It used to be that Father’s Day was a bit of a pain, just another commercialised day. Not that I minded really, it was just something important to make sure you remembered, ensured you got to the shop to pick the perfect card, wrote something thoughtful inside and then got to the post office to make sure it was sent off in time – it wouldn’t do to have a card arrive after the event.
Although it wasn’t really much trouble, especially since I moved overseas and discovered Moonpig – it’s not as easy to get to the post office in the UAE as it is in the UK or some other parts of the world (and the cards here are nearly always pretty awful too) so Moonpig has been a great saviour on many an important date. So, although it wasn’t really much trouble and none that I minded taking, it was just another one of those days that I tried my best to keep in my mind, to remember when it was and get organised in time, doing my best to avoid the fear of being discovered at having forgotten and having had to make a last minute dash to the shops, or an absent minded dash for the laptop to meet the last posting date from Moonpig to ensure arrival in time.
This year is different. This year is the first year I haven’t had to remember the date, or even that Father’s Day exists, but of course in some cruel twist of fate, it’s the first year that the date has been embellished on my brain and nothing I can do will erase it. No matter how distracted or busy I get, or how many other things are going on in my life, that date is there, imprinted on my brain and most poignant by the fact that although this is the first year I don’t need to remember it – this is the year that I most want to remember it. The first year that I wish I did need to go to the ‘trouble’ of remembering to rush out and find the right card, of finding the right words to write inside, and to have the ‘hassle’ of making the effort and trying to get to the post office in time.
Everything has changed since last October, and yet nothing has changed at all. If I don’t think about everything we all went through last year, in some ways it’s easy to forget that anything happened – it’s still hard to believe my Dad is no longer with us. I can’t bear to change the entry in my phone that reads ‘Mum and Dad’ to just ‘Mum’ and there’s something I quite like about the fact that every time my Mum calls me on the iPad the name reads ‘Derek Nichols’ and a picture of my Dad sat in front of the laptop in the upstairs office appears. I suppose it’s easy enough to imagine while I chat to my Mum that he’s out on the golf course, pottering in the garden or off for a walk as he often liked to do. So while he has gone, and many of his things have gone now too, it is still sometimes hard to believe – though never more noticeable than on a day like today.
Happy Father’s Day.