What Father's Day Is Like For Someone Without A Father

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Growing up, Father's Day was always a big deal for me.

I was that "son my dad never had" child.

I remember being in kindergarten the day before Father's Day drawing my stick figure family with a crayon.

I remember going home to attach it to whatever tool kit my mother had gotten my dad that year.

And, I remember waking up and being so excited to help my mom cook breakfast. I couldn't wait to show my dad his presents. It was absolutely blissful.

I remember leaving school for the summer after my freshman year of college, with Father's Day just on the horizon.

Except this year, I wasn't looking forward to Father's Day. I had no gift planned.

I knew I wouldn't be able to eat the breakfast my mom may or may not be making because I wouldn't be able to stomach even looking at it.

I had not a single excited bone in my body to even be going home. That's all because six months before that, in January 2013, my father passed away in a tragic and unexpected single car accident.

I thought I couldn't celebrate Father's Day that year because I no longer had a dad. I was absolutely dreading having to experience that day.

But, Father's Day came with an inundation of "I love my dad, and this is why" captions on every single social media platform around. I posted one, too, and I felt kind of awkward, really.

I didn't want to make people uncomfortable. That year, I grieved hard. The first Father's Day without my father was perhaps one of the most difficult days of my life thus far.

And it was awkward, too. People took notice of it. People started to avoid talking about their dads around me and tried to change the subject when it came up.

And to be honest, it kind of made me mad. It filled me with anger to think none of these people had any idea what it is like to actually appreciate someone or cherish someone because they hadn't lost anyone.

It really started to upset me. I was jealous, too. Even though I thought they were unappreciative, I would rather be on the other side. The grass is always greener, I guess.

But, life went on, and so did the birthdays, anniversaries and holidays from which my father would now and forever be absent.

I thought about how I still celebrated other holidays despite his absence. Why should the holiday that is dedicated to him be any different?

So, every year on Father's Day, I now do a few things to celebrate my father and his legacy:

Do something he enjoyed.

Is there something your father enjoyed more than anything else? A sport or a show he watched religiously? Did he collect anything?

For my dad, it was sitting in a big lawn chair by our fire pit with a red Solo cup of rum and coke and listening to Dave Matthews Band.

So, every Father's Day, that is exactly what I do to commemorate him.

Take the time to do something your father would have done in his own free time.

You might be surprised to find what you two have in common.

Just remember him.

Sometimes, all it takes is just a good sit down with a scrapbook and some family and friends. Nothing keeps someone alive like a good story.

It gives us a chance to still feel connected to them, and it's a way learn things we probably would've never known otherwise.

I have to say, I have learned several interesting facts about my own father through stories from his friends and family.

It's nice to learn about our personality similarities and to be able to hear about what kind of kid your father was.

Value the lessons he taught you.

The most important thing to me while my father was alive was his approval. He could be relatively strict at times, and I didn't always help.

Yeah, I may have been a track runner, but I did come in dead last in the race for daughter of the year on a few occasions.

Yeah, I may have been a track runner, but I did come in dead last in the race for daughter of the year on a few occasions.

Yeah, I may have been an AP student, but I was terrible at math and failed my fair share of math classes.

Yeah, I may have had a wild phase, but I never lost sight of my respect for my father. And, whenever I fell short, he'd be there to put it right.

I walk in this world as a better, more gracious and more humble person because of the fact I still value the lessons my father taught me. I always will.

Whenever I'm about to make a questionable decision, I think, "Okay, what would Dad think if I came home and told him this?" It keeps my head level.

Thank your mother.

Perhaps one of the best ways to celebrate Father's Day when you don't have a father is to celebrate your mother.

This woman is doing her best to take on both roles, so she deserves to be appreciated for both roles.

Losing a father for one could mean losing a husband for another, so it is just as hard, if not harder, for her on days like these.

So, please take the time to respect and love your mothers on this day, just as you would have your fathers.