“Fatherless” Father’s Day + Writing + Keeping a Tradition

Sigh. This is a special blog post.

Maybe I should wait to post it on Monday, after the day?

No.  I’ve decided that today, two days before the day is better.

Perhaps it’s because I don’t know what to expect this Father’s Day. Or better yet, I don’t know how I will feel this Father’s day. Rather than carry the feelings through to Monday, I’d rather just deal with them on Sunday and start Monday as fresh as possible (no guarantees).

My dad died two years ago, yet this is my third year celebrating Father’s day without him.  2009 was excruciating. 2010 was  sad, but tolerable. 2011, not sure yet, but I do know that this year, I’m doing something different.

I am celebrating Father’s day. My dad may no longer be here physically, but he is here through me and he will be in my thoughts on Sunday, which makes him very much alive on Father’s Day. I have decided to write my Dad a card. I’m not buying a card, instead I’m writing out a card I made (you can check out a photo on my flickr stream).

I don’t know what I’m going to do with the card after I write it, but rather than act like my feelings for Father’s Day don’t exist, I’m going to embrace those feelings. Heck, I’m going to cry if I want. I probably will also wrap myself in his sweatshirt for most of the day.  And I’ll deal.  I’ll survive thanks to dealing with my feelings, but also with the therapy that writing often provides me.

The idea of writing a card to my Dad comes from a very wise 8-year-old cousin of mine.  My Dad’s birthday that passed after he passed away, was crushing for me. While walking through the card aisle at a Duane Reade, I expressed my sadness at not being able to buy a card for my dad and my cousin said, “Sara, you can still buy him a card and write in it and then bury it.” I thought she was nuts! Okay, nuts is too strong a word, but I didn’t see the point. I actually found it wasteful not just of materials, but of my time.  Now, two years later, I don’t see it as a waste of time at all.

When I think about it, this is no different from me mailing postcards of my various travels to my dad still. The difference though is that rather than mail the cards to my Dad, I mail them to my aunt, his sister. She then puts them on her fridge. I also know that she reads them out loud upon receiving them so that my Dad can hear the message.  I know it makes her happy and it makes me happy. It keeps me feeling connected.

I don’t know what I’ll do when my aunt is no longer with us, but I hope that by then my need to mail something tangible to my dad has passed. If it doesn’t, then I’ll just keep the cards after I write them. No harm there.

I know that many approach the holiday as a Hallmark holiday and while everyone celebrates it (or almost everyone), a lot of people whine about how it’s a holiday created by a company to sell more items.  This is a valid point and I agree.  I’ve always agreed, even though I always celebrated the holiday as best I could with my dad (kind of difficult when you live in a different state then him). Yet I don’t think that those people who do whine, realize the impact and the importance of the day until they celebrate a “fatherless” Father’s Day.

Having a “fatherless” Father’s day reminds you of the moments and the expressions that a child and father can have and exchange. While dreading the holiday the past two years, I’ve also always reflected on the things that I loved about my dad and the moments that we had. That’s the real beauty of the day. It’s also something that we should all strive to do with or without a holiday-remember the memories and continue to make more.

I know that my father always enjoyed when I communicated with him be it by phone or mail. I know this because my brother told me as he cleaned out my Dad’s belongings that he found a box full of cards, post cards and movie stubs. They were from us three children-movies he had taken my youngest brother to see,  and cards for holidays and post cards from trips I had sent him over the years.

I’m crying as I write this post because the emptiness from losing my Dad is as strong as ever. The second year is harder than the first.  I’m also crying because I believe that every step I’ve taken to move S2 Stationery and Design to real business status has been with the guidance and assistance of my dad from above. He’s been my pixie dust, my Tinkerbell, my bull-dog angel.  The importance that he placed on my writing to him is just another way that I realize he’s always been there, but is especially here now.

So I’m ready for this Sunday, June 19th and every other future Father’s day. I get to continue a long ago tradition with a new twist.  I’ve got my card and pen ready as well as most of my thoughts.

To all my male readers out there, I wish you all a great Father’s Day.  To my female readers, I hope you help create a happy day for the men in your lives that are all fathers. To my own Dad, Happy Father’s Day! I love you big man.


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s2 stationery & designs

A rule-breaking designer, artist & entrepreneur who's passionate about paper and handcrafting stationery. I also write, travel, and focus on eco + social good.

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