It still hurts…but it's not quite the punch in the gut that it was a year ago.
I'm talking about Father's Day…to be celebrated this Sunday, June 19th.
Losing my father in October 2014 meant that last year, Father's Day was going to be GUT-wrenching. The first year of grief is such a bitch, with all of the "firsts" - "first" Christmas without him, "first" birthday without him - and yes, "first" Father's Day without the man whom I loved more than anything.
When we were presented with an opportunity to be in Europe last year during this time, I jumped on it - as I knew that the whirlwind of sightseeing and traveling would temporarily soften the blow of dealing with my first Father's Day without my father.
And it DID help, somewhat. I wasn't on Social Media that day, so I wasn't blitzed with thousands of "Happy Father's Day" posts from well-meaning friends and family, who were sending good-intentioned well wishes to their OWN dads on Facebook.
This year, though, we're here at home, and I've steeled myself to be strong on Sunday. It IS easier the second year of grief, for sure.
But all of these thoughts of the upcoming holiday had me thinking of my own father, and the other day, a picture I posted on Facebook reminded me of one of the things that my dad absolutely hated.
It was this picture, innocent enough at first glance, that brought all of the memories crashing through my soul.
Innocent, yes? Just me at a local 5k that I ran last Sunday…
Dad was, for the most part, pretty easy going…but there were three things that he absolutely hated, HATED, with a passion.
The first thing he hated was white pantyhose.
I have NO idea why white pantyhose sent him over the edge, but they did….I absolutely loved wearing lots and lots of colorful outfits (still do, actually!), and I absolutely loved wearing different colors of pantyhose - including white. (Hey - it was the 80's - don't judge.)
Every. Single. Time. that I would don a pair of white pantyhose, Dad would wrinkle his nose in disgust and say, "Only nurses should be wearing those."
So of course I would wear them as much as possible just to drive him crazy. (Because I was a loving daughter like that, you know.)
The second thing he hated was the word, "gross."
I know, crazy, right??!!
And of course, in the late 70's and early 80's, the word "gross" was embedded in our culture and language, and almost every sentence I spoke was punctuated with the word, "gross." As in, "That's SO gross." Or, directed at my little brother,"You're gross, you know that, right?"
Dad would wrinkle that nose again, and say, "That word is absolutely disgusting. Knock it off."
And I would laugh and tease him and get the word in twice by replying, "Oh silly Father, 'gross' is NOT gross!!", because again, I was a loving daughter like that.
And the third thing he hated is shown in that picture above…he hated biceps. On women.
I began weight lifting in high school, and have continued to this day, so yes, of course, I developed biceps over the years. And Dad hated them - HATED them. He would look at my arms, shake his head, and mutter, "Only men should have biceps…NOT women." And I would fiercely disagree with him, saying that it was perfectly fine for women to not only BE strong, but to LOOK strong as well - and I would head off to the gym to develop my biceps even more. Because I was a loving daughter like that. And I wanted to look like Linda Hamilton in "Terminator." Heh.
So yes, that picture I posted of me brought back memories, as I saw those biceps…and knew that Dad would have had a conniption fit.
Everyone has their own idiosyncrasies…I look at some of the things that I hate, and I have to laugh, because in the scope of things, they're rather stupid. Like I hate the texture of fresh fruit in my mouth…gah. I can seriously gag on a piece of melon. Or, how I hate the sound of toenail clippers…I will have a nervous breakdown at the sound - seriously.
So, in the scope of things, white pantyhose, "gross", and biceps may sound silly, but they were what drove Dad over the edge, and I used that knowledge to tease him and drive him just a bit more crazy.
And how I wish I could go back in time now and maybe, just maybe, go easier on him.
Yes, it will be hard on Sunday…but I'll think of my Dad, and I'll think of his idiosyncrasies, and I'll chuckle. And I'll hold those memories tight so that I never, EVER, lose the essence of what was my funny, but lovable, Dad.