If you have a dad, consider yourself fortunate. Mine passed away nearly a decade and half ago, and I miss him every day.

For many families, Father’s Day remains a festive occasion and a chance to celebrate dads for their diligent work and creatively caring nature. However, for those of us whose fathers have died, the holiday is often subdued and somewhat somber. If there’s a cure for the pain we feel after losing a parent, I haven’t found it, but there are coping strategies for facilitating the healing process, such as merely talking to those who knew him and thumbing through photographs and various other memorable items that conjure up pleasant memories.

I wish the fine folks at Hallmark would come up with a card that conveys the feelings for those of us who’d like to buy a card for our fathers who’ve passed on. Maybe simply going through the motions of jotting a note in it, addressing it to dad, general delivery, Anywhere, USA, and putting it in the mail would help ease the pain.

Now that I’m older, I envy people with dads, especially this time of year when the marketing blitz is at full bore from department stores offering dad’s day deals, to restaurants all over town pushing discounts if you bring dad in for dinner with the family.

I recall what it feels like to give my Dad that special shirt or one of those ugly ties he wore once a year, and to spend some special time alone together on his day. But all of a sudden it stopped because now I don’t have a dad. Many of you know that hollow feeling.

I have a few pictures and some of the things that are special to me, but I don’t have the most special one of all — him. I’ve met many people who stopped celebrating Father’s Day after their dad died, but the day remains special for me. Like it or not, children who have lost their fathers can’t bury their head in the sand forever and pretend Father’s Day doesn’t bring a flood of memories to the surface.

I’ve been thinking a lot about your day and have some things I want to tell you.

It’s been nearly a decade and a half since you died, and a lot has changed with me and in the world. If you came back for a day, you’d immediately notice that I’ve gotten older, so you might believe that you’d been gone much longer. Nonetheless, I often think of myself as a kid at heart — your kid.

I don’t know if you get the noon news on TV or a daily newspaper where you are, but I always remember how much you looked forward to those two things each day. I’m not sure if you’d say you were surprised at the current events or I told you so. Either way, I wish you were here so we could discuss them in person, because I really miss our conversations.

I’m glad Mrs. John B. Dodd, of Washington State suggested the idea of the holiday in 1909. Some accounts credit Mrs. Charles Clayton of West Virginia as the founder of Father’s Day, although most histories give credit to Mrs. Dodd. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge supported the idea of a national Father’s Day, but it never became official until 1966, when President Lyndon Johnson signed the presidential proclamation that set aside the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day. The good news is that it worked out for the best.

Well, dad, I guess that’s it for now, and I wish you the best for another year.

As always, I miss you and look forward to meeting you here again next year.

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