Father’s Day: Not a day, but a Legacy

 In Grief

“The greatest gift I ever had came from God, and I call him Dad.” (anonymous)

My children have passed over the dividing line. They have been alive more years now without their father than they were with him.

My daughter Samantha was 12 years old when her father died and Rick was just 10. They were merely children when they had to say goodbye to him after a car accident and a final 2 week stay in the hospital as a quadriplegic. Their last visual was of a motionless, mute forty-four-year old man who could only signal his love to his children with a blink of his eyes. Their older step-brother David, was a junior at Penn State, and although he was now a young man, he was also a child at heart who had to say good bye to his father too.

But previously, David’s total dedication as a father left them with many cheerful memories and that is what defined the word “Dad” for them as youngsters. Growing up they felt his love every day and his unique laugh joyfully filled their heads and hearts. Nightly bedtime stories, trips to the beach, simple games in the back yard and tending to the vegetable garden were how they spent those years. They were good years and they are treasures that they still cling to.

But now as young adults they have a different perception of “Dad”. High school, college, and law school graduations have come and gone. My daughter has gotten married and is now a mother herself to a son and a daughter just like I was twenty-nine years ago. Gone are the carefree days of their childhoods and they are each faced with job responsibilities and the usual adult concerns.

Today, as they reflect upon the early time with their father, they can truly understand his influence and the impact of his character upon theirs. Childish fun has turned into adult pride. Faded snapshots now frame a proud legacy. A passing remark from a former friend or colleague of their father leaves them smiling as if he were right there in front of them. In a way, he is. He always will be right next to them.

So as we approach another Father’s Day I marvel at their ability to hold dear their Dad’s love and admiration. They are thankful for what he has given them and for the lessons that they continue to learn from his character and reputation.

Father’s Day for them is not a just one day or a picnic on a June afternoon. It is a time for them to measure their life’s accomplishments and to celebrate their progress. These once innocent children are now sophisticated, successful adults who understand the tremendous role of a father and a love that is eternal. I am so proud of them.

And it all started with their Dad.

Happy Father’s David, I know you are watching over Sam, Rick , and David.

Happy Father’s Day to my father, I am so lucky to still have you with me!

Happy Father’s Day to all of the fathers. We love you, we need you, and we keep you in our hearts forever.

“Any man can be a father. It takes someone special to be a dad.” (unknown)


( parts pre-printed from  an Open To Hope post by Kim Meredith June 18, 2011 and soon to be included in a new book called Open To Hope: Inspirational Stories of Handling Spouse Loss )

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