There are several days a year I stay off of social media, and one of these days is Father’s Day.
People say holidays are some of the toughest times to be without loved ones, and they’re right. Since losing my father in March of 2012 and my grandmother in February of 2013, holidays are simply not the same.
There’s this indescribable feeling inside, much like emptiness, and sometimes social media further perpetuates this unwanted feeling. It’s hard enough knowing you cannot make ‘new memories’ with the loved ones who have passed and reminders are simply undesirable.
However, this is not to say I don’t find a way to remember the both of them.
On days that serve as a constant reminder my father is no longer with us, I honor him by cracking jokes that would earn a ‘high-five’ from him, let alone the tears running down his face from laughing so hard. I honor him by wearing a black shirt, not because you adorn black clothing for mourning, but because he often wore black as it looked more slimming.
I call these my coping mechanisms during the holidays. I don’t expect anyone else to understand why they work for me – they just do.
In my office next to my desk, I have a leaning shelf bookcase, and on one of the shelves is an award he posthumously received from the National Association of the Deaf, as well as several of my favorite pictures of the two of us. I often look over to this shelf, especially when I need a boost of confidence or motivation.
I also find comfort and inspiration in presenting to people. Not just getting up in front of people, but sharing stories that “hit home.” My father was quite selfless, often putting people before himself, even while fighting cancer. The stories I share are a testament to his character, especially as I share our family’s experiences in him fighting cancer. He was quite private about his arduous battle with cancer, but I know he would want me to share the stories to better other people’s lives.
The two of us were so close, and many thought we were brothers. To this day, I often hear, “you are your father’s son.”
Yet, the two of us have our differences, not necessarily bad ones. While the two of us thrive in working with other people, he wasn’t much for being in the limelight and having all eyes on him. At the last Hanukkah party my father hosted, he asked me to go up on the stage to start off the festivities. I remember questioning him in the moment, and he gave me this look, one telling me not to question him any further.
When looking back, I wonder if that was his way of ‘passing the torch’ over to me, for lack of better words.
It is moments like this that leave me wondering, but never do I forget his perseverance and commitment to his family.
I miss you every single day, Dad.