i have this tradition. every year, on father’s day, i go somewhere i’ve never been. to celebrate my father’s life, to honor his role, to get my mind out of the day-to-day normalcy, to see more of this world, to appreciate life. my tradition has ranged from crazy fun (new orleans, i love you) to the zen town of point reyes to the rolling hills of iowa. this year, my checkbook wasn’t allowing a destination far from home. i decided to hike a mountain fairly close by, apparently it’s the third most hiked mountain in the world behind mount fuji in japan and tai shan in china. knowing this, i set off fairly early, not wanting to be around crowds on the trail.
fortunately, not too many people were around when i started off this morning. it was a beautiful day, and i was mostly alone as i hiked to the summit. i did run into a few groups of people, clearly kids with their fathers. my heart sank a little, envious of their time with their dads. despite the fact that emerson and thoreau (this mountain being present in their writings) would be rolling in their graves, i decided to listen to my ipod, to focus on my day, rather than anyone else’s.
as i approach the summit, i take in the view. it is breathtaking. on a clear day, you can see six states from the summit. and i realize, i’m just a little closer to heaven. a little closer to Billy. i sit for a while. sad. content.
after my hike, i spent the afternoon with a dear friend and her family. she recently lost her father unexpectedly, and i felt like i just wanted to be in her space. i wanted her and i to share this space of sadness and understanding. i love my time with her, and today was no exception. unfortunately, we now are both the daughters of fathers whose lives ended way too soon, and because of this, we have an even greater bond.
and as i sit here typing, reflecting on my day, i am truly filled with gratitude. i am one of the lucky ones. i had an amazing relationship with my father. he taught me to value family and friends above all else. he taught me the value of relationships with loved ones, and not to take them for granted.
i am trying, Dad. i listened. and even though you’re not in front of me to give me a hug, i know you’re with me. and i hope you are proud.