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anne mikolay 2018Our nation’s first Father’s Day was celebrated in Spokane, Washington, in 1910. Slowly, the holiday spread. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge urged state governments to observe Father’s Day; however, the occasion did not become a nationwide holiday in the United States until 1972. Today, we set aside the third Sunday of June to honor fathers. June 16, 2019 is Father’s Day. It is also my first without my father, who passed away in December last year.

I sat down today intending to write this column about my dad. I hoped to share with you his childhood, how he, the product of a broken home and a troubled path, became a steadfast family man and devoted father. I planned to tell you about Dad’s twinkling Irish eyes, his trademark New York Yankees baseball cap, the happy, little hop in his step, his love of tea and apple pie. But I can’t. I don’t know how to piece the words together, just as I do not yet know how to make sense of my grief over his loss. This, then, will be a different kind of Father’s Day for me. There will be no special card for my Dad this year, no sentimental words penned therein, no John Wayne DVD or blue argyle sweater to give him, no Daddy/daughter time, no hug. I don’t yet know how to write more than this about him. Suffice to say my Dad was a complicated, unique individual, with a heart of gold. I miss him deeply.

For all daughters and sons who, like me, are learning this year to live our “new normal” without our beloved fathers, I wish for you peace in your memories, love in your heart, and I offer you these words that perhaps will express your emotions, as they do mine.

In Loving Memory of My Dear Father (author unknown)

God saw you getting tired

And a cure was not be to be.

So, He put His arms around you

And He whispered, “Come to me.”

With tearful eyes, we watched you.

We watched you fade away.

Although we loved you dearly,

We could not make you stay.

A golden heart stopped beating,

Hard-working hands at rest.

God broke our hearts to prove to us,

He chose to take the best.

It’s lonesome here without you.

We miss you more each day.

Life doesn’t seem the same

Since you have gone away.

When days are sad and lonely,

And everything goes wrong,

We seem to hear you whisper,

“Cheer up and carry on!”

Each time we see your picture,

You seem to smile and say,

“Don’t cry. I’m in God’s hands.

We’ll meet again someday!”