culture clash, death, Father's Day, grandparents, grief, loss

Dad 6/26/16

6/26/16
I’ve been thinking about my dad recently.  I lost him to cancer when he was 50 years-old.  It was an undetected and extremely progressive cancer.  We went from finding out he had the disease to burying him in less then a year.  It was an excruciating process.

It’s been well over 10 years since he died and the pain has since dulled, even subsided.  But recently, I’ve been telling my son and daughter more about their grandpa and the amazing person that he was.

My kids went all out this year for their own father, my husband, for Father’s Day.  The video that they made for their dad brought him to tears.  It was a great day… but it was also, as my son called it, “a happy sad day.”  When my husband face-timed his dad with the kids to wish him a happy Father’s day, my in-laws would not show themselves in the camera.  My father-in-law also  wouldn’t speak to my husband, so he was not able to wish him happy Father’s Day.   The call ended with my mother-in-law telling my husband how disappointed they were that we didn’t send them money for Father’s Day and for my mother-in-law’s recent Birthday.  Our gift giving has been an ongoing challenge with them.  In the past, they chastised us for giving $85 instead of an even $100.  They said it showed we really didn’t care.  When I personally bought her a hat from Nordstrom, she made me go back with her to Nordstrom, return the hat in front of her, and then hand her the money.  It was a very shaming experience.  My husband made the decision not to put money in their cards recently, because he said money was tight these past few months since I stopped working to be a stay-at-home mom.

At the end of the night on Father’s Day, sitting in the dark as my kids fell asleep, I found myself in tears, missing my dad, wishing that he could have known my kids, that he could have met my husband, that my kids could have known and experienced their grandfather’s love.

It all hit me pretty hard.  My kids would have loved their grandpa.  He loved to be silly and goofy with his children — my sisters and I — just like their dad is with them.  My dad would have been so proud of his grandchildren and would have made them feel like a million dollars. This morning, I was again brought to tears as I thought about the racist Chinese laundry detergent commercial circulating the media right now.  I’m sad for my son, who may one day see that commercial when he’s older.  Today, at 5 years-old, he is innocent and oblivious to the racism against him, and that surrounds him.  I want to  protect him from it, but I know that I can’t.  I’m also sad thinking about my dad.  I’m glad that my dad will never have to see that commercial, but it breaks my heart that anyone would portray him, a black man, in such a mean and hurtful way.  He doesn’t deserve that, no one does.

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