My father called at midnight on the day I graduated from high school. He hadn't attended the commencement and the last time I'd spent time with him was for my 12th birthday. "Have a good life," was what he said. I was 18 and I have no memory of how I responded.
I don't have much to write about Father's Day that won't sound pitiful. At 36, I still wish, almost everyday, that things had turned out differently - that my father had turned out differently. That he would have stuck around to tell me he loves me. To tell me I'm pretty. But still, I have his nose. When I look in the mirror, I still see his eyes. I can't escape the part of me that is him. And the parts that I can't see, the factions of my heart that are the same as his: the dark as well as the light - the man who sang and loved us outloud. But it is a bitter pill, this day. Always, every year.
Watch this video from the closing moments of the movie Smoke Signals. It features a version of Dick Lourie's poem "Forgiving our Fathers" which speaks for all of us, I think - those who love our fathers in spite of themselves and those who live with their ghosts.