Last Christmas, my husband’s father came from Mexico to visit us. He stayed for about a week, but he wasn’t in the best health. He was coughing a lot and had trouble breathing; he thought he just caught a cold.
Fast-forward a couple of months, and he found out he had terminal lung cancer. The family has taken it pretty hard; none of us were prepared. How can you ever prepare for news like that? You just can’t. It’s even harder to process his passing.
This Father’s Day is so much different from any other. In the past, my husband would just send him a text or have a quick phone call to say “Happy Father’s Day.” This year, however, my husband and his dad were actually looking forward to spending time together and celebrating. That’s no longer possible, as his dad passed a few weeks before Father’s Day.
Now there’s a hole where my husband’s dad should be. My husband celebrated his mom and me on Mother’s Day, but there’s no celebrating for his dad. It’s been hard trying to figure out how to celebrate him and my dad without hitting that raw nerve. He was finally back on good terms with his dad, and now he can’t celebrate with him. It just doesn’t feel fair.
I was never close with my father-in-law. I had only seen him a handful of times in the seven years my husband and I have been together. For a majority of that time, there was a language barrier between us. He only spoke a little bit of English and my Spanish has always been very limited. Thankfully, my Spanish is a lot better than it used to be, so when he came in December we were able to have a conversation.
The hardest part, for me, has been trying to accept the fact that my father-in-law never got to meet his grandson. When he came in December, our daughter instantly loved him. She would never leave his side!
He was so excited to meet his grandson. While we couldn’t see him in person, we did talk on the phone with him regularly. Our daughter would just chat his ear off and our son would coo and squeal at him the whole time. It’s weird not hearing his voice anymore.
These are strange times we live in right now. It’s like we fell down the rabbit hole. Our world has been turned upside down.
This Father’s day, love and celebrate your dad, your husband, your grandfather — whoever you consider a father figure — a little more. This year, go super big to celebrate him in ways you normally wouldn’t. Do the grilling for him. Buy him more than socks or a tie. Make sure he has lots of his favorite beer, and that it’s ice cold. Watch his favorite movie with him without being on your phone the whole time. Have a deep, meaningful discussion with him. Learn about his family, his childhood, and where he grew up.
You might never get the chance to again.