It’s hard to believe that yet another earth’s rotation has caught up with us and found us all again celebrating Father’s Day. While it is fruitless to cram an entire lifetime of what you mean to us in one day-please bear with me as I attempt to do so, knowing full well that “every day is Dad’s day” in our hearts and our minds. Since you have been with us and beside us from the first days we wailed our way into the world….there are so many ways in which you have woven yourself into the books we read, the careers we chose, and the churches we attended. Your partnership with Mom was so complete that it is difficult for us now to determine which aspect of our lives was due to Mom’ decisions, and which to yours.
In any case this is a poor bargain, trying to enumerate everything you have made possible in my life and that you even made my life possible. How am I supposed to summarize the Sistine Chapel in a paragraph? I cannot redact this. Our story is that of countless meta- stories, involving vast numbers of people. Some of the scenes depicted are familiar, and some of them are not but we continue to discover and learn from them all.
From the time I drew breath to the time you said goodbye before I flew to Benin, I can’t imagine a time of my life without you. There was never a time when you weren’t supporting me in some way, even if it didn’t feel that way.
I can’t and won’t write all of these stories now because doing so would feel like a closing. There is no closing. there is no ending.
As we discovered when Mom passed it is never as if she were fully gone. Likewise, you are so much a part of every breath I now take. You are responsible for the breath I take.
Because even Mom’s passing (along with all of the other losses we have experienced) is ours. It is like the negative spaces in a painting where there is no color. The painting could not exist on any level without the blank spaces. The shared stillness is a level of understanding impossible without the passing of many decades. You have shown me the wisdom of silence and when it is right to retreat to it.
As my literature professor always said, “You do not have one story here; you have multiple ones and that is good and bad news.” Such is this Father’s Day message. I refuse to let it be contained into one day or event. We are ongoing, and I will add to our story and share it as it develops, as you share our family’s story with all of us.
I love you more than ever Dad, but surely not as much as tomorrow.