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It’s Father’s Day here in North America and I have been on the verge of tears all day. I feel sad, frustrated, scared, helpless and very far away from my entire family.

I have a father-in-law doing radiation treatments, a Dad who is going for major surgery this upcoming Friday and a Stepdad who is undergoing chemo as he battles colorectal cancer.

And I feel helpless about it all.

It is making this Father’s Day particularly difficult for me. I wish I could do more. This feeling of helplessness is exhausting me and I feel like my reaction to it is to become a deer in headlights-standing there, frozen, unable to do anything.

My Father-in-Law has always treated me like his very own daughter. Maybe the daughter he never had. He has an incredible way of always making me feel loved and welcome. I have never felt like a visitor in his presence, but always like family. From the first time I met him he made me feel special-like he was proud that I was the one his son had chosen. This is an incredible gift that has granted me much encouragement, inspiration and support through the years.

My Dad loves the outdoors. For the first 7 years of my life, I spent a lot of time camping, swimming, hiking, canoeing, fishing and just being outdoors. When I was very young, I used to love getting up early and sitting outside the house with him, watching the sunrise. To this day, the smell of coffee always brings me right back to those warm, red, sun-bathed memories. I learned  how to be quiet, how to let your thoughts and emotions be worked-out through physical activity. I learn from him how to be hardworking and to keep moving, no matter what.

My Stepdad has been my rock, my refuge and my safety. He is a true, ‘salt of the earth’ kind of man. He is a retired farmer. He took-over his Dad’s farm and poured his blood, sweat, and tears into the land and the livestock. I still remember the year he was finally able to purchase his ‘dream’ section of land. For his entire life, a beautiful section of land separated his fields, but the owner never wanted to sell. The year the owner finally sold it, I went out on the 4-wheelers as my Stepdad, puffed with pride, showed me his new land. He pointed-out the gorgeous flowers, the luscious grass, the perfect placement of the trees. On that day, I saw a a man’s dreams come to a meaningful completion.

All three of these men have strengthened my life, supported me, and encouraged me in who I am. And, here I sit-miles away from each of them-aware that they are all going through their own, unique, struggles and circumstances and feeling responsible and guilty for my lack of returned support.

I have enjoyed spending the day with my husband, the Daddy to our own, wonderful, child. But, it has been a really difficult day as well. If I could do anything for my Dad’s this Father’s Day, it would be to remove all their pain, illness, discomfort and fear. 

Everything else just feels so empty. 

But, for what it’s worth, I love you Dads.

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