This year will be the first year without my dad on Father’s Day. And while it’s only one of many firsts that we as a family have had to navigate, I imagine this will be one of the hardest.

We lost my dad suddenly right after Thanksgiving. In some ways, still being in shock when the first Christmas came and went without him was probably a blessing. Because there’s so much of him in all the holidays we celebrate. He had a unique personality that lit up any room and even if we only could call him it was still apart of the holiday. And Father’s Day is a day for dad. It’s filled with all the examples of why dads are great. And just thinking about it in anticipation makes me miss him more.

Granted, I’m not alone. Others have lost their dad, some never knew their dad, some don’t speak to their dad. Some wish they didn’t know their dad.

And all of this is acceptable because we’re all on different life paths. We all come from different backgrounds and families.

But for me, I love my dad.

And as I typed that out I teared up. Because grief is weird.

Grief is weird because sometimes it feels like it happened yesterday, sometimes it feels like it happened 20 years ago and sometimes it feels like it never happened at all. And it’s just a bad dream. And he’ll call me any second now and make me laugh.

And sometimes I’m fine and sometimes I fall apart. But with the grief, comes people who care. And listen when I talk about him. And those people have my back.

So this Father’s Day and the rest of them I assume will suck for me. How will I practice self-love on a day that’s presumably going to be this hard? Luckily, one of my dear friends had some helpful tips for me.

I’m going to stay off social media for the day.

I have a lot of photos from cleaning out his condo that we haven’t gone through yet and those will be good memories to look back on.

I’m going to remember that it’s okay to cry and be sad, but I also have to remember that he wanted us to be happy and he wouldn’t want us to be sad.

I’m also going to remember all the ways he loved me and my brother. All the acts of kindness he did for us. All of the road trip jam sessions and the BBQ pot stops and the hugs.

And it’s going to be okay.

Because while he may not be here, Father’s Day is a day for dads. And I’m so lucky to have had mine.

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