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49 Fathers: A Week of Heartache This Father’s Day

When frightened as a kid – after watching scary movies when I was too young to – only one father mattered. In those same years, I wanted to strike-out the side or slug the game-winner, to impress my one father.

I became her one father when my daughter, Malia, launched her story, full of eloquence and vigor and Katharine’s one father, three years later when she burst onto the scene with her special outburst of sunshine.

One father, at least the terrestrial kind, to rock little ones in the big chair; to sing lullabies to in one stage and sing Taylor Swift with during another. One father to shout, “Good morning, beauties,” during sunrise and demand “go to sleep” at night. One father with endless lectures about the dangers of boys and complete ambivalence about the Harry Potter.

One father to ask, “Why are you taking so long?” One father to make them complete the chores mommy left, though everyone knows he doesn’t care. One father to play catch, kick the ball, coach the team, and keep the secrets about how much cake we ate.

In every house I’ve lived in, there has been one father.

But this Father’s Day, thinking and blessing one father isn’t quite right. Today is about 49 fathers.

It’s been one week for 49 fathers.

One week since their children went out with friends in Orlando. One week listening to politicos, pundits, and the public reduce 49 heartaches to whatever one cause they were already blaming for one thing they already hated. One week of over-simplistic ideologies papering over 49 sorrow-filled souls.

It’s been one week for 49 fathers.

49 fathers are in possession of 49 souls forever married to mourning. 49 fathers whose spirits rip with agony this Father’s Day and every future Father’s Day.

49 fathers would give anything to say “I love you,” just one more time. 49 fathers would love one more dinner; to have one more talk; to give one more gift; to embrace one more hug; to see one more smile; to hear one more laugh.

In my house there is one father, praying for one gift this Father’s Day: That 49 fathers feel the presence of Our Father and grieve the heartache of losing a child.

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  • Amy Palmer

    That is so beautifully said.

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