Father’s Day is going to be bittersweet this year. The sweet part is that my husband has just returned home from a business trip, and we’ll be able to spend the weekend – particularly Sunday – catching up, relaxing, and celebrating Father’s Day.

The not-so-sweet part is that this will be the first Father’s Day without my dad, who passed away in January. It still gnaws at me that I can’t call him every Sunday, as we’ve done ever since first moving away from the town where I grew up and where my father has always lived. I know that the feeling will be even stronger on Father’s Day, the day I’ve always told him how much I love him and appreciate all that he’s done for me and for everyone in our family. He’s been both father and mother to my sisters and me ever since my mom died when I was 18, and I always took the opportunity on both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day to tell him so, and to thank him.

But I can’t do that anymore.

My faith tells me that he’s with God now, and I take comfort in that. It also comforts me to think that he and my mom have been reunited, and that both of them are now watching over us. I hope they like what they see.

I also hope that the memories I have of both of my parents, and all that they taught me over the years, will  continue to guide me and influence me in the years and relationships yet to come. Not only with my own kids and with the children they may have one day, but with other family members, with friends, and with people whose lives will cross paths with mine at different times and in different ways.

The phrase, “It takes a village,” comes to mind now, and I absolutely agree that it takes a village to raise a child. Yet the most powerful and meaningful lessons we take with us through life are the ones we learned from those closest to home, and at the earliest of ages.

When I think about it like that, I realize that even though the pain of losing my dad is still fresh, his presence in my life is still strong. And always will be.

Every so often I catch myself saying something my dad would have said, or doing something he would have done. Or even thinking in ways that I recognize are his as well as my own. In the past, I may have been annoyed by this, but now I’m amused instead. And grateful. Rather than emphasizing the fact that he’s gone, it reinforces the fact that he’s still here.

Whatever the relationship you may have with your father, and whether he is alive and well, gone from this earth, or somewhere in between, I hope that your thoughts, your words, and your memories of him are sweet and satisfying, and that this Father’s Day is filled with gratitude and love.

The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on June 12, 2014.
©Betty Liedtke, 2014

I welcome your comments on this column. Please be aware that all comments will be moderated and approved before appearing on this blog. This is to protect all of us from unwanted spam.