Father's Day for the Fatherless

9:23 AMHeather


It sounds like the dramatic voice-over narration of a movie to say that I can vividly remember the exact moment when my entire life shifted.

Except that I can.

It was just before 4:00 a.m. on Monday, May 14, 1990. I had fallen into another fitful night’s sleep in the hospital waiting room when suddenly the lights flashed on and an urgent voice summoned me.

I knew, as I ran down that hospital hallway. I knew the death vigil was over. I knew before I rounded the corner into Dad’s room.

The lasting image in my brain from that moment is not of my dad or my loved ones gathered around him. Instead, it’s the blood pressure monitor that hung on the wall above his bed. Sitting at 0. Unmoving. Unchanging. Marking the moment when my life was being completely changed because my dad’s battle with cancer was over.

When the one month mark came, I found myself facing my first Father’s Day as the fatherless. There is no etiquette or protocol for such moments in life.

There are no cultural norms or traditions to help us through these awkward seasons of grief.

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