On Father’s Day in 2018, we buried Daddy’s ashes, on a hill overlooking the sea. It was a sunny day, and Daddy loved the sun. Even on overcast days, he would hone in on the smallest patch of blue sky. And if he couldn’t find it, he would still express cheerful certainty that the sun would show its face again soon.
As a writer, I am painfully aware of the limits of words. How little they can hope to capture of a relationship that spanned a lifetime. My father’s gentle warmth, the wordless melodies he sang while doing the dishes or gliding about the house…these are not things I can share with you in words. Not really.
I miss my dad more than words could ever say. His love for God and his family, his compassion for the world’s people and creatures, his quiet strength and wise humility continue to inspire and drive me. I take courage in knowing that his love is still with us, like the sun on a rainy day. Though I no longer see him, I feel his embrace, carrying me through the storms of life.
My father’s love made me who I am today. When I wrote new stories, he had me print them out and put them in a binder so he could read and reflect on them. When I got accepted for wildlife jobs, sent to Kenya and Yellowstone and other far-flung places, he was always so happy and proud, delighted to see me chasing my dreams. He showed unending support for my efforts and great interest in my work. His intellectual curiosity, openness to adventure, and his zest for life, along with his patient trust in God and the goodness of the universe, are part of the rich legacy he’s gifted me.
If you are lucky enough to have a loving father figure in your life today, I encourage you to show that person how much they mean to you. If you are grieving today, whether from the death of a loved one or the pain caused by a broken or hurtful relationship, then I send you my deepest condolences and pray that you’ll find healing and consolation. In any case, I hope you’ll reach out today to the people in your life, father figures or otherwise, who’ve shown you support and encouragement and brightened your path. Life is too short to wallow in darkness. Do your best to find the sun.
The beautiful obituary my mother wrote about my father is here: https://lostcoastoutpost.com/2018/jun/24/obituary-norman-richard-fontaine-1924-2018/