Father's Day is always a little bit different since my dad passed away. He died 19 years ago but I still miss him (especially on holidays such as Father's Day.) He passed away in October and at the time I felt that I was coping with the loss fairly well. His death was expected and followed a three battle with cancer. I knew I had to be strong as my mother would need comfort and encouragement. But as Father's Day rolled around that next year I realized I was beginning to feel a bit ill. After eight months his loss was all beginning to "sink in." Father's Day, that year, marked the beginning of about 5 months of depression for me. It wasn't until I approached the anniversary of his death that I felt the depression beginning to lift. That whole experience was a new lesson for me in the process of grief.
While Father's Day, for me, will always be a time to remember days gone by; today it is a time for me to celebrate the present and God's gift to me of being a father and a grandfather. Both my children and grandchildren are wonderful and I am constantly reminded how blessed I truly am. Sunday (Father's Day) I received an "e-card" from my daughter Beth. I don't know how she does it but somehow she made herself into a cartoon (pictured above). I told her I couldn't tell if the email was from her or from Lucille Ball. She said, "Thanks dad!." But I knew it was her. One of my gifts was a Father's Day cartoon and mug reminding me of both the opportunity and responsibility of being a #1 Dad. That's what my dad was for me, and now I have the tremendous pleasure of continuing with that tradition! What an important role father's play in God's family plan!
Dr. Allen Schneider is a United Methodist pastor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist presently serving the Sapulpa and greater Tulsa communities.