Ever since my dad died when I was twelve, Father’s Day has been hard for me. Most years, I just try to ignore it.
This year, the day before Father’s Day, I rode in the ALS Bike Express to raise money for team Legs for Greg. Greg has defied the odds and lived with ALS for eight years since being diagnosed. Among his many roles, Greg is a husband, father, teacher, and artist. He began painting in earnest after his ALS diagnosis, and he continued painting with the help of volunteers even after he began to lose hand and arm strength.
Greg’s spirit and courage inspire me and that is why I ride.
So, the day before Father’s Day, I stood proudly at the finish line with the Legs for Greg team, hamming it up for pictures.
After team photos, Greg’s daughters stepped in for a picture with their dad. With face-wide smiles, they leaned in, pecked him on the cheeks, and happily sang out Happy Father’s Day just before the camera snapped their picture.
I choked-up, my eyes watered, and I had to step away.
I don’t know whether the rush of emotion was happiness because they get to celebrate another Father’s Day with their dad or sadness and jealously because I had so few with mine. I’m guessing it was a mix of all three.
There’s a line in my upcoming novel, CAPE MAYBE, where the narrator, Katie says, “I don’t remember my father, but I miss him as if I do.”
Unlike Katie, I got to know my dad, but only as a child. I wish my adult self could have known him.
And boy, like Katie, do I still miss him.
For a small glimpse at why Greg inspires me, stop by his website to admire his artwork at http://www.telthorsterart.com/