good Lord, I love you,” is a precious day.
“Having been in the funeral business for nearly 14 years,” Lisa wrote last month, “You sometimes pray that you will have all the answers, the strength, and motivation to get through the next death be it a stranger or family. Yesterday, what had already been a long week ended in the worst day of my life- the passing of my dad. When you think of the last time you had that ugly cry face and thought nothing is fair - maybe because of a breakup, or a fender bender, or just whatever had you in a bad mood that day- let me tell you: It does get worse- way worse. My dad was not a perfect man and made many mistakes in his life, but he was the only man who has loved me unconditionally, the only man that could put me in my place (sometimes); the only man that would go through a paycheck in one day (wonder where I get my spending habits from) and a man that I will forever love. My soul is broken, my heart aches, my tears - damn it - won't stop, but I know my dad is pain free, with the people he loved that have gone before, and I hope he’s working on that rusty golf swing.”
If you are blessed enough to have your father on this Earth with you this Fathers Day, go give him a hug and savor every second of it. Go tell your dad what he means to you. Send him the silly card and the craft you made with your kids’ handprints. Be present in the moment. Hug your dad a little closer for the sake of everyone who can’t hug theirs. And then, think of someone in your own life who has lost their dad and send them a quick note. Tell them that you’re thinking of their Dad today too.
At Darst Funeral Home today. we lit a candle for all of those Dads who are gone too soon and for those of us left behind in their too-big shoes.
Happy Fathers Day to my Dad - who is a gift to so many more than just me, to my father in law who I miss every single day, to Mr. Cano who is celebrating his first Fathers Day in heaven, and to all the papas who we hold in our arms and to the ones we hold only in our hearts.
Erin Hein is the daughter of John Darst of Darst Funeral Home. She lives in Kingwood with her husband, Evan and their three children, Jack (5), Caroline (2) and Ian (8 months). You can reach Darst Funeral Home in you time of need - 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at 281-312-5656.
To read the rest of this series (originally published in Dockline Magazine), click here:
Part 1: Earliest Memories
Part 2: Holidays on a cemetery
Part 3: This Little Light of Mine
Part 4: Genealogy
Part 5: The Man Behind The Magic
Part 6: No Cancer But a Dose of Perpective
Part 7: A Year Full of Yes
Part 8: Last Moments and First Steps
Part 9: Facing Fathers Day Without Your Father
Part 10: When Children Grieve
Part 11: From Velvet to Violets: Shedding New Light on Saying Goodbye
Part 12: If it Won't Open, It's Not Your Door
Part 13: Love, After All
Part 14: New Beginnings
Part 15: Not Goodbye, Just Goodnight
Part 16: Holding Space for Dying
Part 17: Grieving and Pets: A Family Affair