How I got through my first Father’s day without my dad

My daddy was a loving, generous, and caring man. The most important things in his life were God and his family. He was always willing to help others out and he never judged anyone. He loved to laugh and make fun of people, sometimes too much but he knew never to take life too seriously. He was a hard worker and sacrificed so much for our family. My daddy didn’t finish middle school but he eventually took the risk to move to the US from Argentina and ended up doing what he loved, he became a tailor. It took hard work but he placed food in our mouths, a roof over our heads, clothes on our body but most importantly he loved us with all of his heart. When I was six years ago, things took a turn when my daddy had a stroke. He was in rehab for several months. He had faith in God though, he may have ended up with a limb but he owned it and became a stronger person because of it.

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When I was about twenty one, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, this caused him some pain and it was difficult for him to perform regular tasks anymore but my mom was always there for him. Just a couple of years ago they told us that he also had Alzheimer’s, this was hard news to hear. My father would forget what day it was or what he ate, sometimes he would even forget who my mom was. When I went to visit him last year, he thought I was my sister for a couple of days. My mom told me that he always remembered me, many times he would remember me as a child. Talking on the phone with him was one of the hardest things, he would always repeat himself and ask the same questions and I probably cried every time I hung up the phone. I wish I would have called him more though. But the two same things remained the same, his love for God and his family.

My plan was to go visit my family and my parents in March 2016, my daddy passed away on January 22, 2016 of a heart attack. I was two months away from seeing him, TWO. I didn’t understand, one day he was fine and the next he was in the hospital. I got the phone call from my mother at 7:30 PM and immediately went home, laid on the floor and was hysterically crying. All these thoughts ran through my head like I won’t be able to hold his hand, hug him, tell him I love him; my daddy won’t be at my wedding, my children will not met their grandpa, he won’t be here when I need someone to talk to.

For the past several months, I’ve been trying to deal with all my emotions from not only my father passing away but things that have happened in my past.

This was my first Father’s day without my dad. For the last few weeks, I’ve been worried about it, I didn’t know how I was going to process it and handle the day or what I should even do.

My original plan was to go hang gliding but I decided not to because I didn’t want to run away from my emotions, like I normally do. At my counseling session, I told my therapist that I wasn’t sure what to do on Father’s day. She then told me to ask myself, “What does a successful Father’s day look like to you? Will you do things he used to love doing? Are you going to go through pictures? Will you have honored and celebrated him?” This help me put things into perspective and for the past couple of weeks, I started thinking of what I wanted to do.

I decided that I would I spend the day remembering my father and let myself go through every emotion I would encounter. This is what my Father’s Day look liked…

Every Father’s day we would either go to Ihop or some breakfast diner to celebrate. Dad would always get the eggs sunny side up with toast, hash browns and sausage and I would always get the scrambled eggs with pancakes. So after I went to the gym, I went to Ihop to have breakfast because it was our tradition. I loved picturing my parents in front of me, laughing and smiling with each other.

 

I remember my dad always inviting me to church every single Sunday. When I was in my teens, I decided not to go anymore because I thought I had better things to do. But every single Sunday he would invite me, and every single day he would pray.. He consistently told me to pray and any chance he had he would bring God into the conversation. I truly admire him for that. It’s funny, when my parents moved to Chile I was going to church on my own without anyone asking me or telling me to, for years I was stubborn but now I know he was leading me to the right path. After breakfast, I went to church with some friends. My father was such a Godly man and he always had faith in the Lord, no matter the situation, my daddy knew everything would be okay.

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After church I went to the movies to see Finding Dory. I literally starting crying as soon as I sat down in the theater. Maybe it was because I was watching it alone, maybe it was the fact that everyone there was with their families, or just because it was Father’s Day. The movie was about Dory losing her parents and trying to find them, and of course I was tearing the entire movie. I let myself cry though. At that moment,  many memories of my father and I started rushing back to me. All the times I would sit on the floor in his work space as he was tailoring suits, or the times I would hang out outside as he was gardening. Those times were so long ago but it seemed like it was just yesterday that he was with me.

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As soon as I got home, I sat on the couch in the exact same spot he used to watch soccer. He absolutely loved soccer and probably watched it any chance he could. Wherever he is, I am sure he is thrilled that Argentina beat Venezuela on Saturday. I turned on the television and put on a soccer game because I know that’s something he would have love to do. While I was watching the game, I pulled a Father’s day card from my purse and I wrote to him in Spanish. I then got a blank piece of paper and decided to write him a letter, letting him know I’m sorry for not cherishing the time we had together but thanking him for everything that he has taught me.

The next part of my day was to watch family videos. The first one that I watched was when he visited Chile after he had a stroke and went through therapy. I just saw him smiling the whole time and every single family member was there showing him love. By this time of day, my eyes were swollen and pretty red from all the crying. The second video touched my heart. It was the first video of when I was a baby, at the beginning of the video my mother and father are sitting down on the couch and recorded a message just for me. They said that this was made so I would have memories of my childhood and that they loved me very much and that I hope I know how much I mean to them. I had no idea that they did that, it was definitely a special moment and I was hysterically crying, again. Hearing my dad’s voice again made me very emotional but it was just wanted I needed.

My friend George and his wonderful girlfriend Vicky invited me to dinner and I cannot be more thankful for them letting me be a third wheel. For a few hours, I was distracted. I was able to talk about life and smile in general. But there was never a moment in which I didn’t think about my dad. I was actually remembering that George was the first guy friend I had over to the house and I was always nervous to bring a guy over because of my dad. But my dad loved him and even with his Alzheimer’s disease he remember several of my friends and one of them being George. My father loved joking around with my friends but I loved that about him. He always made anyone feel welcomed in the house and he made them part of the family. I can still remember my dad greeting all my friends when they walked in the door.

When I got home I watched some more  videos and went through more pictures of my father. He was something special. I miss him more and more each day but he will always be in my heart.

I would say that this Father’s Day was successful to me. I cried and I laughed, I remembered all the great times we spent together, and celebrated him as best as I could. I was blessed that God choose him as my father. I could not be more thankful. It’s the strangest feeling but even though he passed away I feel even closer to him now than ever before. I understand him and I feel like he understands me and I keep learning so much more about him. I know wherever he is, he wants me to be happy and that’s what I am striving for. I will be happy for me and for him.

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For those who have lost a family member or a friend, I know, it’s one of the hardest things in the world. At times, you just want to cry and that’s fine but also do not forget to celebrate them. Death is part of life, it coming for us too. Cherish the moments you had with that person and also cherish the moments you have right now because you do not know what will happen tomorrow. Tell your loved ones how much they mean to you, make memories, enjoy life, and smile. I love my daddy very much and nothing will ever change that.

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Beautiful people, I am here for you. Whether you lost someone, are going through a hard time, having trouble finding happiness, I am here sending you love from the other side of the computer screen. Feel free to contact me and share your story with me. I love you and I hope you are able to find your joy.

3 thoughts on “How I got through my first Father’s day without my dad

  1. This is beautiful Karina. I enjoyed reading it, almost brought me to tears. Thank you for sharing your heart. Love you friend!

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  2. MI QUERIDA HIJITA, HE LLORADO MUCHO CON TODO LO LINDO QUE HA ESCRITO SOBRE SU PAPA, ME SIENTO MUY ORGULLOSA DE TENERLA Y SABER LO BELLA QUE ES , SU CORAZON CON TANTO SENTIMIENTO, LE AGRADEZCO A DIOS POR HABER TENIDO LA DICHA DE TENER A US PAPA POR TANTOS AÑOS JUNTOS Y DE ESE AMOR , NACIO NUESTRA ADORADA KARINITA, LOS AMO , MAMI

    Like

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