Our article about being fatherless on Father's Day brought about more e-mails than ever before. Here are some of the highlights.
"Great words from the heart," said Mary Gin. "As a card carrying member of the DDC club since 1991 (Dead Dads Club at the age of 22), I get what you are saying. It is a club that has gained many members over the years, a club which one does not wish for their friends and loved ones to ever join."
Lisa said, "Today is my mom's birthday and I am trying to create a new tradition as to how we celebrate those special days. Just wanted to say thank you for the article from the 'Miss My Parent' club."
"This is my first Father's Day without my dad," wrote Sandie."I am 50 years old and my father passed away last week. Even though we were able to say how much we meant to each other, it's still very difficult. I just cried when I was sitting in my living room alone, quiet . . . and it hit me that I will never have a Father's Day again with Dad. I guess I have to grow up."
"Just read your article today about Father's Day and loved it," said Kelly. "My dad passed away almost 30 years ago when I was 14 and the last thing he told me was he loved me. That's not all that strange but we did not talk like that to each other often (although I knew he loved me) and he died unexpectedly. Now as a father, I make it a point to tell my two girls I love them every day."
"Thanks for the lovely words," wrote Mary. "I lost my father in my mid 20s and my husband and my son's father died nearly 8 years ago . . . of brain tumors. I find the day is a tough one as it is filled with memories and thoughts of those men and knowing the loss for both of us makes the day more poignant. We have started crafting our own celebrations of the day that work for us, and may seem odd to others, as in Chinese food and the movies. Trying to replace what we have both lost doesn't work, yet trying to remember and find a way to celebrate what we had and what we still treasure now rules the day."
"I can so relate to your ache of how to spend Father's Day with no dad," wrote Keith. "I lost my father, as well as an uncle and a close friend on three separate Father's Days over a five-year period. It's a terrible time of year for me. I try to stay busy. If there's a ball game I will try to go with my buddies to take my mind off it. But still, there are many time when you can't get away from the memories."
Patty wrote, "Thank you for your column about reaching out to our fathers on Father's Day. I have been in a fight with my dad. Why? Not really sure actually. Someone said something that upset somebody. Now it's gotten so out of hand that I'm going to end the silence with a call. I don't know that he'll return my call, but I will make the effort regardless. Wouldn't have considered it without reading your piece, so thanks, I think."
While Patty will be making amends, some other readers didn't appreciate my suggestion of reaching out to Dad.
"My two kids' dads are pretty much jerks," wrote Judy. "My 20-year-old daughter called her dad at my urging and my 14-year-old son pretty much dodged his dad's phone calls."
David wrote, "I read your article with mixed feelings. My father and I don't speak, and probably never will again. The man he became over time never appealed to me and I chose a different path to follow. The things that he did to my mother are hard to understand and make one wonder how anyone can treat another human being in such fashion. I would rather have your memory of life and loss than the reality that I face this time every year. For me, it gets better — but there's always that 'What if?' that will go unanswered. Be glad that you don't have to ask that question."