GUIZERIX: Celebrating Father’s Day through memories

Published 4:00 am Wednesday, June 15, 2022

On my key ring, I have one keychain that’s far more valuable than the others.

It’s the last Father’s Day gift I ever gave my dad. With a silly quote about grandparents being special on one side and a picture of him and my daughter at the beach on the other, it was also one of the first things of his that came into my possession after he died this past October.

My toddler, like most small children, loves to play with car keys, and I love to hear her squeal as she jingles them and shouts “Papa!” when she sees his picture. My heart breaks a little, though, to know she’s only going to know my dad through pictures.

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As Father’s Day gets closer and closer, I’ve been contemplating how, exactly, I should mark the occasion. It’s not something I’m particularly looking forward to, from the barrage of Facebook posts with everyone else talking about how great their own fathers are or posting pictures with their dads at church or the golf course or what-have-you.

As with most aspects of grief, there is no manual for marking holidays after losing a parent.

But I think the only way to get through the dreaded day is to dwell on the good times and not focus so much on the bad.

For example, I’ll think about singing in the church choir every Sunday growing up, with my dad two rows behind me. I’ll think about how he helped coach my little league softball team, even if it meant commuting an hour home from work and going straight to the ballpark for hours — and even though I was the worst player on the team. I’ll think about the time the family went to Disney World, and he rode every ride and swam in the pool with us kids, even though he was sick.

I was lucky to have the best Daddy there ever was for 26 and a half years of my life. The older I get, the more I realize that’s true.

So this weekend, say a prayer for my brother and me and hug your own dad tight while you can — as often as you can.