This past Sunday, we celebrated Father’s Day. The boys and I enjoyed our day with Craig. We took a drive around a lake, laughed, and enjoyed spending time together.
My heart hurt, though. Not because of anything that Craig did; he is an amazing dad to our boys. It was the first Father’s Day without my dad.
It was the first Father’s Day that I didn’t mail a card out (usually late) with a gift card to Walmart stuffed in it.
It was the first Father’s Day that I didn’t call my dad.
It was the first Father’s Day of many where my memories of him will have to suffice.
Larger than Life
Growing up, I always viewed my dad as larger than life. In my mind, he was one of the tallest people I ever saw. In reality, he was round 5’11’. He grayed prematurely, so everyone thought he was older than he was. Every summer, my parents would take my brother and me on vacation. Whether it was down to St. Louis for a Cardinal game or to Ohio for fun at Cedar Point or Kings Island amusement parks, we always took a vacation.
I looked up to and idolized my dad, but things changed after those turbulent teen years. He worked third shift, and I rarely saw him. We weren’t that close and drifted apart for a while. It wasn’t until after my mom passed away, that we started to talk weekly and patched things up in our relationship. After my brother passed away, I called him daily. We always talked about work and the weather. Oh, how I wish I could talk about the weather with him again.
Grandsons and Baseball
After we found out that our first child would be a boy, we named him Grant Stanley after my dad. Twenty months and two days later, we named our second son, Connor Steven, using my dad’s middle name.
Named after the great St. Louis Cardinal player, Stan Musial, my dad was a diehard Cardinal fan from the day he was born. In my photography days, I did a lot of volunteer work for the local St. Jude affiliate. At a fundraiser a few years ago, they brought in Mike Matheny, the Cardinal manager at the time. I immediately set a plan in motion to make plans to have my dad in attendance. As I photographed the guests and Mike, my dad had one of the biggest smiles I have ever seen him have. He was happy, and most importantly, he was away from his troubles at home.
My dad, Stan and then St. Louis Cardinals manager, Mike Matheny
I’ve shared a sliver of what has happened these past few months on this blog. I have so much more to write, and quite honestly, my experiences with having a family member who was a drug abuser could fill a book. However, the timing is not right. I am still grieving. I am still angry, furious over what my brother and his wife did to my dad.
Despite all that happened in the last ten years, I find comfort in knowing that my dad is finally at peace and free from the financial strain that was forced upon him.
He also didn’t have to go through these COVID-19 times. Not being the type to sit at home and do nothing, the quarantine period and mask-wearing would not have stopped my dad from going about his daily activities. I can just hear him now, “I’ve got things to do. I don’t have time for this!”
The Last “I Love You”
The first time that I heard my dad tell me that he loved me was at my college graduation. I was 22 years old. I always knew that he loved me; he just wasn’t vocal about it. After graduation, every time we talked on the phone, he was the first to end the call with “I love you.”
The last night of his life on earth, my aunt was able to hold the phone up to him so that I could talk to him. As he struggled to breathe, I told him that I loved him, and he replied, “You know I love you, Miss!”
I know dad, and I have always known.
Happy Father’s Day, in heaven, dad!