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Father's Day Card

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Today is Father’s Day. I don’t expect to hear from either of the kids. It’s not that they would intentionally choose not to call. It’s just not the kind of thing they’d ordinarily think to do. Maybe later in the week my daughter will call and apologize for forgetting. I’ll tell her not to worry.

It’s not all that important. Besides, she has her own life now and so does her brother. The work of fathering is mostly behind me.  

Neither will they remember that today is also the anniversary of your death. Nor should they remember. It’s not as though you were their real mother. You were just someone their father fell in love with after the divorce. To be honest, I almost forgot myself. It had crossed my mind several times last week, but when I woke up this morning and got on with my day, it hadn’t occurred to me what day it really was.

I do think about you though. Constantly. There are many memories. Some bring sighs. Some provoke a smile. Some – admittedly fewer now – send a chill straight through me; an cold ocean wave that knocks me off my feet and sends me sprawling.

Sometimes, mostly late at night, I will call out to you in the darkness. I will ask questions of you.  “Where are you?” “What’s it like there?” “Are you happy?” “Why did you have to die?” “Why can’t you show me some kind of sign; some tangible gesture that would tell me you still exist somewhere in this universe?”

I know such questions are futile. I know that even if something of you still remains in this world, you couldn’t reach out to me with your words, or your reassurances, or your gentle touch. I so know this to be true, but it doesn’t prevent from asking the same questions, over and over.

This morning, I decide to straighten up my desk, something I do every couple months. It’s not as though I perform this task with much enthusiasm or deliberation. I simply take the one great pile of letters, bills, cards and receipts lumped on the desk and divide it into two piles: one pile of items obviously no longer of any value and another pile of things that I promise I will look through sometime in the future. I toss the first pile in the wastebasket. I move the other, now smaller pile into the center of the desk and the process of accumulation will begin anew. Two months from now, I’ll do it all over again.

As I sort through the piles this morning, as usual I don’t look at anything very carefully. It doesn’t take much discrimination to cull the garbage from items that need to be saved. I glance. I decide. Garbage. Save. Garbage. Save. And so on, until I tire of the exercise and go on to something else.

This morning is different. One item catches my eye. I don’t know why. It's a greeting card. I don’t remember receiving it. There is nothing special about it. It has a pleasant photograph with pleasant bit of wisdom inscribed across the bottom. I could easily slide it into the wastebasket without a second thought. But I don’t. For some reason I stop, pick it up and look inside. It is a Father’s Day card. It's from you. Another icy wave rushes over me.

I then do remember the card. It was a long time ago. You’d given it to me because you knew my children wouldn’t think to send one themselves. You thought that someone should remember, and so you did. You left it for me on the kitchen table where you knew I’d see it when I got up to make breakfast. It was a very lovely gesture, something we would laugh about later in the morning. I must have then tucked the card away some place, where it remained until I unearthed it again this morning.

How did this happen? Six months after your death, on the anniversary of your death, on Father’s Day, I receive this card from you again. Surely this must be some kind of sign, don’t you think? It couldn’t be mere coincidence, could it? Let me know. When you can. 

Comments (5)

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Thanks ug. I find so much of what you wrote has transpired in my own life. If this is something that has happened to you, my condolences. I am going to call my wife right now and thank her for the father's day card she left for me yesterday. ...

Thanks ug. I find so much of what you wrote has transpired in my own life. If this is something that has happened to you, my condolences. I am going to call my wife right now and thank her for the father's day card she left for me yesterday. The only one I got, the only mention of father's day, from her, and my stepdaughter, and then the call to my own dad. Divorce takes so much from you, so much. Such silences from ones' children, I feel sometimes as if I deserve them. Ah, but forget it, forget it, Thanks. Your piece was meant to be read by me if I can be so selfish. We do not know if tomorrow we will be with our loved ones. But today, there is today.

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This piece to me is very tender... a look into you that I don't think I have seen before... very touching really The unexplained? It appears you may not have spent Father's Day so alone after all... Happy Belated

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Alberto and WickedW, thank you both. Let me try to respond to some of what you've written. Yes, Alberto, it is a true story, although I fudged a few details to make it a bit more comprehensible. And thank you. Your condolences are much...

Alberto and WickedW, thank you both. Let me try to respond to some of what you've written. Yes, Alberto, it is a true story, although I fudged a few details to make it a bit more comprehensible. And thank you. Your condolences are much appreciated. And yes, Alberto, please do be selfish. That is the privilege and responsibility of the reader.

And Wicked, I try not to reveal my true self very often, which is why the veneer of fiction and the anonymity of the Internet have such appeal for me. Sometimes I slip up, especially when something comes at me fast like this experience did. I knew it was a very strange, wondrous event and I wanted to capture it in its immediacy and rawness before before my inhibiting filters mangled it beyond recognition.

I didn't though intend this to be a lament about a father's loneliness. My kid's and I are fine with each other, thank God. We just don't put much stock in Hallmark prescribed holidays. Instead, I think this is more about both loss and the goodness we must find in ourselves in order to recover from such losses. You know, I've still got some work to do in that regard.

Finally, thanks again, especially for the "Happy Belated" and the assurance that today is indeed today. I'm the better for still being in it. I am very grateful for your thoughts. Ug

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Ug, every once in a while a piece of work hits our site that makes me choke up, tear up, and become so emotionally attached to it's content. As I've gotten older the emotions of the true essence of me boils to the top and overflows when something...

Ug, every once in a while a piece of work hits our site that makes me choke up, tear up, and become so emotionally attached to it's content. As I've gotten older the emotions of the true essence of me boils to the top and overflows when something so touching as this piece is read. I tell you it's one of the best I've read in a long time. My dad died in 1985, was my stepfather from 2 years old, and loved me uncontrllably and so I still talk to him daily, and this prose just leveled me "Truly". Thank You for such an unforgetable moment of rememberance.

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Vangoman. Hi. I really don't know what to say except thanks. I am so touched that the story brought you such evocative memories. It's funny. I belabor the fictional stuff so much, but this just sort of found its way onto the page in the first...

Vangoman. Hi. I really don't know what to say except thanks. I am so touched that the story brought you such evocative memories. It's funny. I belabor the fictional stuff so much, but this just sort of found its way onto the page in the first moments after I discovered the greeting card. I knew something extraordinary had just happened and I simply wrote it down. Truth is not only stranger than fiction; it sometimes is completely wondrous. Thanks again for your thoughts. You are incredibly kind. Ug.

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