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Father’s Day After Losing My Papa

Father’s Day has never been eventful in my household. It means a few phone calls to grandparents and maybe a dinner, but it never was an extravaganza. Some years I didn’t even realize when Father’s Day was until the day before.

Even though the holiday never caused much of a fuss, this year is different for me. This year it feels like something is missing. It feels like there is a hole inside of me that can never be filled. It feels like a holiday that was once insignificant now means the world to me.

In anticipation of this holiday, I have begun to realize how much I take for granted every day. I have always realized that some of us take for granted having a loving family or having the ability to do whatever we want in life. Now I’ve realized I also take for granted the little things. I take for granted having the ability to take on unpaid work for the summer. I take for granted the ability to go out with friends. I take for granted the ability to celebrate holidays like Father’s Day with the people I love.

This year, I want to change that. After losing my Papa suddenly to pancreatic cancer, I refuse to take everything for granted. I will celebrate every holiday with my family like it’s our last. I will fight through every day no matter how hard. I will not take this Father’s Day for granted.

To everyone celebrating this Sunday with their loved ones, please do not take it for granted. Take in every minute. Call your fathers, enjoy the holiday. Don’t write it off as another “Hallmark holiday.”

To my beloved Papa — I miss you every day. Words cannot express how much everyone misses you. I still keep your final letter to me on my nightstand as I cannot let it out of my sight. Connor still listens to your last birthday message to him. We all still think of you constantly. Happy Father’s Day, wherever you are. We love you.

To anyone else celebrating without a loved one this Sunday, it will be OK. The holiday may seem sad at the moment, but try to enjoy it with the people still around. Do something for the person you lost. Celebrate the life the person had. I know it might seem impossible today, but we will make it through this day. It will take a lot of strength, but together we can take it on with the memory of our lost loved ones.

Two people holding a handmade sign that says "Purple for Paul" with a photo and purple ribbons

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