father’s day stinks. period.

this is my father.

Kenneth Howard Ware - 1956 ~ 1977

this may very well be one of the last pictures taken of him. it was taken in october of 1977, outside of the house i grew up in. my father’s name was Kenneth. that is also my son’s name. did you notice i said “was”? i guess his name is still Kenneth, but he is no longer. the fact is, in october, he will have passed away thirty-four years ago. i know, a total bummer right? yeah, for me too. trust me when i tell you that if i could enjoy and celebrate the day known as “father’s day” i would. but for me, it just pours salt in a very, very old wound.

i was only two when he died, and he was just twenty-one. we were taken from each other far too soon. in that photo he is leaning up against his motorcycle. a twenty-first birthday present from my grandmother just two months prior. that is the motorcycle that he crashed on. a crash that eventually ended his life. i have tried, really tried, over the years to find a reason, any reason, to celebrate on father’s day. but no matter what, i end up mourning. even now that i am a mother and my son has a father, i still can’t get into the swing of it. i have known some wonderful father’s over the years and i appreciate them for all that they are worth. but they are not mine.

i’d be a liar if i said that everyday felt this way. i have outgrown the “poor me” portion. i have moved beyond the anger, the disappointment and the general depression that come with not only losing a parent, but losing one that i didn’t get the chance to know. i hope this doesn’t sound too harsh, but i am thirty-six years old. he died when i was two and i can honestly say that i don’t have any memories of him. i only have photos and the stories that others have shared with me. i don’t remember what it felt like to look in his eyes and have him look back. i don’t remember his hugs or his kisses good night. i don’t remember him at all and perhaps that is the worst feeling ever. i don’t just have a missing parent, a missing family member. i have an emptiness that never EVER seems to fill. it won’t close, it won’t divert and worst of all it sometimes feels deeper and darker than the years before… mostly on father’s day.

i changed my profile picture on facebook to that of my mother, to honor her for mother’s day. almost everyone did and it was so nice to see. we left them there for the entire week and changed them that following monday. today i noticed the photos changing to that of the dad’s. i did it too. to show my pride and to honor him, but every time i looked at the picture i felt that salt again. and boy did it hurt. it was only there for a few hours, and i actually had things to do and left the house. but that picture didn’t ever leave my mind. as soon as i returned home i changed it back to a picture of me. it’s just too painful for me to see his face over and over. writing about him now has brought me to tears. and oddly, i always try to hold them back thinking “there’s no need for this”. no matter how hard i cry today or tomorrow, father’s day will bring a whole new bout.

i have tried to ignore it. i have tried to channel it and i have even tried to actually celebrate it, but my heart’s never in it. all i really wanna do is curl up in a ball and say “why me? why me?” but no matter how many times i ask, i never get an answer. even if i did, i don’t think it would make me feel any better. i recognize the importance of celebrating the people that we have loved and lost, but i would rather black out the day on the calendar and sleep right through it. i’d rather not see the signs posted to “not forget” or the advertisements for ties, tools and daddy related stuffs. this is one particular holiday that i could really do without. so yeah, father’s day stinks. period.

here are my favorite pictures of him. i left them just the way they were when i scanned them. discolored from the magnetic photo albums, the sun, the dust and the photo frames. i have preferred to leave everything of his… just as it was. i did the best i could to keep them in some sort of time sequence according to what i remember of what my sweet granny told me. i could be off a little, but you’ll get the picture…

here, at just a little over a year old..

my dad and his grandma: Annie Pearl

decked out in a three-piece suit WITH bowtie

the little conductor, at christmas. my gramma said he was ecstatic to have received his train set.

my dad and my gramma. i still don't know why he looks so scared.

i think this is my favorite of all time. i think it was from a christmas morning.

my dad on the far left. always tallest. this photo was in the newspaper. i don't know why.

all of the potential in the world...

a man and his guitar. i still have the guitar.

his last driver's license. issued june 1977.

and here are the only pictures of us, together:

daddy and daughter.

he had surgery for his horrible fallen arches. arches he passed on to me. and we are next to his beloved GTO (i think).

lovin' his baby girl. my gramma said "he never could get enough of you."

i've been told that whenever he was near me, braids and barrettes came out and the afro was picked, plucked and shaped. like daddy, like daughter.

so this, my lovelies, is why father’s day stinks. for me. i hope i didn’t break your heart. mine will be broken for all time. to you i say: love your fathers! LOVE YOUR FATHERS!! love your uncles, brothers, cousins and husbands. love your children’s father. love them because you can. even if you’re hurt or angry, love them. know that on father’s day i will not be happy or cheerful. i will not pretend to be something i am not. i am a daughter without her father and i will always be this way. missing him is my way of life, but it doesn’t get any easier. ever. you’ll forgive me if i don’t change my profile picture or come to your barbecue, won’t you?

20 thoughts on “father’s day stinks. period.

  1. Awww sweetie. I wish I could say that I know what you’re feeling but I’m sure I couldn’t possibly. My mom raised me, my dad left when I was a baby because I wasn’t born a boy. Shitty right? He showed up to my 18th birthday & introduced himself. He is really lucky I have a big heart. I get that from my mama.

    Have you tried looking at Father’s Day from a different view? How about honoring your father more than you do daily on Father’s Day? I know you didn’t ask for my advice but I’m a giver. :p

    I suggest you & lil man put some time aside on Father’s Day to honor your dad/his grandpa. Tell him a story about him, one that was shared with you. Make an ornament that reminds you of your Dad with your son. A guitar, a car, something baseball related – add a copy of one of the pictures… and take it out on Father’s Day every year when you tell a story and remember your father for the man he was, the man he could of been and fill it with all the love you have for your daddy & your son.

  2. T…thank you for sharing. It’s brave to own personal pain and ongoing transition. I have been an advocate of sorts for making my own traditions…many of the one’s we celebrate seem to confine me more than draw me closer to the nation. Father’s Day is one of those…it has shifted in meaning over the years to me…I didn’t grow up with my father, and met him later in life when I was in high school. I was open to being friends but as it turned out there were some habits that were quite toxic for me so I honored my instincts of ‘moving on’ and reminding myself those habits ‘have nothing to do with me’. That way painful…not so much not growing up with him, at first, but understanding he was incredibly flawed and human – expressed in ways that steam roll a girl’s heart and faith in man. Sometimes I don’t remember when Father’s Day is…I may briefly here a commercial or see a sign about it in the window of a store, then remember. To me, I have claimed it as the day of father’s…and male leaders, the one’s who haven’t steam rolled me. I also honor all of my feelings, because it is a day for me to feel whatever I feel…sadness, grief, annoyance, rage, anger, indifference, joy, thankfulness.

    I am sorry for the struggle you are having with the pain and hope for the return of your heart and sense of wholeness and being held that you deserve.

    • thank you, k. i have to change, because without it, i won’t grow. i don’t want my son to feel my pain. i want him to love and honor his father the way that i would like to love and honor mine. and i want him to know where he comes from and where he gets his good looks from. it’s only father’s day that makes me feel this way. not any other holiday or event. not his birthday or the anniversary of his death. just this day. perhaps because it has “father” in it. *shrug* who knows for sure? this too shall pass. there have been times in my life that it didn’t hurt so bad and i’m sure i will have them again. for whatever reason, this year’s father’s day is upon me and i feel it. throughout my entire being i feel it. and sometimes, i just don’t want to.

  3. this is a message from my mom to me —–> “I read your blog and I cried…I have not seen those pics…and I wish I could make it better for you…I love you and believe it or not I miss him too…but you should be proud to put his picture up to show off your daddy and let little Kenny see that even tho he is gone he is still loved more than he ever knew…but he loved you with all he had as long as he had it….and I love you no matter what..”

  4. Beautiful-you and your daddy shine your soul through your eyes….thank you soo much
    for sharing….to share the depth of pain -show the depth of love-your real. Peace and Love to you.

  5. Dear BSB, I understand your pain, I can see he loved you tons but we all know that life is not fair and we have to live with it. Honor your dad whenever you can and maybe Fathersday is a good day to remember how wonderful he was. Much love to you.

  6. this is another message that was sent to me. this post doubled my “busiest day” thus far and has reached out and touched so many people. i often publish a post and then feel that i have left something out or that something needs to be explained further. i didn’t make any of those changes though. this is about me and how i feel and i am in awe of how it has made others feel. i will respect her anonymity but i wanted to relay her words. every message and every response has brought me to tears, not because i feel the pain, but because they felt mine. i am grateful that i am able to write and convey my feelings… these are hers —–> “I must confess, I am not talking to my dad right now. So much drama with him and yet, as I read your story, I realized none of it matters and all of it is small in comparison to your story. I can still hug my dad, touch him, hell I can still yell at him! You however don’t have any of this options. I am truly sorry for your great loss. I believe in heaven and I know he is there smiling and proud of the wonderful woman his daughter has become. ♥ Thank you for allowing us to peek inside your personal life. Love you girl….”

  7. Hi. You have brought tears to my eyes. I am so sorry about your dad. I lost my father but was 18 when he passed. Your writing is very real and touching. Thank you for sharing and you are in my thoughts and prayers.

    • thank you marianne. for stopping by, reading and commenting. i appreciate your kind words and hope that as time passes, the shared pain of losing our fathers will subside enough that we can smile through the tears and hug through the heartache. thank you.

  8. Sweetie, first please let me say, I am not in any way comparing what you’re feeling with what I feel or have felt. But I do know what you’re goin thru….it may not be exactly the same but I beat we have been thru the same emotions.
    When I was 2 yrs old, my birth mom took me and left my birth dad. I never saw him again. He was dead for a yr before she told me who he was, I guess she was waitin to make sure he was really dead? Idk. I have few pics of him and they came from other relatives. I’ve asked my mother to tell me about him, her answer is always, there’s not much to tell. I asked why I was named Penny? Her answer, Idk, ur dad named u. Come to find out, from his cousin/best friend, he loved the Beatles Song Penny Lane. That’s why my name is Penny…and yea just Penny no Penelope, etc.
    Ate the age of 6, I was taken away from my birth mother. Fortunately I was placed with a foster family who wanted me as their own. That is who I call my momma and daddy. They raised me, they were there and are still here. I sat next to my daddy’s hospital bed the last few days he was alive. We knew he was goin on a Sunday bc he kept askin if it was Sun and if it was raining. Sure enough Sunday morning, it started raining and they told us we needed to say our good byes. Momma was laying in the bed next to daddy holding him and I was next o momma holding her. That was the most painful thing I have ever did in my life. Hearing my daddy, this man who had been my rock, strong n steady, all these years, fighting for every breathe he could get. It was also bittersweet. I wouldn’t give anything for those last moments with my daddy. But I had nightmares for years because I was in that room for those moments. I was fortunate enough to have my daddy in my life and for him to have seen his grandson. My baby asks about his pawpaw all the time. He remembers him well and he is only 6 and my daddy died 3 yrs ago. God love him.
    Lookin at your son, be proud that your daddy shines through him. Celebrate in the greatness that your daddy just possibly could be the very reason you have a little boy. Your daddy was taken too soon but he’s still with you and it sounds like he is right by your side in your son. As painful as Father’s Day is….and it is for me too…you’re raisin a man. You are responsible to teach him how to be a man, a loving husband and a devoted father. If he sees you hate Father’s Day, he’s gonna grow up hating it too…because mommy does. I have found there is a lot of things I have to swallow with a lump in my throat for my son. I do them, like you do, for my child. No other reason, He is my life and he comes first no matter what. If I’m fallin off a cliff and he looses his balance, I will let go to grab him. I know you will too…that’s why I know you are goin to find your inner strength and be able to make it thru all the future Father’s Days with a smile on your face….because we have to for our lil men. xoxoxo

    • aww! my dear sweet friend penny. friends for a week? and only on facebook!! wow. you hit the nail on the head my friend. i am lucky that my son is just 4 and my bad habits haven’t become his. i will shake my funk and gather him and his art supplies together so that he can honor his father and his grandfather. i will share with him the pictures and the stories and the memories that help me keep my dad close. i promise not to deprive him. thank you for the hugs, the encouragement and the soft kick in the behind. thank you for sharing your story and your pain as well. it’s not easy to deal with, to think about or relay to others. i appreciate every last word of it and the time it took. you’re one in a million and i adore ya.

  9. What is it about fathers.

    I was raised by a man who married my mother when I was three years old. In addition to me, she had three other children out of wedlock. We all have different fathers. Sometimes she tells us that all of our fathers are dead. Sometimes she tells us we all have the same father and that he didn’t want us. She tells us so many different stories.

    But God is good. The man my mother married is my daddy. He was the parent that loved me the best. He was the better parent. He and my mother had three children together. If you ask the seven of us who was daddy’s favorite child, we each will say “I am” because that’s how he made us feel. He didn’t show favoritism like my mother did. Nobody has ever been blessed with a better father.

    I could talk to him about ANYTHING. I was the the type of child that asked a million and one question a day. He would patiently answer. If he didn’t know, he would pull out the dictionary, encyclopedia, or take me to the library and help me understand to my satisfaction. As a young woman and single mother, I was trying to find a place to live. I had to live at mom and dad’s until I figured it all out. I was a long way from knowing how to handle such situations and was really stressing. Dad told me not to worry about it because he didn’t care if I was 99 and he was 199; as long as had a house my son and I would always have a place to live. That went a long way toward calming me down.

    He was that way with the seven of us. As I look back I realize that my dad dealt with us where we were. Whether we were toddlers or young adults, he came to where we were in order to communicate with us. We all had different interest, yet, he could discuss them all. I loved reading and wanted to be a poet. He turned me on to the Black poets of 1920s Harlem Renaissance. One brother played sports; dad discussed plays with him. One sister was in to singing; dad was on top of that too.

    But I still wanted/want to know who is my biological father. My dad and I talked about it a lot. He told me that he didn’t blame me because if it was him, then, he would want to know too. He told my mother that she should tell us who these men were. Whenever the subject came up, she would get upset, start yelling, say that we are disrespecting daddy. She would say all kinds of hateful things designed to make us feel guilty. It didn’t matter what anyone else felt or said. My dad was a rock at times like this though.

    He passed on October 2, 1999

    I miss him so much. Though it has been over 10 years, it still feels like yesterday sometimes. He will always be my daddy. I am the woman I am today because of him. And that’s a good thing because I am good people.

    I still don’t know who is my biological father and I strongly would like to. I have other brothers and sisters. Aunts and uncles. Cousins. Grandparents. I have no pictures of this man. I know nothing about him – not even his birthday, name or where he was from (he’s suppose to have been in the military.) I used to be angry about this. That anger invaded other areas of my life until it spilled over and caused an episode. I had to do a lot of work to wrestle it down to a size whereby I can function.

    • well, miss bfly, i appreciate your stopping by, reading and commenting. it seems that you had a wonderful “daddy” and that he gave you the best of him all the time. i can only assume that my father would have been something like him. thank you for sharing your very personal and intimate story. it takes a lot to come to terms with where one is from and where one wants to be. if you’re really interested in locating your birth father, start at the hall of records with your birth certificate. i cannot offer any more advice on that subject. it seems to me that you had what you needed, but that wondering about your birth father may never settle. weigh out your options and see if the knowing will suit you better than the wondering. you might figure out that you don’t need that information at all. thank you again, and please feel free to contact me if you want to … i don’t know.. if you want to sort it out. 😀 i’m good at helping!

  10. It must have taken a lot of emotional energy for you to focus on such pain, and to express it so beautifully. There’s a big hole in your life that can never be filled. The best you can hope for is the ability to enclose that hole with something positive, something that brings you a little peace, and maybe someone else a little joy. I don’t know what that is, but I have a feeling you’ll figure it out.

    Your Dad and I would have been almost exactly the same age. I knew that even before I noticed the dates under that first picture, or the date of birth on his driver’s license. That aluminum Christmas tree was all I needed to know. Wonderful tribute, BSB.

    • you are so very kind. i was elated to see that i had a comment and that it was from you! thank you mr. mostly bright! you’re a gem. this particular post just fell out of me. i was feeling the nagging of father’s day without being completely conscious of it. it has been that way for years. the reminders that float about on television and advertising… they plant a seed of knowledge in my subconscious that doesn’t reveal itself until the day has almost descended upon me. this is exactly what happened this year. i was sitting in a waiting area, preparing to test for a prospective employ and low and behold, like an ACME anvil it landed on my head. “dammit. father’s day.” my stomach curled up and my throat closed and i almost cried right then and there. but i kept it at bay and held back. i knew that i would blog. i tested, picked up my son and once i sat at the computer… it all came tumbling out. i have since had some thoughts that i thought i wanted to add, but it would change the whole perspective. it’s not about anyone else and their fathers, it’s about me and mine. i will miss him always. thank you for your wonderful words of encouragement and appreciation. it truly means the world to me.

  11. I found myself searching through the web today and came across your tribute to your Father. When I saw his picture my heart skipped a hundred beats. You see I was one of the fortunate people to be a part of his life and he a part of my life.
    Yes I loved him and still hold that love for him. He was a very special man and loved you so.
    We were in love to the day he passed and I believe a big part of me went with him. We lived together till about a month before his death. Young love and immuturaty led to a disagreement as I was very upset about how I was feeling about his having a bike verses his beloved GTO that he use to follow me around in, until I finally agreed to go out with him. We both shared a love for Jimmi Hendrix music and loved being together. Well I moved out due to my stubbornness and your Dad moved another young lady in to make me jealous, and came to see me a week before he died asking me to come back and she would be gone. Due to my hurt and stubbornness I pondered much to long. A week later his sister called me and told me of his death, oh how I broke and we cried together. He was buried on HALLOWEEN, and the other young lady was still living with him, they had been friends for a long time. Needless to say she was there at his funeral and I loved your Gramma, Aunt and Daddy way to much to want a bad situation so I viewed him being laid to rest from a spot far away across from the cemetery in Perris. Your Father was much loved and loved you so deeply, your well being was his #1 concern.
    Please know that I would never want anything but the best for you and your family, and must say he would be so very proud of the beautiful woman you have become. You are stunning, please give your Aunt my love and so very sorry to hear of your grandma’s passing.
    I sincerely hold my memories of your FATHER close to my heart. Tina

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