Father’s Day: A new hope

It’s Father’s Day here today and a lot of families across the United Kingdom will assemble to celebrate the fathers in their life — that’s if they were lucky. I guess some aren’t quite as fortunate to be surrounded by their loved ones. I always like to think that someone, somewhere, has that special parent who is both Mum and Dad, whatever the circumstances.

I have never been a massive advocate for Father’s Day until I was widowed. Before I would have just viewed Father’s Day as 1 day out of 365 that was blatantly saved for us to express how incredibly grateful we should be to have a Father. The old me would usually say something like “we should show how much we appreciate our Fathers every single day of lives. The world would be a better place.” I literally viewed all of the “Hallmark” holidays as inventions for commercial promotions.

One strange personality transformation I experienced from loss is that I now live in the present, the ‘Now’. Forget about tomorrow, every single event in life is important. All of ‘Hallmark’ holidays have actually – in reverse, made my world a better place. They have all become completely intensified, no matter which one. They offer me a platform or should I say an excuse to celebrate the important things in life. Not that we should really need one I suppose – but still every day is precious?

My daughter, Margot, is a ‘present’ being too. She even taught me about this life lesson. For the past few months, a day hasn’t gone by when she hasn’t hugged me and said, “I love you so much, Daddy.” For a Father, beautiful words like these are all I need to hear. Though she doesn’t need to say it. She shows it naturally in all her actions. The reason I know this, is in the way she expresses her feeling or emotions in the exact point it’s needed. It leaves no doubt in my mind how my daughter feels about me being her Daddy. It’s visible when she begs me to spend time with her. It’s shown when I see her ‘super’ excited face each time I pick her up from Nursery. She shows me when she jumps with joy when I tell her I’m cooking her favourite meal in the whole wide world.

This Father’s Day, I am surrounded by the most important people in my life as I have come to the realisation I’m one of the lucky ones. I have a father and a new father-in-law, and I am a father too. So, I’m hoping today will be a happy and grateful day for me. This is all the appreciation I need this Father’s Day and beyond.

We may not have Katherine in our lives anymore, but we do have her energy, her love and her humour around us at all times. We have recently started the next chapter in our lives, our second chance, with my wife Nicola. I now have someone to tell me how they appreciate me, to tell me I’m doing a good job with Margot, to thank me. Which is so different and revitalising – as a Dad on Father’s Day I never really got the chance to experience this until today.

Nicola is someone who Margot can appreciate too, someone who Margot can call upon to write me a card or buy me a present. Gone are the days when I would use Margot’s savings and say “gosh Margot, your taste is impeccable” – as I opened the Father’s Day present I bought myself.

Mark, Margot and Nicola.

For those who haven’t, it might either be a time for reflection or time to avoid the television, restaurants, pubs or any other outlets that inadvertently make us feel worse than we already do by treating us all as if we’re the same. Maybe it’s time to celebrate that special Mum you might still have. The one who became Mum and Dad, the one who gave you everything she could?

For those of us who are lucky enough to actually have a father, it’s probably time to send a thoughtful card, pick up the phone or make a visit to show him how much you care. So, to those of you reading this – go and thank your Dad for all that he does and make sure to remind him how much you love him.

• Thank him for the countless times he might have driven you to Football practice

• Thank him for the countless times he taught you a life skill.

• Thank him for paying your mobile phone bill or for that money you needed to borrow.

• Thank him for calming your Mum down when she went crazy because you haven’t’ been pulling your weight around the house.

• Thank him for being there, when you needed him!

• Thank him for everything little thing he does for you. This is what we call ‘unconditional’ love.

Dad if you ever read this — I love you. Thank you for everything.

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