As Father’s Day approaches it serves as a big reminder that not all of us will be celebrating.
I have many friends that have had their dads pass away, and my heart goes out to all of them because they didn’t chose to not celebrate Father’s Day. However, my heart also goes out to those who have had to make the very hard decision to say good bye to their fathers, not because they’re no longer around, but because they were toxic to our lives.
I know that these two things are not the same, but I can speak from first hand experience and the heart that it doesn’t make this day any less painful, or act as a big reminder that many of us have had to say goodbye to someone who we once called Dad.
While I may not have physically lost my father, I have had to deal with the feelings of loss, and although I know he exists somewhere in the world, it doesn’t change the fact that he is no longer in my life.
Many of you will not understand why so many of us have had to let the men in our lives, who were supposed to be our father figures go, but for all of you who do, know that I get it.
I know what it feels like to wish you had a male role model in your life to show you how to be a man, or what it feels like to be a daddy’s girl. I know what it feels like to wish you had someone to go to when you just needed a big bear hug, or have conversations about life with. I know what it feels like to wish you could go to you dad and ask for advice on life, money, love, or any number of topics that you see your friends go to their dads for. I know what it feels like to wish you had your dad around to take care of your mom, who doesn’t know how to take care of herself. I know what it feels like to wish you had that built in support that comes from a dad. I know what it feels like to be reminded that you don’t have your dad around, and that he was never really that nice to you, but you tried so hard to make him like you.
It’s a hard thing to explain to anyone how you could cut someone out of your life, especially a parent, but when someone treats you badly, mentally and physically hurts your family, and manipulates all the relationships in their lives, you just learn that no title or amount of blood gives someone the right to be in your life.
It truly is one of the hardest decisions we’ve had to make, and it’s something we think about all the time because we know they are alive, but when we see how much brighter, lighter, and more peaceful our lives have become without this person, we can’t deny that we made the right decision. It doesn’t make it any less painful, and thinking about it still hurts, but knowing we’ve found peace makes us feel just that, peaceful.
We tried and struggled to help our dads find their own peace, but as we learn, you can’t force someone to do anything, especially a parent. Even though we have let these men go, we don’t wish them ill will. We still hope that one day they find their own sense of peace, love, success, and joy because we know they’ve struggled to find those things their whole lives.
So while Father’s Day is a day meant to celebrate dads, remember that it’s a day to also celebrate yourself, and the hard, but mature decisions you’ve made for yourself to have a better life. If you have a mom that stepped up and did the work of two parents than celebrate her today, and if you don’t have parents at all that you can celebrate today than celebrate your amazing friends, mentors, or family members who have become the fathers you deserve to have in your life.
While it’s just one day a year, it’s still a day that can make many of us feel sad, down, and a little bit lonelier, but what we all need to remember is that we can learn from our fathers regardless of if they are in our lives. We can either chose to be the victim and feel bad for ourselves, or learn from our father’s mistakes, and be the men and women they could never be. Father’s day will come and go, but who you decide to be, and how you decide to influence the world will last forever, so remember that there is a world of people out there that love you for all the reasons your father couldn’t, and we are proud of the men and women you have become.
Keep shining bright, keep being better than your father, and let love continue to guide you on your journey to be the ultimate version of yourself.