A Second First Father’s Day

by jth

It’s been many months since I wrote my last entry here, but today seems like an appropriate day to pen something.

Father’s Day will always be a difficult and bittersweet day for me. This year marks my second Father’s Day as a father, but it some ways it is also my first. I celebrate (to the extent one does) for the second time without my son, and for the first time with my daughter, Laney. She is a beautiful little girl, changing and growing every day. She has a strong will and spirit, and I know that she will go on to do great things when she is older. Although any infant can try the patience of a new parent, any frustration I have melts away whenever I see her smile, or when I watch her eyes light up as she begins to discover the world around her.

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But, this day will always be incomplete for me without Matthew. Thoughts of him still fill my heart and head, usually in moments when I am alone, and those thoughts often bring me to tears. I am not ashamed to admit that I still mourn my lost son. If anything, it is proof that my heart has not entirely hardened in response to his loss. I will never understand why he was taken, and there is likely no explanation I will ever be willing or prepared to accept, at least not in this life. I only have the memory of those fleeting hours spent with him, and that is all I will ever have.

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The unfortunate fact is that many children have no father with which to celebrate this day, and more than a few fathers are without their children. For those of us who do have children in our lives, we should be the ones celebrating what we have, rather than being celebrated for who we are and what we do. To be given the awesome responsibility of being a father is a gift in itself.

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