“My father died suddenly and without warning five months ago. My dad was the least judgmental person I’ve ever met in my entire life. Upon meeting someone, he brought no preconceived notions, no baggage of class, or race, or status. He opened his heart, his mind, and usually his table to any and everyone he came in contact with. My father did not do side-eye. He didn’t throw shade. He did not judge. My dad was a healer. He was a peacemaker. He was the person you could go to when you needed informed perspective. In my 40 years on this Earth, he never led me wrong.
As I was trying to pinpoint all the things about him that made him unique, I recalled all the well wishes and outpouring of love coming through the phone, the internet, the snail mail, and everyone else who mourned him. That’s when it occurred to me that this circle of love was more diverse than an 80s video attempting to end world hunger. Dad loved and was loved by anyone who had the pleasure of meeting him. And I’ve never been more proud to be his daughter.
I miss you, Dad. It’s like a heartbeat. That sentence echoes in my brain every morning as I brush my teeth. (I miss you, Dad. Those words are a silent refrain as I watch your grandchildren climb walls, (I miss you, Dad) when those same grandchildren drive Rob and me crazy (I miss you, Dad), and then they ride bikes, (I miss you, Dad) when they make new friends (I miss you, Dad). It rings in my ears as I go about my day. (I miss you, Dad) When I find deals at the store, you would’ve called me about, ‘Wow, this is 25% off,’ (I miss you, Dad.) When I hear something hilarious, and I know you would’ve loved that joke too, (I miss you, Dad.) When I realize Robbie will become a Bar Mitzvah this year and you won’t be on the Bema. (I miss you, Dad.)
I really miss you, Dad.
As a human being, I’ve tried to avoid pain at all costs. I don’t think that makes me unusual or distinctive. I think that makes me pretty basic. Who wants to hurt? No one. As a parent, I’ve tried my best to shield my children from undue pain because I’m a control freak, and helplessness is just as painful.
12 years ago, when I was in labor with my oldest son, I got my epidural as early as possible, because pain. At one point, my parents were sitting with Rob and me at my bedside, and I started to feel incredible, unimaginable pain. It seems my carefully placed epidural by the intern had fallen out. Rob and I didn’t know how to handle it, this was not in my birth plan, and my father and mother started reminiscing above me as I was losing my ever loving mind, about the night that I was born. My mom, whom I’ve decided is a Viking, Amazon, ninja, Jedi warrior, in her own right went Lamaze all the way (of course she did), and my Daddy said, ‘Remember when you were hurting, and we sang together, remember what we sang?’ It was that exact moment that the contraction to end all contractions hit me head on and my parents chose that exact moment to relive the glory days of my birth with songs from a Chorus line. ‘Kiss today goodbye, the sweetness and the sorrow, wish me luck the same, to you, and I won’t forget, what I did for love, what I did for love.’ Breaking into song was something my father did a lot.
I learned a great lesson that rainy night in May. Firstly, I learned my parents were certifiably mentally ill, but I’d already known that in the perimeter. The real lesson I learned is that pain is inevitable. Pain is part of the human experience. You. Cannot. Stop. Pain. But what you can control is how you choose to handle it. So, tonight, and every night, I will feel the pain of the loss of my father, Robert Block, but I will remember the joy he brought to the world, and I will rejoice that we all were able to be a part of it.”
Amy Hunter, The Outnumbered Mother
Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email email@example.com.