In a world where mothers are reveled as the primary caretakers, it was a treat to see millions of people around the world celebrate their fathers – the true source of strength, support and more often than not, entertainment as well. Every form of social media was inundated with loving words and adorable pictures of handmade cards and fathers with their loved ones. While Father’s Day today, is a day of gifts and celebrations, not many of us know that it was born out of a tragedy.
In 1907, more than 360 men were killed in a mine explosion in a small town in West Virginia, leaving behind 1000s of fatherless children. A young woman named Grace Golden Clayton, who was also mourning the death of her father at the time was much affected by this tragedy. She then requested the pastor of her church to dedicate a day to honor all fathers and the first sermon of remembrance was held. Unfortunately, the thought never spread outside of this little town at the time until 1910. Another young woman named, Sonora Smart Dodd, was one of six children who lost their mother at a very young age. Their father alone helped raise them all and played the role of both parents. Sonora heard a Mother’s Day sermon and was motivated to honor her father too in a similar way. She then started a campaign to celebrate Father’s Day in a similar manner. Although churches around the country started honoring father’s on this special day, it wasn’t until 1974 that it was official.
For many however, it is a bittersweet day. A painful reminder of a piece of them that no longer exists. A void in your heart that cannot be filled. A child mourning the loss of a father. A father mourning the loss of a child. But you wipe away those tears with memories for life must go on. Memories filled with laughter and special moments.
We remember those hurting because of nature’s wrath, like those in Nepal. We remember those hurting because of man’s wrath, like those in Charleston SC. We remember those who bravely lay down their lives to safeguard our country. We remember those who strive each day to ease the path for their loved ones. We remember those who may not be biological fathers but by their unconditional love define human relationships.
My father has taught me the meaning of hard work and humanity. To me, he is the epitome of humbleness. From a very modest upbringing, it was through pure determination that he was able to educate and make a name for himself. He has achieved much throughout his life and has a lot to his credit. But the greatest of it are all the people he has helped in attaining their own goals.
My father-in-law, a man I was not fortunate enough to meet. It makes me sad that my children and I will never get to know him personally. But then I see what respectful and strong men and women he has made of his children. And in some way I see him, through them. He lives in our minds through the wonderful images we paint of him.
My husband has shown me what true partnership is. Not just as parents but in every walk of life. If our children grow up having half the qualities that he has, we have done a good job. Like the needles of a clock, we work in sync. It doesn’t matter that one is slow and one is fast. All that matters is that they are connected.