The Dead Dads Club is a society you hope never to become a member of, but once you do you are forever one of us. When a girl/woman loses her father a piece of her dies as well. Although it never goes away, The Dead Dads Club members will help you get through the tough times.
Through the tears, laughs, and all of those uncomfortable situations we are there for each other. Humor is what I have found is the key to making it through. Most importantly, you must find other members to bond with. Non members can sympathize, but they can not empathize. No one who is not a member can ever fully understand.
We all become members at different stages in our lives. That doesn’t matter because our road is now the same. I am writing this during a weekend of weddings. Anyone who is a member of The Dead Dads Club knows what that means.
My group of The Dead Dads Club are very supportive of each other. We compare notes on what to do when a bride is being walked down the aisle by their father, the father daughter dance, and the fathers speech so that we don’t break down right there.
Knowing exactly when to go MIA.
Going to the bathroom right before the father daughter dance.
Stepping outside right before the dreaded speech from father to daughter.
Checking out everyone’s shoes under the table so you have something to focus on.
There is no missing the notorious aisle walk. But we find ways to keep from falling apart right there in front of everyone.
Find a focal point where you can stare, zoning out without anyone noticing.
Counting in your head while staring at your focal point.
The groom is a good place to stare.
There is no getting out unscathed, but why not minimize the pain?
Fathers Day is of course a yearly reminder of what we no longer have. My sister and I were lucky in a way. We had no grandfathers or uncles, so we could get drunk or hibernate away from everyone on Fathers Day and just cry. We did this for years.
Suddenly, something changed and my sister and her husband had twins. I will never forget the absolute anguish I felt when I had to face down the ominous Fathers Day aisle at the store for the first time in years. Standing there blankly staring at all of the cards, trying not to lose it right there.
People try to be sympathetic, but are unknowingly offensive. My father passed during my senior year of high school. When I returned to my waitressing job shortly after my fathers death one of the older woman customers actually asked me “aren’t you the girl whose father just died”? I froze, not sure how to react. What I wanted to say was FUCK YOU! What I said was yes, that’s me. The other most common statements people make that make a member of The Dead Dads Club furious are: I know how you feel I lost my Uncle, Grandfather etc. Hello? I literally just lost my father! Well God has a plan. It was his time to go. The list goes on. So does the anger and pain of the members of this unfortunate club.
Whether you were called to come right now because your father was dying or you got a phone call after he passed, that memory will be with you forever. It is a movie clip that will forever play at unexpected times in your head. My sister and I were exhausted after my fathers open heart surgery so we left my mother at the hospital and went home. After all, he always made it through before. As we pulled into the driveway we got a phone call, you need to come back right now. By time we made it back to the hospital, he was gone. The guilt of not saying goodbye and having left to get some sleep will never leave. Guilt is an ugly cross to bear.
The what ifs? My fathers surgeon had an emergency surgery right before my fathers. So, my fathers surgery got pushed back. We had a decision to make, postpone his surgery, which was an ordeal with the blood thinners he was on, or to proceed as planned. We chose to proceed. The what if we decided to postpone breaks my heart every time. What if I had stayed? Would I have been able to say goodbye? Would he not have felt so alone when he died? Please don’t kill yourself with what ifs. You can not change the past. Most importantly your father wouldn’t want you torturing yourself. Easier said then done. This is where other members of The Dead Dads Club come in. They will help you through it.
When you lose your father you might be angry. Others will probably not understand this. But your sisters of The Dead Dads Club will. They will listen to you rant and pull you back when they know it is enough. Your tribe will understand when you need to talk about your mothers pain absolutely breaking your heart. Without the support of these women, my sister especially I would never make it through. You will share an unbreakable bond.
No matter what age a girl/woman is, she is always daddy’s little girl. A girls father is a hero, strong beyond compare, her forever safe place, and is indestructible in her eyes. It is devastating when that is ripped away. When a girl loses her father it leaves a hole in her heart, that although might get better with time, will never go away completely. Welcome to The Dead Dads Club.
Until next time….