Tell Your Dad You Love Him Day
My dad would have turned 65 today.
He didn’t mind having a birthday just before Christmas. Even as a boy he didn’t mind people telling him they’d just get him a bigger birthday present, rather than give him two presents within four days.
He also didn’t mind sharing Father’s Day with mum’s birthday on the years they fell on the same day. He was an amazing person – for many reasons above and beyond his attitude to presents.
This is a tough time for me and my family — his birthday and Christmas, so hard on the heels of his death.
One thing I am grateful for, though, is that I often told my dad that I loved him. It could be awkward, but we were all well-trained by Mum. He wasn’t as good at saying loving things as Mum, but his life included an amazing group of women who gave him excellent advice about these things. And so, his wife, daughters, sisters and his mum knew they were loved — because he told them so, in words as well as actions. (See what having good women in your life can do for you?)
Because I’ve been thinking of my dad a lot I’ve been telling everyone I only know — especially those who are traveling or living far from their parents — to tell their dad that they love them. If their dad is in hugging range, I tell them to give him a hug too. And I’ve been surprised by how many have said “err, no, I don’t think so. My dad is not that kind of guy”.
That’s too bad and so sad. I hope those people are wrong about their dads. As someone who suddenly has no dad, I think everyone with a dad should have a special dad appreciation day. Today, on my dad’s birthday. At the very least, call your dad and tell him that you love him. No matter where you are in the world, no matter how skint you are, get your dad on the phone and tell him you care.
I’ve prepared a script for guys who really don’t feel comfortable with this kind of thing. (Girls, I’m confident you can do this without a script.)
Here it is, guys:Ring, ring. Your Dad: Hello.
You: Hi dad, it’s your son.
YD: Hello, son.
Y: Hey dad, are you watching the game/doing some manly activity/going to Cheryl’s for Christmas lunch this weekend?
YD: Well, actually … *manly talk goes here*.
Y: That’s great. And dad, there’s one more thing. A friend of mine’s dad just died, really unexpectedly, and it made me think about things. So *manly cough* I just want you to know that I love you, and that it’s been great having you as a dad. And try not to die, OK? I’ll call you after the game/manly activity/see you at Cheryl’s lunch.
YD: Err, right. Thanks so. *Coughs, clears throat*. Talk to you soon. Bye.
See – it’s not that bad is it? Just blurt it out and get off the phone and give your dad a bit of time to process it. And it’s all done before Christmas.
And if — and I so, so, so hope it doesn’t happen — your dad suddenly drops dead like mine did, you will have had the talk and it will be a comfort to you. A small miniature microscopic comfort, but when the pain of losing a loved one is so raw and deep, you need every bit of comfort you can get.
I miss my dad so much. The world just doesn’t seem right without him at the end of the telephone. And I feel so ripped off that he looked after his health all his life and yet his heart gave out on him in October while he was doing charity work in the Solomon Islands. I hate the fact that the words “autopsy”, “embalmed” and “cremated” are now associated with Dad, who was always so full of life and noise and vigour.
I even found the perfect birthday/Christmas present for dad at a market outside a temple here in Chiang Mai — another ridiculous hat. He would have loved it, and Mum would have hated it … and he would have insisted on wearing it to the shops, or to a Rotary meeting or a posh Christmas party.
Please, tell your dad you love him today. You would have loved my dad and his outrageous outfits, that’s for sure.
Here’s what he wore to collect me from the airport in September 2009 when I flew home to have Miss M. It wasn’t a special getup he created to impress me, though. He’d just come from chairing a Rotary meeting.
I couldn’t fit Dad’s entire ensemble in one photo. Believe it or not, he was more famous for what he wore below his knees than above.
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8 years ago