The Wall Street Journal had an article about how fathers and adult daughters could strengthen their bonds. Advice included spending more time together and trying to get to know each other better. The article suggested asking questions such as “what accomplishment are you most proud of?” and “how are you like or unlike your parents?” instead of talking about sports, politics, pop culture, or other mundane things.
All good advice. But to me it’s simply a reminder of just how much I’m missing out on having a “grown up” relationship with my dad.
My father died after a very sudden bout with lung cancer. Although we saw it coming, his death still caught our family by surprise. I was about to turn 30 and about to have his first grandchild. I had been married for two years but had initially not planned to start having children yet. My pregnancy was, in effect, by demand. The first words he said to me after his cancer diagnosis was “where is my grandchild?” He had been asking for years and this time I had no choice but to comply. It was no coincidence that I gave him the good news on Father’s Day. I told him he would have to wait until January to see his dad’s day present.
He would never see my daughter born. I would never get to see him as a grandfather. I will never get to talk to him about my own joys and challenges as a parent myself and he will never again be able to give me the sensible and practical advice I depended on.
Of course I miss him. But most of all, I feel robbed of what I feel should have been. This Father’s Day I will continue to celebrate all fathers, most especially my husband who stays home to raise our kids while I build my career. But I will also mourn the fact I can no longer greet my dad, and worse, can never get to ask him what he felt his proudest accomplishment was.