Father’s Day without a dad

Father's Day gnome

Father's Day Me and Mine

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.

Dad gnome and Riot poster

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?!

Sam in 2013

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.

x Julia

Father's Day gnome

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  • Reply
    Katy (What Katy Said)
    June 17, 2016 at 10:12 am

    Oh Julia, I can’t imagine how difficult Sunday will be. But, remember they DO have a dad, he just won’t be there to share in it all. I think if it were me I’d do as you say, have a day of celebrating everything he loved, his fave music, foods, maybe go somewhere you all enjoyed as a family. I hope it is a sunny day anyway, nothing worse than being stuck indoors sometimes is there? Big hugs xxx
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  • Reply
    Beth @ Twinderelmo
    June 17, 2016 at 10:15 am

    Hope Sunday has lots of smiles for you three, much love as always Julia. Your writing always has such a way of summing everything up perfectly xx
    Beth @ Twinderelmo recently posted…Bad Things Can Happen To Good ParentsMy Profile

  • Reply
    Mini Travellers
    June 17, 2016 at 10:58 am

    Jules my lovely, I’d say your idea of going out somewhere for the day and blowing the cobwebs away if a fab idea. You can talk or think about Rog but not be surrounded in the way you would a a lunch place etc. Walk down to Thurstaton or somewhere like that. xxx
    Mini Travellers recently posted…Travel Tips: Midi Flyte ScooterMy Profile

  • Reply
    Hayley @hayleyfromhome
    June 17, 2016 at 12:10 pm

    These days are always horrible for people who have lost someone, I always think the same when they roll around. I think going out somewhere outdoors for the day sounds like the best plan – it will be a distraction but a way to mark the day too. A walk on a beach maybe and ice cream/cake. You can listen to some of Rog’s favourite tunes on the way xx
    Hayley @hayleyfromhome recently posted…My Summer Reading ListMy Profile

  • Reply
    June 17, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    I cannot imagine what you must be going through, I want to give you a big hug. Whatever you do this weekend try to make it fun for the kids and maybe make some new memories ‘in memory’ if you know what I mean?
    RachelSwirl recently posted…#LittleLoves – Getting Back On TrackMy Profile

  • Reply
    June 17, 2016 at 6:15 pm

    Do whatever feels right for your family. I lost my dad young and for us celebrating father’s day was too painful.

  • Reply
    sarah christie
    June 17, 2016 at 9:49 pm

    Oh Julia I will be thinking about you all, it must be so hard knowing what to do for the best, I would be tempted to get a movie shut the curtains get hot dogs and popcorn and ice cream and have a chill day but who knows what it is right, I suppose you have to go with your gut instinct x
    sarah christie recently posted…A Weekend In Yorkshire And A Bit of Family Time At Brompton LakesMy Profile

  • Reply
    Dee Matthews
    June 17, 2016 at 10:26 pm

    Julia your boy sounds so clever and intelligent – you are so right whatever you end up doing will be just fine as long as it is together. My boy asked me this evening what my dad was called (I don’t have one, well I do but he left when I was young) I never really pay the day much attention but I had to answer him honestly and he looked at me like a million thoughts were going through his head. I like your idea of playing his favourite music & eating his favourite food. You write so well hun, big hug x
    Dee Matthews recently posted…A Yorkshire RoseMy Profile

  • Reply
    June 18, 2016 at 7:20 am

    Fathers day without a dad is hard. No two ways about it but there is no sense in forcing any of you to try to feel particularly jolly or sullen because Hallmark say so.
    Do what you feel. Talk, laugh, get out in the fresh air mention Rog when any of you want to and spend the day loving each other.
    Thinking of you all. Loads of love. X
    Tanya recently posted…The only way is Honest.My Profile

  • Reply
    June 18, 2016 at 7:50 am

    I’ll definitely be thinking of you tomorrow. I’ve turned it into Grandad’s Day for my son! I think your idea to celebrate everything about their Dad is a really lovely idea. Yes, it might be sad at times but I’m sure you will all have lots of lovely times and moments as you think of all of the things he liked and enjoyed, hopefully bringing back some very special memories xxx

  • Reply
    June 19, 2016 at 9:17 pm

    Must be SUCH a tough day – hope you’ve been OK. Big hugs and love to you always xxx
    mummyofboygirltwins recently posted…Our family holiday {Levante Beach, Rhodes}My Profile

  • Reply
    Mackenzie Glanville
    June 21, 2016 at 1:16 am

    I’m sorry I just got around to reading this post and father’s day has passed (for us it is in September). I hope the day passed with love. I cannot even begin to imagine what it is like to grow up without a dad, like you mine is still here. My heart breaks for your children and for you. Thinking of you as always and I love the gnome! I also love the idea of the moustaches that is very cute and funny xx
    Mackenzie Glanville recently posted…Divergence of the mind #mgMy Profile

  • Reply
    Tracey Williams
    June 21, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    Julia I hope you all managed to have a lovely day on Sunday, whatever you chose to do with the children. I am sure it was filled with love and memories of Roger. Big hugs to you all x
    Tracey Williams recently posted…Little Loves – Fathers Day, running and girlie chatterMy Profile

  • Reply
    Megan - Truly Madly Kids
    June 22, 2016 at 10:16 am

    These milestones sure are hard to get through, you still amaze me every day, that you handle your grief with such grace.

    On an entirely different note, I love the hen do badges!!

    M XXX
    Megan – Truly Madly Kids recently posted…Living Orlando #LovenotHateMy Profile

  • Reply
    July 8, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    Julia so sorry I haven’t read this post before – it was a hard day for me too. I can imagine the day was especially hard for your kids as so difficult to understand but I’m sure with you being the wonderful mother you are you managed to smile and get through it because you’re one strong lady. Its lovely you have your old posts to look back on as well. much love honey xxx
    mamasvib recently posted…V. I. BUYS: Sweetie, Darling…this is how to look Absolutely Fabulous TODAY!My Profile

  • Reply
    February 19, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    hi Julia
    i am ella you know my dad, mothers day was really hard for me but this year [2017] this will help me think on how i am not alone in this sitoation. i really look up two you.

    ella xx

    • Reply
      February 22, 2017 at 9:29 pm

      Hi Ella, I’m sure Mother’s Day will be so hard this year too, but I’m glad reading our story has helped even a tiny bit. I’m always here if you need me! Say hi to your dad from me 🙂 xx

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