I have had many Fathers Days without my Dad. It never seems to get any easier for me. He passed away in 1999 after living with a terminal illness for 10 years. He outlived the doctors dire diagnoses and expectations by 4+ years.
That was just him. Stubborn all the way. He got that from the Steeves side of the family. His Dad (passed away some 5 years ago ) and sister are the same way.
Thankfully, the stubborn streak skipped me and went straight to my kids. (Ahem, cough cough, Kayla)
My Dad wasn't just a Dad. He was a single Dad back in the days when only widowers raised their children. He was the first father in our region to win custody of his kids. Not that it matters much, but my brother had a different bio Dad (also one hell of a great man. I miss him almost as much as I miss my Dad). My Dad got custody of a kid that biologically wasn't even his. Unheard of 35 years ago.
We lived like 3 bachelors in many ways. My Dad was a great cook, but being the only parent in the house, he worked full time. He was security at concerts, he ran a hobby shop, he had his own towing business, and finally, he sold tombstones. (crap, I mean memorials. He always corrected me when I said that)
He took us to the drive in - I remember seeing Star Wars there. (It was where Toys R Us is now, Gabriel) and came to all of our school events. I can recall one time, when I was about 7, and I was in a Brownie troop. We were having a Mothers Day tea, and we made hats out of paper plates and tissue paper flowers. I waited and waited to hear from my Mum that she was coming. Of course, she didn't. So, my Dad filled in for her, as he always did. He proudly wore his paper bonnet and squished himself into the little chair. He was the only man there.
My Dad wasn't only a good Dad, he was a great son to my Nannie, and even to Betty's mom after they were divorced. He did everything for his mom, even though they had a strained relationship. You see, my Dad was raised in an orphanage, from the time he was 5 until he was 16. My grandparents divorced in 1939, and being a divorced woman was considered shameful. My Nannie had no help from her family, and it was impossible to keep my Dad while she worked full time. It just did not happen back then. They saw each other most weekends, but my Dad didn't come home again until he was 16. Still, he loved his mom.
When I was 10, my Dad met a woman who worked at Sears. He bought a watch battery from her, and they made a date. One date turned into another and another, and before I knew it, I had two new brothers and a sister. We moved out to Smallburg, and life would never be the same for me. There is alot that I can say about Mission Mary. You all know how I feel about her. She has not honoured my fathers wishes and has cut me out of the family, and the will. It is what it is. I will say this for her. When my Dad was sick - and I mean bedridden, and confused - she took wonderful care of him. My sister, Posh and my brother Mike, doted on him. Why not? He gave up alot to adopt them. He loved them, they loved him. ( I wish that I could say the same for my other brothers).
There are days when I STILL pick up the phone to call him. I hear a good joke and my first thought is - Dad would love this. When KC graduated from college, my mind was on my Dad and how proud he would be.
I miss him so much. There isn't one day that goes by that I don't think of him. Honestly. Every achievement that one of my girls has, every birthday, confirmation, graduation, is bitter sweet because my Dad should be here with us. I think of all of the things that have happened since he passed - a divorce, 4 babies born, two weddings, and all of thefamily that we have since lost. I hate that he isn't here to share all of that with us. I hate that Jessica barely remembers him, and most of what she does remember is a man hooked up to an oxygen hose. I hate that he will never meet Shawn and that I can't tell him that I love him one more time.
Then, I remember that he was hooked up to that damn tank, for 4 years before he died. I see him, frail and breathless, in my memory, and I know that I am just being selfish.
In my heart he will always be Daddy. The man that raced stock cars, volunteered at the church,made the best BBQ ribs, and loved his kids. He will always be larger than life.
I miss you, Daddy, but I am glad that you are up there, somewhere, without that blasted hose, telling bad jokes with your Dad, your Mom (are they finally getting along?) your baby brother, and Lucky's Mom. He can breathe, and I believe that I will see him again someday. Until then, I love you, Daddy.
Happy Fathers Day, to my Dad and all of the other Dads out there.
John Joseph Steeves
January 15, 1934 - July 11, 1999