Are doctor office visits a thing of the past? This new virtual hub might be...

IMAGE

Top of our wish list: candles that are maybe too pretty to burn

Megan Burns

The state of the fashion trend: Do they still exist or matter?

Marie Kelly

This gorgeous redbrick home in Rathmines is on the market for €825,000

Lauren Heskin

Boudoir photoshoots: ‘I wanted to create a place for women who don’t currently love their...

Jennifer McShane

Join this virtual event, where global leaders ask ‘what’s next’ for businesses, live events and...

Shayna Sappington

Marie Kelly always hated her brows. Until she had them tattooed.

Marie Kelly

What’s on this weekend: March 5-7

Lauren Heskin

Covid life: How to parent when you have no answers for them

Amanda Cassidy

Image / Editorial

Father’s Day for the fatherless: ‘I’m devastated about all the things he didn’t get to do… all the little faces he never met’


by Amanda Cassidy
21st Jun 2020

Amanda Cassidy on love and loss this Father’s Day weekend


The last Christmas we spent together was like all those that came before it. We bickered over the Milk Tray, teased my sister about her love life and got slippers for dad, again. We stretched out on the couch in front of the fire, full of turkey and cheese and joy and just enjoyed being together – in our own quirky, chaotic way.

Later, the same night, my sister got engaged. Four nights later, my father died.

The shock of death is a very strange thing. The shock of death that comes just after extreme joy is even more tumultuous. In the fog of sleep, the shouts in the night are quite similar to the shouts of joy. But the party was over. My sister’s ring sparkled spitefully as she pumped my father’s chest in vain. The paramedics sliced the decorative holly that wound up the stairs in order to get the plastic stretcher down. I remember the sadness on their faces.

“I welcome the chance to feel sad about all the things he didn’t get to do. All the songs he didn’t get to sing.”

We buried him on a wet New Year’s day under a rainbow. I wondered if he was the only one sleeping in the graveyard wearing Rudolf slippers.

Father’s Day is bittersweet. A reminder of what you don’t have. I throw myself into helping the children make cards for their own dad. Glitter and paper hearts, sticky glue and millions of pencil smudged kisses. I spent time telling them stories of their granddad and how he loved to sing. I hum his song. Yes, the tears still spring up. Good. It is many years since he died but the grief still comes easy.

I welcome the chance to feel sad about all the things he didn’t get to do, the little faces who would have loved him so much.

After the rain

Anger comes too. It is underrated when it comes to grief. My father dead at 59 made me furious. I knew, too, that he would be angry at himself for dying – upset that brothers had to walk sisters down aisles. Anger is an easier one to deal with than the piercing ache of sadness.

So we spent our first few Father’s Days and birthdays without him, seething with the unfairness of the world. Naturally, that level of rage is hard to maintain, but I flogged it along until two things happened. The first was the birth of the first grandchild – my sister’s daughter, my niece. It is a cliché to say that the joy of birth heals the pain of death, but it is often the truth.

This tiny scrumptious scrap reminded us that the world isn’t always a class-A bitch that steals joy. Sometimes it can be quite unpredictably lovely. Sometimes it can belch out a mewling beauty with warm velvety hands that reach for your face.

More importantly, her birth reminded us to be happy again.

The second wasn’t as romantic. Sometimes there are worse things than death, and in our case, we had to stop feeling sorry for ourselves and start to help someone who wasn’t doing too good. Fresh worry replaced anger and self-pity, and as unpleasant as that was, sometimes you need a less-than-glorious reminder that life goes on in all its clunky vastness.

Slowly, life evolved. It went from leaving an empty seat at the table to honour my father, to a sticky toddler stashing carrots under his cushion. Then some more tiny humans joined our family, some of them even mine.

Paper hearts

Now we were no longer children grieving for our father, we were mothers and fathers determined to give our little ones the best memories possible. Father’s Day is now about them face-planting on their dad in bed on a Sunday morning in June with hand-picked flowers, paper cards and tight hugs.

I recreate the good things and I hold close the not-so-good things because that’s all part of my patchwork life. Instead of being haunted by Father’s Day and other special dad-shaped times, I treasure the memories and I still hum his song.

Every year around now, I still allow myself to feel desperately sad that he missed out on so much – all the weddings, all the births, all the Father’s Days, and most of all, his grandchildren who proudly don their Christmas slippers all year round and who shout ‘Hi Grandad’ at rainbows.

Read more: This remarkable story of the man who fosters terminally ill children will warm your heart

Read more: Children in lockdown: ‘It is time to realise they are not ok’

Also Read

essay collections
EDITORIAL
6 brilliant essay collections for when you can’t commit to a whole book

Time these days is a contradiction.  Slow-moving, yet somehow passing...

By Jennifer McShane

EDITORIAL
GoFundMe CEO: ‘Ireland is the most generous nation in the world’

These days, it’s easier than ever to give something back....

By Jennifer McShane

sore eyes UTI period
EDITORIAL
Health Check: What are prostaglandins and how do they affect my period symptoms?

If you find yourself suffering with symptoms like cramping, sore...

By Erin Lindsay

Phone
EDITORIAL
Why are we so afraid of answering our phone?

There is not a soul on this earth who likes...

By Grace McGettigan

Covid crying
EDITORIAL
Tears, fears and tissues: The 5 types of Covid crying we’re all by now familiar with

It goes without saying that most of us have had...

By Edaein OConnell

EDITORIAL
Why Harry and Meghan were dead right to walk away

By Amanda Cassidy

Christmas cost
EDITORIAL
What I Spend at Christmas: The 37-year-old digital marketer earning €25k who isn’t buying presents for her siblings

Christmas cost the average Irish family €2,700 over the festive...

By IMAGE

Has society become more tolerant of the idea of dating interracially?
premium IMAGE WRITES, REAL-LIFE STORIES, RELATIONSHIPS
Interracial dating: “People kept asking ‘where is she from?'”

With diversity on the rise, what struggles do interracial couples continue to face today? Filomena Kaguako speaks to three couples about their experiences.

By Filomena Kaguako