I’ve been out of sorts for over a week now. Ploughing on with life each day but knowing that this day was fast approaching. Just like all the other firsts. But this one is a big one for me. As were the others, but today is all about Fathers’, and I always share my praise of Dad on this day each year. There’s always a facebook memory to remind me of the previous year when I told the world once again how wonderful my Dad was. And each year I became more and more proud of the man he was. This year is no different, except he’s not here. Even writing these words, still seems so surreal. ‘He’s not here‘. How can my Dad not be here? My rock, my hero. But he’s here in me. I just know it. Dad will always be a part of me.
Today is a tough one, but the date is also very special. It’s exactly one year ago today that Dad and I were sat together for lunch at the local Treehouse Restaurant. Little did I know that day would be the last lunch date Dad and I would have – just the two of us. It was a Friday, and that weekend was the Donegal Rally weekend last year. I’ve never had an interest in the Rally, but last year was to be different. On that Friday morning, I got a phone call (one I’ll always treasure) telling me that a number of helicopters would be arriving at The Treehouse Bar and Restaurant around lunchtime. Some of the Rally drivers taking part over the weekend were arriving in style and I was invited over to take some photographs. Of course I rang Dad straight away. The perfect excuse for lunch with Dad. We both loved our lunch dates. As always, he didn’t hesitate; he loved The Treehouse Bar and Restaurant. Their chicken goujons were the best (his words), and their fish a close second. He had the fish on this day. I remember it well.
We had finished lunch. I was sipping a cup of coffee. And the commotion got up; the helicopters were arriving. Dad was so excited and felt so very special that day watching them all arrive. I left that day to go to work and Dad went home. As I drove to work I was so happy that I was able to make another memory for Dad. Little did I know it was to be one of the last memories we would make together. And I certainly never imagined that would be our very own last lunch date. Looking back, I’m so glad we made those lunch dates – and each one was special. We always laughed a lot.
That was just a few days after Father’s Day last year. And now I find myself this year with no Dad to celebrate with. The first Father’s Day in 50 years, that Dad isn’t here with me. And it’s hard. I think I’ve cried a lot of tears over the past week knowing today was coming. Knowing Dad wouldn’t be here for any more Father’s Days. But yet there’s always going to be Father’s Day.
Everyone told me the first of everything would be tough. It’s true. But only when you meet these days do you really understand how tough they are. I’m the first to post on my social media wishing my Dad a Happy Father’s Day. I’m there and ready with my post and my image. This year it’s still going up, but just a bit (a lot) different. It’s the hardest thing ever. Knowing this day is all about Dad, and yet he’s not here.
However I’m going to try and smile a lot today. There are so many wonderful memories and none more so, than this very day last year. That day when he and I got to see those helicopters arrive in Muff. The Treehouse Bar and Restaurant will always hold fond memories of Dad, and today it’s back there that my memory takes me. And there’s only smiles when I think on it. Only smiles when I think of all those Father’s Days gone by.
So as the tears escape today, so do the smiles. Smiles for a Dad loved and always remembered with so much love. Here’s to you Dad, today and always.