Just in time for Father’s Day yesterday, I wrote about the bittersweet nature of holidays after the death of a parent and the 15th anniversary of my father’s suicide for CNN Opinion. I weaved in quite a bit into this one essay, like how we keep our loved ones with us, and hope I did the topic justice.
I’d been thinking about how hard holidays like Father’s Day can be, especially when they fall during milestone anniversary years like this year’s 15th anniversary for me. The days are both happy and sad, and maybe those two emotions can exist harmoniously. For so long, I thought I could only feel one or the other, and it’s been liberating to realize that I don’t have to “choose.”
Here’s an excerpt of the piece, in which I also looked at all the ways we incorporate loved ones we’ve lost into the big and small milestones of life (including a reference to the Royal Wedding last month!)…
Every year, I see Father’s Day cards in the store or see young kids holding their father’s hand and it hits me: My father is missing.
For years, I worried that I’d forget my father. After all, the gap between the years he was alive and the years he’s been dead was widening every day. I desperately wanted to feel like a part of him was still here, that he didn’t just vanish into the ether. As the weeks turned into months and the months turned into years, I noticed an interesting dichotomy: I was holding on to the past tighter while the memory of him seemed to be drifting further away. I’d reach for him, but he was always just out of my grasp. I was so afraid that he would simply be forgotten as time went on and our lives began to fill up with things other than grief.
You can read the full piece here and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s chat! And of course, feel free to share my essay on Facebook, Twitter or even your local refrigerator. If you share on Twitter, be sure to tag me @melissablake so we can connect! I can’t wait to hear from you! Love you all… xoxo