Christmas Without My Father
This Christmas is my first Christmas without my father. I now have a gaping hole in my heart that aches for not being able to shop for the perfect Christmas gift for my dad and the sound of his infectious laugh.
I spent the last several holidays watching my father endure unspeakable pain, unable to eat, housebound with endless tubes and machines stuck all over his frail body. Instead of singing “Silent Night,” I silently sobbed as I helped my father use the bathroom last Christmas. My brain knew last Christmas was my father’s last Christmas, but my heart refused to accept reality.
Maybe you too are experiencing a holiday without your father. Maybe it was months ago, maybe it was years ago — but there might still be moments when the pain is so intense, you cling onto the nearest form of support, and it feels as if you are being gutted. That’s my story, and if you were to come to my house, I would pour you a cup of tea or maybe eggnog for the holidays and we could cry together and comfort each other as we spoke of the unbearable loss of our real-life superheroes.
This entire holiday season is just another agonizing reminder that my dad is no longer here. But as much as I would like to fast forward through the ho ho ho’s and holiday cheer, this holiday season is also an opportunity to honor my dad’s legacy.
The month of December was a big deal in our home. December 1, my birthday, kicked off the holiday season in our household. Immediately following Thanksgiving, my parents raced to put up the tree and lights in time for my birthday. For as far back as I can remember, my parents made a point of throwing a grand celebration because of little ol’ me. When I was younger, my father would rush home with mini roses for me and long stem roses for my mom. I remember one particular birthday my father waking me up, kissing me on the forehead and holding a beautiful bouquet of Mercedes roses. I was only 5 years old but will never forget the magnificent bouquet of roses and the ear-to-ear smile on my father’s face as he said, “You will always be my baby, even when you meet your prince. Happy birthday, honey.”
I am choosing to spend this holiday season reminiscing about when I was younger and believed my dad was a real-life, living, breathing Superman. As a child, there was nothing my father could not do; in my eyes, he was the strongest man in the world. As I grew up, he continued to prove to me that he was in fact a real-life Superman. Throughout my divorce he was my anchor, my cheerleader and my best friend. When I fell down, he was right beside me to pick me up and wipe away my tears. As an adult, I watched him bravely battle cancer, proving time and time again he was the strongest man in the word.
I remember when I thought there was no better man in this world than my dad. And there still isn’t. Even in death, my father will never leave my side as long as I keep him in my heart, where he will forever stay because love never dies; it only evolves.
So to you, my friend, I hope you find peace and joy as you honor your father’s legacy this season and throughout your grief journey.
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