To Dad

I bought a gift for my father four days ago for Father’s Day. It was nothing particularly special as he was living in a nursing home due to advancing dementia and there was not all that much I could give him as his life grew narrower and narrower, both physically and mentally. In addition to the gift, I was going to sign and inscribe a copy of my latest novel (War Hawk this year). This had become a tradition over the past several years. While he couldn’t really tackle a novel, he would read the inscription, pride shining on his face, something even his dementia could not diminish.

Unfortunately, my father passed away on Friday, two days before Father’s Day. I had not yet signed that edition of War Hawk. It had been sitting on my desk for the past week. Yesterday after dealing with funeral homes and the thousand small details that are required to tidy up a life, I held that book in my hand. I could have shelved it away without signing it, but it felt too much like a final good-bye to my dad, a finality that I was not ready to accept. So I inscribed one last book to my father. He’ll never read it now. But I know somewhere his face is shining with that same pride.

So all of you hug your dads, tell them you love them–but also show them. Know that the holiday is as much about thanking them as it’s a chance for fathers to take pride in their children. Cherish those moments and don’t take them for granted. Because there may come a day when you’re holding a gift in your hands, with no one to give it to.

So to all the fathers out there who love their children and take pride in their accomplishments: Happy Father’s Day.

to dad

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