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Father’s Day is Tough

father's day

For several weeks leading up to Father’s Day, I intentionally stay away from card shops and stationery aisle in stores.


It’s much harder to escape the online ads and store emails about Father’s Day, but I’ve gotten pretty good at avoiding them, too.

Coming from a large family with 6 older brothers and 2 younger ones, my family tells me I was my daddy’s girl from my very first breath. I was a tomboy and I did crazy things to keep up with my brothers and be near my dad. I have scars all over to show for my efforts. I’m really good at hiding those scars.

But Father’s Day always catches me off guard.


A well-hidden scar on my heart reopens with a stinging reminder that my dad is gone. He died after a long battle with heart disease when I was 27.


My oldest child has vague memories of her grandpa, but my youngest son has none. And now, he is himself a new dad to a tiny wisp of a girl. He can’t rock her to sleep because he’s on a submarine serving our country, but he Skypes whenever he can. Every time that little girl hears her daddy’s voice and sees his face, she giggles and jabbers. I see such love between them. But it’s bittersweet for me.


Some of you certainly know the ache of losing your father.


To death, to divorce, to deployment.
You just want to avoid the reminder of what you don’t have because it’s so very painful.

Those of us familiar with this ache have different reasons for our grief. Maybe you long for the dad you never had, or grieve the father you lost. But we share a common sadness. There are far too many memories we’ll never make, and too many words we’ll never get to say.

In a way, I’m kind of jealous of families that have dads who are active in their lives. Because there’s no chance left for me to say “I love you,” or share a good laugh with my father now. No way to thank him for the hard lessons he taught me. My opportunity to say anything like that slipped away before this young mom knew how much all those things would matter.


Early last month, I was browsing through birthday cards for my daughter and backed into a father also looking at cards for his daughter.


He stepped close as I chose my cards and asked if I’d help him find one for his daughter. He said that he and his daughter were “at odds” because of a misunderstanding, and he wasn’t sure what to send her. I handed him a card, told him I’d give anything to see my father again and gently urged him, for his daughter’s sake, to do what he could to restore the relationship before it was too late.

I’m sure there were times my dad and I didn’t get along. But my father never held a grudge. It just wasn’t in him. If I needed disciplined, I got disciplined. But dad was always quick to forgive, extend grace and tell me he loved me once the punishment was delivered. I’m pretty sure my brothers would say the same thing.


I also know these things for certain:

My father loved Jesus – and any sport with the word “ball” in it or OSU attached to it.
He led me to Jesus – and taught me how to catch and throw a baseball correctly.
He helped me memorize bible verses – and taught me to be a fierce competitor.
He taught me to be strong – and he cried every time he prayed over our family meal.

He prayed on his knees every night for his wife and kids to follow after God.


Ask anyone who ever spent time around my father. They felt loved by him. Most of all, they saw Jesus in him. So while I may avoid most things about Father’s Day, I’m still careful to honor my dad’s legacy and keep his memory alive for my children and granddaughter.

I still hold close to my heart the things my dad demonstrated even as he was withering away before my eyes: “God is good all the time. Pray about it first, and then keep praying. Show your family you love them. Use the gifts God gave you. Trust God and His plan. He’ll show you that He is good even when it doesn’t make sense. Remember who you are and who you belong to.”

I guess I’m still my Daddy’s girl.

Meet Joy

Joy is high intensity mixed with a lot of grace and a little bit of sass. She’s a wife, mom, mother-in-law and Gigi (that’s short for grandmother) who spends a lot of time on her knees either cleaning up toddler messes or praying.


on Father’s Day is Tough.
  1. |

    Oh my, all the feels! I lost my father when I was 20 to a long battle with lung disease. He passed away 2 days before my 21st birthday and exactly 1 year before my daughter was born. I too feel a bit jealous of those with active fathers in their lives- a figure my daughter has never known (her father left during my pregnancy) and a figure I miss so dearly. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • |

      Liz, You are so welcome. It IS hard and I understand. May the Heavenly Father be the father you long for and need.

  2. |

    Thank you that was close to home. I am one of the youngest out 6 also, our dad just past in February, he lived with he/ had been getting bed health and had to bouts of heart failure and the second took him. They said if he was able to make it, he would have to have triple bypass. We God said no more. It’s still tough my sister’s and I hardly talk yet it seams I’m the only one hurting.

    • Joy

      Debbie, you are so welcome. Know that I am praying for your family in the loss of your father and for the relationships that may need to be mended.

  3. |

    Thanks for helping me not feel so alone in this. It’s so easy to help my grandson celebrate his Daddy and detour around the ache from missing mine.

    • Joy

      So glad to be able to help in some small way.

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