Published on YourTango on 6/14/13 

Father’s Day can be hard if your dad has died, but you can still celebrate his life.

My own father died right after Father’s Day — a story that has taken some time to be able to tell but which you can read more about. While, in general, we do not think about the mortality of our parents, my father’s death was particularly difficult for a number of reasons (not the least of which was that he was only 60 and had not been particularly sick). It took time for me to be at peace with myself since he drove hundreds of miles to celebrate Father’s Day with me — and ended up having a heart attack.

It was a visit that I had been looking forward to and I had planned just the right things that he should enjoy. I never planned on his unexpected suffering and seeing his labored breaths. Then, I was alone in the hospital when decisions had to be made about his care. At that point, his death was still many days away, but I had my last conversation with my dad. Over the next days, my mom and sister would join me. In the end, we would make decisions together about the end of my dad’s life. Inside, I was wrestling with guilt for having him drive out to see me, anger at systems that did not work the way they should and a tempering of it all from my professional background.


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