As it’s coming up to a year since Roger passed away there have already been many milestones without him. First holiday, first Christmas, first birthdays, first wedding anniversary – but something tells me this one is going to be a bit more tricky. Father’s Day is coming up on Sunday and who knows what the right thing to do is if you don’t have a dad?
I can’t answer that, as I’m lucky enough to have my dad. Things like this you really do take for granted until you are forced to think about them. I was mulling over how to tell Sam that Father’s Day was coming up when we were in the Post Office and he worked it out for himself.
The rows of cards all about Dads made him smile and reminded him of Roger, but when I told him why they were all there he fell silent and look tearful. ‘What are we going to do if we haven’t got a dad?’ he asked me. ‘I don’t know love’ is all I could say, wondering what on earth we would do when the day came around.
Now it’s only days away and I still don’t know what we’ll do. If we stay in will we feel too sad? If we go out, will we be surrounded by happy families, all of whom have their dads? There’s even a big sign up outside a pub near Sam’s school which says ‘Day of the Dads’, and it makes my heart sink whenever I drive past it. God only knows how Sam feels when he reads it – being seven, he doesn’t always tell me what goes on in his little head so there’s a lot of guesswork going on.
Florence has been talking a lot about him though. She remembers vividly her birthday barbecue last year, the last time we had a get together when her dad was alive. Although Rog was far too poorly to cook the sausages, that’s what she remembers him doing and she describes her cake in great details, down to the two candles which he helped her to blow out.
I honestly can’t remember what we did for Father’s Day last year but it will have been a very quiet affair. Actually I do remember now – Rog was home from the hospice and we gave him his cards in bed along with the perfect gift for the dad who has everything – a packet of fake furry moustaches! They’re still on show in Sam’s room now. We all had a laugh trying them on and drinking tea and eating toast in bed, trying to be careful with our patient.
The year before (2014) I remember we painted a garden gnome with ‘Dad’ written on it – classy but Sam’s choice – and I wrote this blog post. I hadn’t been blogging long and there’s not much to it but it’s kind of nice to read back a record of that day now, even if it doesn’t sound like a particularly successful one!
The year before (2013) I took the photo I’ve used here of Sam looking really young and angelic as we visited Rog in his room at Arrowe Park Hospital.
Life had only just started to change then, and we all hoped things would look up. Florence was yet to be born and her imminent arrival was something that helped distract me a bit from all the awfulness that had happened the month before. Rog had got through a near-death experience and nothing could be worse than that, or so I thought.
In this photo, Sam’s wearing his ‘Daddy badge’ which my friends made for my hen do a couple of years before. Genius or what?!
While I was looking for this picture I came across the one at the top of this post, a family photo which I completely forgot we had. It was taken around the time of the Tour de France in 2014, when Rog was recovering from having an operation to repair his bowel and get him back onto normal food and drink again, rather than just taking his nutrients through a drip.
He looks thin and slightly in pain, but I’m wondering if that look was really because he objected to having to hold Sam’s plastic bow and arrow for the camera? Either way, it may not be the greatest snap but it’s a moment in time for our family, and one of few that has all four of us on.
All this reminiscing isn’t helping me decide what to do this Sunday.
Whatever we do, I really hope it isn’t too sad and we can manage to be thankful that we all had Rog as such a special part of our lives. I have wondered if we should have our own ‘Day of the Dad’, where we eat all his favourite foods, listen to his favourite music, do the things he liked to do. I’d go and see my dad, but he’s lucky enough to be cruising around the coast of Italy with my mum.
Maybe we should go on a new adventure, have a day out just the three of us, be grateful that we have each other.
I’m not sure whether marking it or ignoring it is the best policy. I suppose whatever we do it can’t be wrong and as long as we get through it, what does it really matter. It’s not like Father’s Day was ever a huge deal anyway, it’s just the fact that it can’t be now that makes me sad.