Father’s Day has almost always been a tough one for me.
Even before he died some 12 years back, now, I’d chosen for various reasons to put up walls between us. By the time I got the call that he was gone, my father and I were largely estranged, me having made it clear that I didn’t want him in my life anymore.
It was out of defensiveness, it was out of anger, it was out of a fear that he was a dark reflection of myself in a distant mirror I’d spend years turning away from, but mostly, it was out of a clear vision of what I wanted my life to be and there was no place in it for the broken person he’d become.
Writing this out now and looking back on it all, it’s hard not to wish more sympathy upon my younger self in some distant hope of spending more time with my dad or maybe even helping him, but I know now as I did then that neither of those things were even remotely possible. He’d strayed so far from the person in this photograph and, for the most part, he’d chosen to be at that place in his life.
But even knowing all of that, especially on days like this, I still have so many fond memories of my dad. He missed a lot of me and my brother growing up, and, when he came back and re-married my mom when I was in high school, things were far from perfect, but there were some bright, shining seconds before things started getting really bad with him. I was starting to become more of who I am now, as an adult, and we shared a lot of bonding moments that I hold all the more dear with him now so long gone.
Many such moments involved music. Less us sharing musical tastes then, necessarily—he was a solid, true blue classic rock fan and I was an avid alt + industrial kid at the time. But he saw a passion for music in me and, him having that too, it gave us a broad common interest and language. I’ve still got countless memories of him trying to win me over to this band or that; many of which I funnily enough now actually do like.
One band that he loved that I simply could not stomach at that age was British band, Dire Straits. I still remember him trying to explain the lyrics to “Money for Nothing” to me and me openly mocking them.
Fast forward to today, when I can rarely get through last year’s Lost in the Dream by the War on Drug‘s without getting a little weepy, they remind me so much of Dire Straits and those conversations in the car with my dad.
So this one’s for you, dad. It’s a live version of my favorite track off the album. I think you’d like it. I know we had a strained, complicated relationship over the years, but I loved you and I know you loved me. I’m so sorry your life didn’t turn out better than it did. I miss you.